Firearms Handguns Reviews

First Impressions: Colt King Cobra

The Colt King Cobra is an all around great revolver. It's fun to shoot and can pack a punch for personal defense applications.

This guy right here has been on a wheel gun kick lately. As mentioned previously, I came across a new Colt King Cobra at my local gun shop that I couldn’t pass up which I finally got around to taking to the range to put the first few rounds through. Long story short, it didn’t disappoint. But alas, let’s break it down.

This little gem has an MSRP of $899 and that puts this gun in upper end of mass produced 3″ revolvers chambered for .357 Magnum. Ruger revolvers of the same size tend to come in under this MSRP. As do most Smith & Wessons, with the exception of the the revolvers in the Performance Center line.

Out of the box, one gets the revolver itself. And that’s about it. Sure you get the manual and a trigger lock, but that about it. One nice thing is that it does come in a rather large blue hard cased box which will collect dust nicely wherever it’s placed and forgotten about. As expected with all handgun purchases, the revolver is range ready out of the box although I did take a minute to wipe it down and run a few dry patches through it to remove any excess factory lubricant before taking it to the range.

I really like the revolver. There are a couple things that stood out when I first got my hands on it and dry fired it. First thing that stood out was the double action trigger pull. Compared to a Ruger LCRx, a Ruger GP100 Match Champion, and a Smith & Wesson Model S&W 500 I’ve spent some time with, the trigger really stands out. The pull is really smooth and light in comparison.

The other thing that stood out while dry firing was the clockwise rotation of the cylinder. This was unique compared to all the other revolvers I spent time with. Granted this won’t affect performance and shoot-ability, but it stood out nonetheless.

I put about 150 rounds through this little revolver at the range. Of those rounds, about 85 were .38 special and 65 were .357 magnums. Overall, it was a real pleasure to shoot.

I started out with a few cylinders full of some .38 Special 130 Grain FMJ (Full Metal Jacket) Winchester white box rounds. Every single trigger pull from this six shooter was simply delightful. As expected with .38 special rounds, there was no noticeable recoil whatsoever. The gun was also dead accurate. Given the lack of recoil with the .38 specials, it was real easy to do my part and hit bullseye after bullseye at 3 and 7 yards. At 15 yards, it was a different story. But that had to do with my skill level and not the gun.

I switched over to some old .357 Magnum 158 Grain FMJ Herter’s rounds. These were an entirely different story than the .38 specials. Granted, this was to be expected, but keep in mind my only other exposure to shooting .357 Magnum was with a Ruger GP100 Match Champion which is ten (10) ounces heavier than the King Cobra. In other words, the .357 Magnum makes itself known. While the recoil from these heavier .357 Magnums is still very manageable, it won’t go unnoticed. To be completely honest, I found myself dipping the muzzle in anticipation of recoil more than once.

I only had a few cylinders worth of those 158 grain rounds before they ran out and I opened a box of .357 Magnum 110 Grain JHP (Jacketed Hollow Point) Winchester white box rounds that I picked up at Walmart several years ago. These rounds were fire-breathers. The blast from the cylinder gap was visible with every shot and the heat could be felt on the knuckles. However, the lighter 110 grain weight projectile was significantly tamer than the 158s. Don’t get me wrong, they still fired with authority. It’s just the authority was as overbearing as the former.

The Houge “overmolded” grips did their job. While I did find myself adjusting my grip from time to time between firing .357 Magnum rounds, the gun was fairly easy to grip. I’m not a big fan of the finger groves, but they worked. I may end up hunting for some G10 grips in the future if I decide I really do want to carry a revolver for self defense, but I’m not sure I see that happening regularly. I have thought about using .357 Magnum for defense against wildlife when hunting instead of the the 10mm Auto I currently use, but I still need to do more testing on the performance of .357 Magnum out of this 3-inch barrel in comparison to the much longer barrel out of the P220. At any rate, changing out the grips is definitely on the table if I decide put this gun into play as a defensive tool in the future. For now, I’ll keep it stock and use it recreationally.

The sights on the gun are interesting. I wasn’t sure I was going to like the brass bead front sight with the notched rear sight. Without a doubt, the sights have a classic revolver feel to them. If nothing else, they are functional. The perforations on the bullseye of the target speak for themselves. The sights work and I do like the classic western revolver nostalgia I associate with them.

So who is this gun for? I don’t know that I’ve ever said this before on one of these first impression reviews, but I think this revolver is just about about right for most people. Let me break that down.

I stand behind this broad recommendation for a number of reasons. First, a revolver is dead simple to operate making it a great option for novices. Ammunition, both .38 special and .357 magnum, has been around forever and is abundant. Sure there are other cartridges that are available at a lower cost, but these aren’t going to break the bank. The .38 special offers a defensive option for those sensitive to recoil while also being a great choice for recreation. The .357 magnum is a well respected defensive cartridge and also offers medium sized game hunting potential in a survival situation. The gun is small enough to conceal or use as a backup, and big enough to open carry. I’m also willing to bet this firearm may even be welcome in many jurisdictions with strict gun regulations. And there is the fact, that Colt revolvers make a decent addition to any collection (even for a serious collector). All of these things make this revolver a jack-of-all-trades – like a Swiss army knife. Sure it’s not the best at any of these things, but can do all of them well. Frankly, it’s a damn good gun. Color me impressed.


  1. “One nice thing is that it does come in a rather large blue hard cased box which will collect dust nicely wherever it’s placed and forgotten about. ” – Sounds about right, I’ve a stack of gun cases that are only needed when selling a gun off. :/

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.