Revolver Options: Colt King Cobra or S&W Model 19

I’ve been thinking of expanding into revolvers, and have had my eye on a Colt or S&W .357 (when you can find them again). Does anyone have opinions on the King Cobra vs. the Model 19?


I say I do sir. Now remember. What I say works for me. I have a model 19 with the 6 inch barrel k frame. I love everything about it. It fits in my hand nice I’ve shot hundreds of rounds through a Time. Never had problems with it. It’s nickel plate is beautiful shines every time I clean it.

I’ve shot a Colt King Cobra. My buddy has one and after I brought my model 19 over and we switched guns and we’re shooting them and checking them out I wanted to keep my 19 and he wanted my 19. Lol :joy: I was like sorry brother but I’m giving this to my son as far as 18th birthday.

Welcome to the family and god bless you.

Welcome to the party.

I will put my .22 LR worth in.

I think the Colt is an excellent firearm. You really can not go wrong…however, I do have a 19 and a 66 S&W… built the 66 myself when I went to S&W Academy back in the 80s.

Both are SS 4in and tuned just right.

Regardless of which one you choose, a .357 revolver is always a good firearm to have in any home.

While I do prefer the S&W, it might have more to do with price and availability… but you can not go wrong.

You could even look to a 2in barrel, (Taurus has a nice one at a good price point) though that would be more for after you are familiar with the revolver and the .357.


If you want to shoot .357 magnums, I’d consider an L frame S&W


I second the S&W L frame, 686 or 586. I have owned and shot many S&W revolvers in revolvers they are the best, except original colt pythons. So below is a list of considerations based on my experience and personal opinion.

  1. Original pre-lock revolvers are the best! 1986 and earlier
  2. I have heard from others, and after hands on inspection myself I’m not impressed with current runs of new colt revolvers.
  3. Greatly dislike the S&W locks!!! But see little chance of it changing anytime soon.
  4. Do not rule out Sturm Ruger revolvers.
  5. Check online for good used early S&W revolvers (pre-lock). You won’t be disappointed!!!

My king cobra was my very first firearm back in the 90’s before Colt closed.
So it’s value went way up.

I love the firearm, it looks great, feels great, is reliable, and most of all when I had to qualify for the Texas Department of Public Safty, we had to use a pistol AND a revolver. I broke out the KC and when they went down the firing line for pre-inspection, it was the head turner!

All the DPS officers had to come over and look at it, with a bunch of nice comments. :slight_smile:

With this said, both should work well, but which ever one you can find and buy, or is cheapest, or in my world, buy whichever one cost the most as it means it’s usually best.

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I sometimes carry the newer 2.75" 66-8 (new model 19 is a blued steel 4.25" version). I didn’t like the feel of the factory grips so I put on some Pachmayr Compaq grips (the version that covers the backstrap). I’m the kind of guy that if I am happy with something, I stop looking at alternatives, and I feel that way about this firearm (as far as 357 mag goes). I have shot the older King Cobra, Trooper, S&W L-Frame, and the Ruger GP100 all in 6" many years ago.

That being said, the new 3" King Cobra info lists it as 5.5 oz lighter (28 oz) then my S&W 2.75" (33.5 oz), and 9.2 oz lighter than the new 19 (37.2 oz) if that matters to you. There’s an interesting YT video by GunBlue490 about the changes made to the new K frames. Jerry Miculek has a YT video on the newer 19’s as well, but since he’s sponsored by S&W, it might be biased. He also has a YT comparison video of an older Colt Python, S&W L-Frame, and an old Ruger 357 magnum you might find interesting (second half he goes over table top comparisons and other models).


New? King Cobra. I’ve never warmed up to S&W adding the locks on the side plate. I’m sure others are fine with it, I’ll never forgive them. When I buy S&W i look for pre-lock models which I love.


You might be interested in Colt’s history with consumers, military, smart gun tech, and financial strategies over the last 20 years. From pro-gun control CEO Ron Stewart who promoted the “creation of a federal gun permit and national gun registration,” CEO Zilkha’s steering away from consumer offerings and wanting “smart guns,” then handing it off to his junior partners’ investment firm, Sciens, who leveraged the company to the hilt and paid themselves for consultations throughout.

Trying to understand the restructuring, spinoffs, new holdings LLC’s, and equity ownership holdings makes my head spin… and to be honest, I still don’t entirely understand it. Even the military switched to FN in Belgium for their rifles.

That being said, I have been keeping an eye on the new Cobra, King Cobra, and Python models.

I’ll also mention Bill Ruger’s letter to every member of Congress for the “complete and unequivocal ban on large capacity magazines”… not ban on sales, ban on ownership. BTW, I like my Rugers, and am considering purchasing more in the future.


It is a hard choice because IMHO they are both good quality and well made revolvers. I have actually owned a Colt Python and a S&W model 36 chief special. I have shot the 357 cartridges out of both of them back in my days as a firearms examiner with the NYPD. I didn’t find much difference. It’s a matter of preference and which one you feel more comfortable with. I believe the Colt is a lighter gun. It’s been a while since I have come across any of them. What I definitely do remember is the Colt cylinder turning counter clockwise and S&W clockwise. I hope this helped. I would purchase either one and be just as happy or purchase both and be happier. :+1::+1:


FWIW, I carried a Python for several years and it was a beautiful revolver----I had custom Herret’s on her.
Once, after qualifying, the Rangemaster brought out a well hammered 6" K-38 from the property locker and handed it to me to try. I could tell the tired old Smith had been worked over and the action was smooth as butter, and—it shot like radar! Completely blew away the scores I’d been getting with my Python over the previous decade!

Unfortunately the Dept. couldn’t sell it to me, but I’ve been impressed by old S&Ws ever since.


You can’t go wrong either way.

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Ruger does have good revolvers, should have mentioned them myself…


Yep and S&W was in bed with the Clinton’s for a while which led to the safety on revolvers that I still can’t understand. At this point I’m a lot less interested in company history than just actual product offer, or I’d buy none of them.


Hence my first post that didn’t mention company history.

Just my opinion…

I will say, that I think Colt is having teething problems with trying to be a quality firearm company again. There are some noted quality control and reliability complaints, on video (YT), as well as social media about some not-so-uncommon issues with the new King Cobra and Python, as well as good and bad experience with their CS.

The only issues I’ve heard of (at least commonly) with the new K frames (e.g. the new 19) was from the early production runs having their timing off, as well as good and bad experience with their CS.

When it comes to current productions, the main history I take from the companies is how they treat their customers, how they supported their customers on older firearms, and how they address issues with both their older and newer designs. IMO, considering their restructuring, splits, and bankruptcy history, the current Colt is a new company with new designs, and has not yet established it’s reputation… at least for their revolvers. I really hope they do well, and am considering purchasing from them in the future.

I’m not giving S&W a pass either, as their have been a lot of complaints both recently, as well as historically with some of their designs. However, their reputation seems to be a little more established as far as continuing CS, design development, etc.

Here was Colt’s prototype for submission to the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) solicitation (won by HK) back in the 90’s. IMO it says a lot about the company’s recent business philosphy. I don’t know… I am a little curious on how the rotary barrel design worked in the 1911 platform.

Rock Island Auction Company sold a prototype held by Colt in 2014 for $5,750.

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When I went out looking for a replacement for a .357, I assumed I would want a colt, or a Smith and Wesson, but I had a Ruger security six I could compare everything too. - I bought another Ruger, and I’ll grab any security six I find in the future. I had no idea how good that security six was until I actually compared it real world to the others we all automatically think of. I was not able to find a new smith or colt that was better than the security six I had access too. I ended up buying a Ruger GP-100 and have absolutely NOT been disappointed.


I carried a Model 19 with 2.5" barrel for years. I had to sell it a while back and that is a decision I regret to this day. Never had a problem with it and accurate. I can’t tell you about the colt but I know the Model 19. I finally found a Model 66, which is the same gun in Stainless Steel to replace it. Not the same as the 19.
Good luck…


Welcome to the family @Milton4 and you are in the right place at the right time.

Just my 2cents, either are good choices I would suggest what works best in your hand.
The S&W also has the 686 & 686+ that handle the .357. I prefer the + because it holds 7 rds. The ergonomics on the S&W N frames work better for me but I have 2xl hands so I am always changing out grips.
Good Luck & have fun with the selection process.

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