I was wrong.

The first time I saw Rick Grimes with his old-fashioned Colt Python on AMC’s “The Walking Dead”, my first thought was, “Great, another show with lots of guns written by people who don’t know the first thing about guns”. While subsequent episodes have not changed my mind on that specific point, as the plot has unfolded, I’ve questioned my initial assumption that Grimes’ signature revolver is an ignorant and impractical choice of weapon.

What follows is a summary of the history, factors, and circumstances that changed my mind.  For many shooting enthusiasts, I know this is a hard sell, but bear with me and let us know if you change your mind, too. For those of you who already “get it”, well… you were a few steps ahead of me.

If you have a short attention span like me and you want to get the history and technical part over with, here’s a quick summary of the Colt Python’s background and capabilities:


Want this graphic? Grab the embed code:

Initial Skepticism

Remember, it’s a Television Show

Like most firearms enthusiasts, I frequently find myself resisting the urge to yell at the screen any time a movie or TV show commits some kind of gun-related “mistake”. I definitely had that urge when I saw the pilot episode of “The Walking Dead”. There’s our hero, Deputy Sheriff Rick Grimes, joining his fellow officers to try and apprehend a couple of criminals in an intense standoff. The other cops are wielding heavy-hitting 12 gauge shotguns and period-correct Glock pistols, both currently among the most common law enforcement firearms in the United States.

Then, Rick draws his gun to join them and what does he have? A beautiful six inch stainless steel .357 magnum Colt Python.

After I spent about half a second ogling the sleek lines on this timeless classic, I reverted to ravenous shouting gun-fanboy mode and spat off a dozen reasons why that character should not and would not be carrying that particular firearm. Not only did cops stop carrying revolvers back in the 90’s, but who brings a six-shot antique with them to fight off the countless shambling hordes of undead?

Don’t worry, I’ve had a couple of seasons to get over it. If you can look past the obvious anachronism, the Python is, symbolically, a fitting weapon for our protagonist. It’s large and intimidating and makes a powerful statement. The expertise with which Rick handles the large gun shows that he is in complete control.

The revolver’s tradition and history make it a nearly perfect fit for Rick Grimes’ persona.

“Rick is John Wayne writ modern. His trusty hand cannon of a Colt – along with his gold star, big ol’ hat, and grim determination to do what’s necessary over what’s good – make him the 21st Century Duke. Rick picks up any number of different weapons over the course of his zombie killing career, but, like every classic Western hero, will always go back to his revolver,” Alex Brown, writer and reviewer of “The Walking Dead” for Tor.com said.

Despite his occasional emotional volatility and quest to cling to some kind of morality in a devastated new world, Rick’s symbol of leadership is still embodied in his larger-than-life sidearm. The short time that he doesn’t have it by his side is when he loans it to Otis; a time when Rick was absent as a leader, focused on his dying child. In early episodes, Rick is still getting his bearings and in many cases shows a desire to cling to a now outdated model of civilization.

His old-fashioned six shooter reminds us that Rick is at risk of becoming an obsolete relic of a bygone era. But Rick adapts, and his Colt remains his weapon of choice. At the end of the show’s second season, Rick gives his famous “this is not a democracy” speech, the Python at his side reinforcing that he’s still the man in charge.

The Colt Python Stands the Test of Time

Top of the line when introduced; Today, a collector’s item

A vintage ad that run during the Colt's introduction to American shooters in 1955. (Image Courtesy: Creative Commons/Colt)
This vintage advertisement run during the Colt’s introduction to shooters in 1955. (Image Courtesy: Colt)

The Python makes a great symbol, but for folks like me and my gun nerd pals, that fact by itself is just not gonna cut it. A wheel gun is still a sub-optimal choice for the apocalypse, so why am I willing to forgive the show for equipping its hero so poorly? Because the Colt Python is just plain awesome, and here is why:

The Python was first introduced in the mid-1950’s; a time when revolvers were king in the US handgun market, and the Python was developed to become the king of the revolvers. With each gun being hand-fitted by expert craftsmen at Colt, the new revolver was made to be a “premium-grade” target pistol.  It was an instant hit with citizens looking for a self-defense gun, and more important for its long-term success, cops loved it too.

The four and six inch barreled versions of the Python could soon be found in the holsters of police officers all over the country. The high price tag meant few police departments placed contract purchases for their whole force, but many officers carried their personally-owned Pythons on duty; a status symbol to mark a lawman with more sophisticated taste than the average beat-walker.

Colt also produced an eight inch barreled version of the Python that was specifically designed with hunters in mind, and shorter 2.5 and three inch models for easier concealed carry for plainclothes cops and permit-holding civilians. In the latter decades of the 20th century, America’s police force traded in their revolvers for semi-automatics that could hold three times as much ammo before reloading. Revolver sales steadily declined and by 1999, Colt stopped regular production of the Python.

Still highly regarded today, Pythons command a premium on the used market, and are prized by both collectors and serious shooters. Colt priced the Python around $125 in 1955. In today’s dollars, that’s about an $1,100 investment, making it tough on the wallet to begin with. But the last few years have seen an increase in prices on the secondary market and a used Python will run you anywhere from $1,500 for a well-used model, up to $6,000 for some of the more scarce variants.

The Python’s Mystique

To shoot the Python is to love it

A photo of the Colt Python 357 magnum revolver.
The Colt Python .357 magnum revolver. (Image Courtesy: Steve Z/Flickr.com; some rights reserved).

The revolver was highly revered in its day and in many ways still is. But what makes the Python so great? Companies like Smith and Wesson and Ruger also made excellent revolvers in the same time period, many of which are still in production today and have their own loyal following. But listen to a fan of Pythons and they talk as if firing it is a transcendental spiritual experience.

Even Andrew Lincoln, the actor who portrays Rick Grimes, has a genuine appreciation for the Python. In an online Q&A with AMC, he said of the Python,

“I love my cannon… The Colt Python is like a Rolex: It will never fail you… It’s become part of my body. I had to wrestle with the props department when they took it back the last time.”

See what I mean? It sounds like the man has a romantic– maybe even religious relationship with the Python, and he doesn’t even get to fire live ammo. Handgun experts echo this kind of praise. Colt historian and author RL Wilson described the Colt Python as “the Rolls-Royce of Colt revolvers”.

According to popular opinion, there are a few characteristics of the Python that have lead to its mythical status in the world of firearms. Beyond the previously-mentioned high standard of craftsmanship, there is the caliber of ammo the Python fires: .357 magnum.

Ever since it was introduced in the 1930s, American shooters have had a love affair with the .357 magnum. There have been several larger and more powerful handgun cartridges available for many years, but .357 revolvers boast a superior balance of effectiveness, size, and controllability. All revolvers chambered in this cartridge also have the added benefit of being able to fire the weaker .38 special ammo. With significantly less recoil and lower cost, .38s are great for practice, and they aren’t half-bad for self-defense either. This adds a huge practical advantage for .357 revolvers that most other guns do not share.

But there are dozens of .357 magnum revolvers on the market; even a few whose fit and finish rivals that of the Python. The secret to the Python’s success is one that can only be appreciated by actually firing it. Any revolver shooter will tell you that of all the characteristics that distinguish a good revolver from a great one, the trigger is the most significant. A stiff, heavy, or gritty-feeling trigger will ruin an otherwise perfect revolver.

The Colt’s trigger is not only smooth, but light too, so that it requires minimal pressure from the finger to fire. This means the gun is more likely to stay on target and it’s easier to hit what you’re aiming at. The late Col. Jeff Cooper, another notable fan of the Python and grandfather of modern handgun technique, had this to say about the Python’s operation:

“Its single action release is usually superb, combining with its weight and fine sights to provide excellent controllability. The Python is expensive, and it should be.”

Other Famous Characters

Before Rick Grimes and “The Walking Dead” on Television

Grimes looking down the barrel of his Colt Python revolver
Rick Grimes, the protaganist in the hit AMC show The Walking Dead, stares down the barrel of a Colt Python during an episode in the show’s second season. (Image Courtesy: AMC)

The Colt Python has been showcased in film and on television before but maybe never in as bright a light as what “The Walking Dead” offers.

Denzel Washington was nominated for a Golden Globe while carrying the Python in the 2007 movie “American Gangster”, it has been featured in numerous blockbuster video games like “Resident Evil”, “Call of Duty”, and “Counter Strike”, and is a common star on television programs like “CSI: New York”, “Chappelle’s Show”, and “Starsky and Hutch”, according to the Internet Movie Firearms Database.

The iconic appearance of the Python makes it a media darling in addition to its superb real-world performance.

Colt Python Performance

Disadvantages in a Walking Dead situation

Even with its mythic status and superior handling characteristics, the Python still has several disadvantages for someone in Rick Grimes situation. But those shortcomings may be offset by a few less obvious advantages. The most apparent problem with revolvers is their low ammo capacity. Not only are you limited to six rounds with the Python, but it takes much longer to reload than a magazine-fed semi-automatic. When facing an encroaching pack of hungry undead, that’s a pretty significant problem. For purists or fans of The Walking Dead comic book series, the reloading process for a revolver would be particularly difficult for Grimes. The deputy sheriff loses his right hand in Issue #28.

A photo from The Walking Dead comic book series that shows Rick Grimes losing his hand. The development occured in Issue 28 of the popular series.
Grimes, at the bottom of the image, loses his hand as part of the comic book series. Whether he’ll pay the same price in the television series is yet to be known. (Image Courtesy: Walkingdead.wikia.com)

The Python is built slightly differently than most revolvers. Internally, the Colt is much more complex, which is both a burden and blessing. The complexity leads to improved performance, fantastic when facing a life-or-death situation. However, the Colt is one of the worst revolvers to own when it comes to the accessibility of spare parts. The complicated mechanics of the firearm can be more susceptible to problems than simpler and more rugged revolver designs. Certainly in an apocalyptic situation, spare components would be tough to come by and the expertise of an experienced gunsmith would also be a rare find.

Revolvers generally require very little cleaning and lubrication compared to other options, but if you neglect regular maintenance for too long, the results can be catastrophic. If you’re shooting a semi-automatic pistol and something goes wrong, you have a good chance of being able to clear the failure in a matter of seconds. Some types of problems are easily cleared in a revolver too. But if, for example, you’ve been too busy burying your dead-undead-former best friend to clean your guns, the next time you go to blast a couple of walkers, your revolver’s cylinder might lock up due to powder fouling, and you’re going to need time and tools to get it up and firing again. For someone that puts himself in situations like Rick Grimes, any malfunction could mean death, or zombification.

A photo of a 6 inch Colt Python
The Python, like many revolvers, typically does not require as much cleaning and lubrication as pistols. (Image Courtesy: Steve Z/Flickr.com; some rights reserved)


But let’s give Rick the benefit of the doubt and assume for a moment that he’s an absolute prodigy with the Colt Python. Perhaps he rarely misses and can reload with unlikely-but-still-humanly-possible Jerry Miculek-like speed. The low ammo capacity is still a problem, but certainly less-so when the revolver is in the hands of an expert. When you consider that the combo of the .357 magnum cartridge and the Python’s six-inch barrel gives the revolver an effective range and practical accuracy that approaches twice what you’d get out of the average 9mm pistol, the revolver begins to look like an attractive option for keeping walkers at bay. A semi-automatic rifle with a 30+ round magazine would be the best choice for survival, and a modern semi-automatic pistol provides the most rounds in the smallest package. But Rick’s Python is more portable than a rifle and more deadly at long range than the pistols and shotguns the other characters use.

Also consider the versatility of ammunition, especially in times of survival, when ammo is a hot commodity and the ability to fire anything is vital. Assuming Rick has both .357 ammo and .38 special ammo, he can adapt the gun to different situations. For picking off walkers at long-range, the magnums are ideal. When he’s expecting a close-range threat, .38s will do just fine. If stealth is required, again, .38’s provide an advantage because they make a little less noise, and if Rick has to fire, he can reduce the risk of alerting more walkers, or anyone else nearby.

Despite the availability of more modern firearms, the Python turns out to be not such a bad choice for hunting the undead.

Ultimately, a good signature weapon is more than a practical tool for the hero. It helps to define him. Whether it’s James Bonds’ sleek and sexy Walther PPK, or Dirty Harry’s “take-no-prisoner’s” .44 magnum, the notable weapons wielded by our favorite heroes help to tell their story. Over time, I think Rick Grimes’ Colt Python will become as much an icon as these other classics and they will be remembered as the man and the gun that survived the end of the world.

Normally, Lucky Gunner Labs is a place for rigorous and exhaustive testing, unique product reviews, how-to guides, and data sharing. Well, this time, they made the mistake of letting me write a post. I hope you guys enjoyed it and I hope they let me come back!

So, what do you think? Is the Colt Python a good fit for Rick Grimes or should he be wielding a different weapon? Sound off in the comments!

Leave a Comment Below

  • Chris Morgan

    My all time favorite pistol!

  • Wayne Ervin

    I love mine!

  • Anonymous

    How did you know I just sold my Blackhawk awhile back? I know it’s not the same gun, but I don’t need the reminders.

  • Anonymous

    I grew up shooting a 1956 Ruger single six lightweight.22 and a 9 shot H&R D.A..22 and when You learn how to shoot with a “Wheel” gun Your target acquisition skills become sharper, faster. That was the case for Me anyway, I often had Grown Men asking Me how I learned to shoot so straight and My only answer was that I HATED to waste those expensive bullets and if You missed too many times, Your Day at the Range/DUMP was over way too soon. Today, I enjoy My Glocks and Springfields a lot but not any more than My Colt, S&W, Ruger, Double Nines, H&Rs and Taurus revolvers and I always shoot better, Farther with the slow, concentrated delivery of those “Wheel” guns. I Truly Believe that in Life Threatening encounters, I’m better prepared than the Guy with 19 + 1 semi-auto because My plan requires strict bullet placement that causes Me to Think harder which allows Me to control My Emotions easier. I may be wrong but No One has been able to show Me yet. When I see these LEOs dumping mag. after mag. and hitting more Friendlies than Bad Guys, shooting 30 rounds point blank into a Car and still not stopping the Perps. I gotta ask, Why do these Guy’s have Guns? and, When are they going to get Proper Training so they can learn how to control them selves? Revolvers might help with that training.

  • Steven Lakits

    Swwet piece. I got a S&W model.357, but wish I had my dad’s Python…

  • Robert Evans

    Take a look at Andrew Lincoln in the above picture holding his Python. Do you think he can actually use the sights at the angle at which he’s holding it? He does that all through seasons 1 and 2 of TWD. Holds it above the plane of his eyes, barrel pointing down. No way he can use the sights that way. He’s holding it dramatically high so as to look intimidating.

    • Orlando R. DeDominicis

      You are absolutely correct sir. At first I thought it was the camera angles etc but after reading your note I agree with your take on this. Watered down I would say. Lost some credibility. Python deserves better eh?

    • Chris DeLaughter

      Take a closer look. He is pointing the gun down at an extreme angle. He is not aiming at a walker in the distance, or a person standing up. He is aiming at someone or something on the ground, sitting, kneeling, or laying down. At that angle, he is aiming at something within 15 feet maximum. He has no need of the sights at that distance. When he aims at a distance, he uses the sights. But since we saw in the first episode that he used the gun as his duty sidearm, we know that he is familiar and proficient with it, and instinctively knows where the bullet will go when his target is close.

    • Anonymous

      unless the object is about 3 to five feet away at such a short range aiming isnt important because the hole it will leave would be massive at least a 9 to 12 inches easy which = fubar

  • Nathaniel Thoburn Fitch

    What’s with repeating the idea that revolvers need less lube and cleaning than semi-autos?

    Surely the numerous torture tests of Glocks, HKs, S&W M&Ps, etc have proven this to be a fib. Has anyone even tried doing such a test to a revolver?

    There are a whole host of parts that can break or get fouled in a revolver, and if even one gets bent, galled, or dirtied too much, the gun stops functioning.

    In fact, the only torture test of a revolver that I can recall off the top of my head was the 1906-1907 handgun trials, in which the semi-auto handguns, even though they were of relatively primitive design, creamed the control revolver.

    Revolvers are cool and all, but I wish that kind of myth wouldn’t be repeated on LGL.

    • Dean Kennedy

      As much as I love my 686+, it’s the last pistol in my collection I would pick for just about anything other than white-tail hunting.

    • Nathaniel Thoburn Fitch

      The idea of hunting medium game with a .357 revolver appeals to me… But I think I’d just as soon try it with one of those Coonan .357 semi-autos. (I’m really interested to see how much more energy the Coonans have because they lack a cylinder gap.)

      There’s a lot to be said for revolvers as far as “gentlemanly pursuits” are concerned, but for serious social work it’s really hard to justify a wheelgun over a pistol.

    • Keith Krauland

      If I am not mistaken, the 4th edition of the Gun Digest Book of Combat Handgunnery mentioned a more modern torture test that involved many popular semi-autos (I do not recall them all but distinctively remember atleast a Sig p226 and a Glock 19 in the test) against a Colt Python. The Python did extremely well and I believe was only bested in reliability by the Glock. I wish I could remember exactly how the test was performed since I have lost that particular book.

    • Nathaniel Thoburn Fitch

      That would be an interesting read.

    • Stanley Profitt

      I disagree, I like my semi auto pistols, but my revolvers are more reliable,are easier to clean and are less picky with ammo. Also, sure things can go wrong with a revolver, but a semi auto jams a lot more often.

    • Harry Moutzalias

      100 fps at most

    • Anonymous

      Keith Krauland use your search/browser

    • Helen Williams

      What you call a myth is my reality, based on my personal experience. My Python can take a beating and is very forgiving. It’s similar to how my Mitsubishi car can take abuse and keep running way better than my ’65 Chevrolet Caprice could.

  • Mike Mollenhour

    The Colt Lawman Mark III is a nicely-priced alternative.

  • James Whoo

    When I saw that Python for the first time in TWD, my immediate thought was “he must be a rural officer”, which turned out to be true. It’s quite believable that a rural officer could be a late adopter of semi-autos, and the extra punch is appreciated if he has to shoot something at an extended range or has to put down a wounded wild animal.

    Personally, if I had to choose a ‘perfect’ gun for the walking dead, it would be quickly convertible between rimfire and centerfire. For example, a Glock or AR with a rimfire conversion kit. I’d carry it as a centerfire, but swap to rimfire in any low-pressure encounter with Walkers.

    Also, the more ammo types you can use, the easier it is to scrounge ammo.
    Centerfires are great for fighting the living, but rimfires will put down the walking dead with adequate performance. Keep in mind, we’ve seen skulls virtually explode when given a swift kick.

    Rimfire ammo is common and widely available. Before the recent panic buying, one particular internet seller in Tennesee had over 2.5 million rounds of 22lr in stock! That’s more than a third of the Tennessee population. Rimfire ammo is also very light weight. I weighed some ammo, and 9mm (115gr) weighs about 3.7 times more than 22lr (40gr). I would much rather have 185 rounds of 22lr than 50 rounds of 9mm.

    Finally, semi-auto rimfires have fixed barrels that do not recoil & tilt like centerfire semi-auto pistols, and their barrels are usually not covered by a moving slide. In short, rimfire pistols are FAR easier to “silence” than centerfire pistols.

    If using a rimfire platform in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, I would suggest a rifle with a short barrel. There would be no need for a 16″ barrel without the ATF. The barrel could be chopped and recrowned to 6-10 inches, making the carbine smaller and lighter.

  • James Parker

    I love my bright finished Stainless Steel Python, have had and loved it for over 20 years.

  • Mike Wazowski

    Love the Python. I disagree about Glock reliability – sure with factory ammo the glock is fantastic, no question (and I do love Glocks). But in an apocalypse, ammo choices will dwindle, and reloads will be more common, and you will have more FTF and FTE jams with your Glock. That is where the revolver reigns king, able to eat up varying handloads and having the ability to pull the trigger and rotate the cylinder to a new round if you get one that doesn’t fire. Last but not least, as the last weapon in your hand in a last-stand, the Python is a mighty hammer, gripped by the barrel, and swinging into skulls with 40 ounces of weight; try beating somebody to death with a poly frame Glock! As a gun for a last stand at the end of the world it’s nearly perfect. Besides, shouldn’t you be using that AR15 most of the time anyway?

  • Chris Dark

    To appreciate a Python, take an unloaded one and cock it, fire it, swing out the cylinder, and operate every moving part. It’s the most perfectly machined, precise, smoothest operating handgun I have ever seen. The tolerances are unbelievable, there is no play or binding anywhere. This is like a Stradivarius violin, a work of art. It isn’t the most practical handgun, but it is virtually perfect in operation.

    • Nathaniel Thoburn Fitch

      Try a Korth.

    • Chris Dark

      I would cetainly like to, I checked the website but POR sounds expensive! I was lucky enough to have an uncle with a Python since they are through the roof these days too, but maybe sometime I will be lucky again and stumble onto a Koth I can at least at least work the mechanics. I was military and handled countless Colt M4s and didn’t find them remarkably different than other ARs, but the Pythoon just seemed to be machined with a much tighter tolerance than anything I had handled before

    • Michael Zeleny

      I have lots of Korths and a few Pythons, all imported from Germany. My rejection rate with Pythons is about 80%, with early production rating much better. Late Eighties specimens tend to show the most flaws. Also, Pythons shoot very well, provided that you stretch and replace the cylinder hand at around 5,000 full power Magnum rounds. Back when big city police departments had full-time armorers, that made sense; not so much for a civilian shooter nowadays. Whereas Willi Korth made his revolvers to maintain their accuracy for over 50,000 Magnum rounds, and my shooting experience tends to confirm his claims.

  • Natasha Newton

    exactly what I was looking for in relation to the walking dead and getting hold of one!

  • Christopher Davison

    Great article…

  • The Undead Report

    Great article! I’ve brought it to attention at my site.


  • Jordan Eggerman

    My Kimber 1911 does its job wonderfully, and its as iconic to the pistol world as the Python to the revolver world, but to have the Python in the apocalypse? I dunno. Ammo versatility is about the only reason I’d prefer it… that and 45 ACP would probably be rather uncommon. Less so than 357 AND 38 SPL…

  • Mark Frederick

    I LOVE my 1980 factory nickeled 6 inch Python. 32 years of service. But in a zompoc, give me double columned Springfield or Para-Ordanance .45.

  • Anonymous

    although it is a gun of beauty and power and dependability it would not be my weapon of choice for one simple reason if any of you have read the zombie survival guide gums make a loud bang which is the same as ringing a dinner bell for zombies because they will be a comin every last one that heard that gun will be making a b line for your brains and you would not have enough time/ammo for em all unless you have or know how to make a silencer/suppressor a gun is a bad idea and silencers are only effective on automatics/clip guns blade weapons are bad as well they get stuck and go dull the #1 defense against the walking dead is a club be it a baseball bat or even a table leg after that archery weapons after these I suggest a great pair of running shoes.

  • Helen Williams

    To shoot a Colt Python is to love one, and it will be a life long romance if you do. I purchased my “baby” at a gun show about 15 years ago. Drove immediately to the range and put the first
    12 rounds in the same hole (close range). It was love at first sight…or shot…something like that. Anyway, this handgun will make you look good at the range! Get some lighter-load reloads or make your own like we did. No need for hot, inaccurate, factory loads. And the ability to shoot 2 different caliber ammo from the same weapon? Fabulous. This gun is VERY reliable and of you have a few speed loaders ready, it really isn’t much slower than reloading any semi-auto handgun. And you don’t have to deal with issues like a stovepiped round, etc. For the Zombie Apocalypse, a Python, good rifle, machete and Louisville Slugger will get you started.

  • John Monahan

    Jared, I wouldn’t say he isn’t knowledgeable, he just has the opinion that many other shooters hold. Personally I like semi autos for the accuracy and capacity and I just plain shoot them better myself. Revolvers with their heavy trigger pull, smaller capacity and often weight aren’t the best choice for everyone but they are more reliable than semi autos. Revolvers are harder to shoot and you need to practice with them a lot and the snub nosed lightweights of today are not the gun you go to the range with and pop off 300rds with. The average person in a concealed carry state is not going to strap on a large.357 or.44 either. Self defense in an apocalypse? Gimme a 12gau pump any day!

    • Harry Moutzalias

      Anyone who thinks semi auto handguns are more accurate than revolvers doesn’t have much experience with revolvers.

  • Thomas Michael Hood

    Fans of Valve Software’s games may recognize the Colt Python from 2 series:
    -In Team Fortress 2, The Spy’s “stock” (starter) projectile weapon is a 6-inch Colt Python with an ivory grip
    In the Half-Life series, the “revolver” component of the “Standard First-Person Shooter Guns” set is a Colt Python Elite with a 6-inch barrel

  • Michael Milz

    It’s based on a comic book. And if you think the show’s based on a realistic scenario you have deep rooted problems. The Colt Python looks cool, that’s why it’s used. It’s a little sad that all this effort was put into this blog.

    • Scott Smith

      Have a sense of humor man. It was meant as tongue and cheek with a sense of fact and fiction.Lighten up dude!

  • Luis Menjivar Gonzalez

    Okay!! how about a glock in a shoulder harness and the pretty Pithon on your waist?

  • Norman Bradley

    I think the Python IS a good fit for Grimes. I do believe he has carried a semi auto as back for when it really hits the fan. That said I dont like the wondernines, but prefer the Sig 220 in .45. I feel the 9’s tend to make people flaunt capacity over accuracy..45’s still mske you think about what youre shooting at. As for wheelguns, I am a kind of convert because of my S&W .357. Love the way it feels and shoots. Yes I reload twice as fast with the .45. Still, Id want the Sig if theres a mob of zombies close by and ease of clearing jams, and the .357 for stand-off and small crowds. Plus the .357 is also good for hunting.

  • Scott Caldwell

    I love the python but if I have my choice in weapons give me a .22 to use! Accurate, quite and plenty of ammo to go around! Plus all u need is a gun to puncture the brain so why not a .22? In my opinion it’s the perfect caliber gun

    • Willie Bailey

      .22 is a great zombie gun. Bad about the revolver is the capacity. Give me something with more round

    • Harry Moutzalias

      Rimfire ammo is too unreliable. With speedloaders and moonclips reloading a revolver can be done in a snap with practice.

  • Randy Richardson

    the python is very nice weapon. i’m sure it’d be effective for dispatching zed all day long. one thing i don’t care for is the release for the cylinder. pulling back on the release isn’t as natural a motion than pushing like on a smith wheel gun.

    the mention of range with the colt is a good point made in the article but for me range wouldn’t be a plus since i can’t ever see myself shooting a handgun at 75 yards!! that’s when i’d grab a rifle.

    as others have mentioned a 22lr would be a good option too. have a happy new year everyone!

  • Chris Cassata

    It’s a TV show. Jesus Christ, suspend disbelief. Newsflash…Zombies are not real. What a stupid article…

    • Mustafa Ibn Edward

      Gtfoh if you don’t like article.

    • Chris Cassata

      Mustafa Ibn Edward lmao eight months later

    • Tom Bonaroo

      Zombies could happen. You never know.

  • Allen Wiley

    I don’t know about the Show, however purchased mine in 1980. I have had the pleasure of firing other weapons and they were great, but for me, the Python was my idea of the sport of handgun shooting. It is to me the finest weapon I have ever fired. Still own it , and enjoy shooting it. It is for me the Cadillac of handguns.

  • Ronald Darnell

    I agree on all counts. I own a 1969 and a 1979 vintage colt pythons and I love em both!

  • Nando Saglio

    This day and age, carrying a Python for self defense or as Police service side gun is an outdated concept. But for target shooting, or hunting, it still is probably the best, within its category. Not to mention its predominant historical legacy with Colt firearms tradition and, perhaps more important of all, its superb mechanical design and manufacturing excellence.

    • Justine Thompson

      I carry a 45 long colt revolver concealed. Different days it’s a different variation depending on what I’m doing but still a revolver and still 45lc. If I ever have to use my gun it won’t be a shoot out. One shot the head or almost anywhere for that matter with a 45lc and your down

    • Justine Thompson

      Idk why that posTed from my wife s profile oops

    • Scott Smith

      Justine Thompson I commend you and respect anyone who cares such a great weapon. 1 shot and drop em that’s the way to do it!!!!!

    • Tom Bonaroo

      Once I pick up my 686 I plan on carrying it. 7 rounds with a 3 inch barrel. Nothing wrong with that. Throw a few extra shells in my pocket and I’m good to go.

  • Glen Sault

    Also, revolvers don’t jam nearly as much as autos, if at all. Easy to clean and operate.

    • Zac Lay

      I agree with you on the fact that they are very reliable, however I would like to point out that many quality modern semi- autos like Sig and Glock carry the same reputation.

  • Silas Longshot

    .357’s are my tools man. Cowboy Action competition shooting is a lot of fun, with a pair of Vaqueros in hand teamed up with a Winchester 94 lever gun in .357. Also have Taurus 6″ barrel 66, which I suppose is as close as I’ll get to a Python. Love ’em all, any kind of bullet configuration or weight that will go in the cylinder will come out the barrel, no problems, be it revolver or the lever gun. Can take a bucket full of mixed ammo, lead, jacketed, cheap imported junk, hand loaded, factory load, .38 & .357 all together and shoot all day no jams or miss-feeds. My kind of zombie guns, for sure. Also with a few speedloaders for the Taurus, it ain’t that slow to reload the 7 shots it holds.

  • Jeremy Jensen

    Where is the test data? Can you define “zombie” for me? Why is this an article on lucky gunner labs?

    • Scott Smith

      Have a sense of humor man. It was meant as tongue and cheek with a sense of fact and fiction.Lighten up dude!

    • Lucas Thein

      Scott Smith is the one who doesn’t have a sense of humor…

  • Jesse Winchell

    The python is a perfect side arm for Rick. it’s accurate it has the stopping power. and it’s just a classy gun. I don’t have a Colt Python but I have a Smith and Wesson 686 6 inch barrel so it’s similar and everybody is talking about how it takes more time to reload. but in a way everyone is wrong once you run out of loaded magazines in you have to sit there and load 10 to 20 rounds in a magazine then you’re screwed if you don’t have time. it is much quicker to pop open the cylinder and drop 6 round soon and go back to firing open it drop them in and go back to firing. I just love the feel of a nice heavy duty 6 inch revolver you get double the distance out of the 6 inch revolver then you would have 4 or 5 inch semi auto. I know I wouldn’t want to be standing around waiting for something to get close enough for me to defend myself. yes I gunmy auto are more practical because of the capacity. but as far as the show goes I think it is a practical gun that the Walking Dead is going to make it more of a classic than it already is.

  • Scott Smith

    I think your analysis of the right gun for the 21 century hero is spot on! The colt makes him larger than life. Someone to be respected and feared! Great read I love the Colt python and have been looking for one for my collection. $$$ are the only thing keeping me from owning one of my own.

  • Jeff Repine

    Fun read. Im not a revolver guy but now I want to go shoot a python.

  • Dana Schmidt

    In episode “No Sanctuary” Rick says he has a 44Magnum in the blue bag he buried. This is his revolver you are discussing. He puts it in the blue bag before going into Terminus

    • Sam Walker

      There was also a S&W model 29 snub taken from one of the claimers in the bag

  • Jim Thomson

    A great handgun. I have had one for years and wouldn’t sell it. It fires without malfunction.A trained shooter can reload with speed loaders as fast as a magazine reload.

  • Bob McMahan

    My normal carry is a 1911a1, but I own a Python. It really does have the smoothest pull I have ever seen on a revolver. The finish is outstanding.

  • James Tedder

    So I’m thinking that Rick was used to the Python during his time as a deputy. The .357 cartridge is capable of shooting through windshields and car doors with fmj projectiles, and maybe crack an engine block. Good to have in a rural environ where you may have to stop a car (episode 1). While he’s equally proficient with the Beretta (episode 2) or Glock (various), I think it’s more of a habit thing and it’s what’s comfortable. You can potentially shoot 9mm if you can get them to stay in the cylinder, making this weapon eminently practical. I’d say that unless you want a post apocalyptic Custer’s Last Stand, you need to be able to know when you get in over your head, and knowing you can’t fend off a herd single handed hence avoiding it may be the smarter play. Not sure I’d make the same choice, but I get it.

  • Max Black

    In a zombie situation I definitely want a high capacity pistol. However, I also want something I can load with loose bullets. Let’s say you’re out of mags. What are you gonna do? Sit there and load them? No. You want a backup gun and that gum should be a revolver.

  • Mike Gee

    Any handgun will do in an emergency. “But” You need both accuracy, portability, low recoil, and one that can accept a variety of ammo loads. For me I’d stick to the GLOCK – 9mm, mainly ( but .40 and .45 will do!) All can be found in large quantities- in the TV series , the Walking Dead, the “zombie” pandemic hit hard and fast- possibly within 30-60 days. Not all the firearms ammo would have been used up, and would still be in relatively LARGE supply in local gun shops as well as military bases. 9mm is very versatile, and can be used to stop ” zombies” as well as feral animals and marauding survivprs too stupid to realize that rebuilding society is more important than looting for canned soup.
    The average citizen may not know how to use an AR-15/M-16, but you can quickly teach some one how to aim and shoot a handgun. The revolver , like Ricks, is good, but in the show, wear weapons and other materials arent exactly sparce yet( zombies dont use camping gear, gas, medicine or guns- and it appears A LOT is still available for the small survivng bands of humans willing to go get it!) A hi capacity semi auto , simple construction firearm like the GLOCK makes more sense.

    Need range? Raid a surplus or sporting goods store and grab a savage or Remington rifle and scope combo….

  • Robert Laovoravit

    Nothing more reliable than a wheel gun.

    • Cedar Drews

      Generally you might be correct, but the Python being so finely tuned required a bunch of maintenance. If you don’t maintain a Python well (which may include some gunsmithing) they can and will experience timing issues, which can cause failures to fire, and at worst can cause catastrophic failures.

  • Paul Bartel

    If I could have any firearm in a hypothetical zombie scenario I’ d choose an M1 Carbine and a high capacity semi auto 9mm pistol. A 6″ Python just looks way cooler and would still be useful.

  • Mariell Trauner

    Missed by all is the fact you can use the same ammo ie;.357/,38 in a long gun.
    A great example is the Puma model 92 which when loaded with .357 mag nearly matches a 30-30 in performance specs, my carbine holds 14 rounds. The 9mm is very limited in ballistic performance in a long gun IMO.
    To paraprase ‘ The function of a handgun is to allow you to fight your way back to where you left your long gun.’ Lt. Col. Jeff Cooper I believe.

  • Barry Hawkins


  • alz

    while i think its funny, and LAME that someone actually wrote an article on this..,. i ask you, do you not have an all time favorite weapon in your arsenal? and it IS a tv show… i would think ANY REAL survivalist would point out that a crossbow, and michones sword are not viable AT ALL. but somehow ricks magnum is the weapon that gets put into question. (ALSO… when in dangerous or unknown areas, rick almost ALWAYS has an automatic rifle or other weapons on him. the colt is nothing more than a symbol, and for someone to seriously argue whether or not there is a likeliness of one using a colt in the ZOMBIE apocalypse is redundantly stupid.

  • Richard

    As Barry said below,
    when I sold my 6” blued Colt Python decades ago, I still kick myself in the ass
    every day. After reading Chris’s wonderful article about one of the best
    shooting pistol’s ever made, I wanted to add my 10 cents worth of information
    that I learned about owning a Python that either wasn’t covered, or wasn’t
    covered enough.

    The weight of a gun is highly considered in the design of any gun, whether it be a rifle or a pistol,
    for Professional use or civilian use, etc…

    The overall weight and design of the Colt Python which Colt tweaked in the early years of production to create the perfectly weighted and thin, sleek pistol design which made it so easily to conceal in a shoulder harness, under a coat, thus making it a favorite of both good guys and bad. The gun became the basic staple of Mafioso guys of all types and hypes… in the movies and in real life.

    When Colt decided to take the Python’s hollow barrel underlug and make it solid with the vented upper rib to which adjustable sights were attached, making the gun not only look beautiful to look at but provided a better stabilizing platform for shooting such a new powerful .357 caliber cartridge.

    As I’m sure you are aware, the heavier the weight of a gun is, the easier it is to handle the recoil but
    too heavy and it’s hard to lift, hold and shoot accurately. Too light and the faster and stronger the recoil is felt to such a point that I have seen pistols fly out of people’s hands at the gun ranges.

    The Python’s famous trigger mechanism became the measuring stick all guns are compared to and the double click of pulling the hammer back became a common sound used in movies depicting
    a bad-ass gun types like Dirty Harry’s 44 magnum.

    For me, being a member on my Military School’s rifle team, I learned the best way of assessing whether or not weapon was good or not was the release of the hammer. If I could feel a gun’s
    firing mechanism before hammer release meant that I could subconsciously predict the release of the hammer before its actual release thus causing me to miss my target. The Python had one of the best trigger mechanisms I ever felt (or, more accurately, not felt)

    So then why did Colt take this model out of production while it was so loved and desired out of all the
    high powered handguns in the marketplace?

    Well, in 1999 and 2000, Colt informed their dealerships in 2 letters that they were ending production
    due to changing market conditions and costs of defending lawsuits which the latter was why I wanted to write this comment since I am a 2nd generation independant insurance adjuster.

    As Plato’s theory of Relativity states: man can perceive perfection, strive towards it but never achieve
    it, and even though the Colt designers and machinists came so close to achieving perfection with the Python, the pistol did have an Achilles heel.

    After firing a number of rounds through it over the years, the Python had a propensity to go out of
    timing. What that means is the alignment of the cylinder to barrel starts to go astray causing the edge of the bullet to hit the edge of the barrel. In worse case scenarios, the gun can break apart with fragments of both the bullet and gun slicing through the shooters hand causing an absolutely devastating injury that is beyond description.

    So, as a warning to all firearm enthusiasts, if you are ever firing a revolver and feel something on
    your hand and/or face that feels like un-burnt powder STOP SHOOTING THE GUN and take it in to a gunsmith for examination. Your revolver may be slightly out of alignment between the cylinders and barrel that is shaving off a small portion of the bullet and may, at any time, get so severe that the barrel falls apart jeopardizing your life and limbs are in jeopardy. It was this information that played into my decision to sell my Royal Blue Python.

    Recently, my desire got the best of me and I bought another discontinued model made by Colt that, I feel, so closely resembles the python but without the timing issues,. It is called the Colt “King Cobra”. I bought it in Bright Stainless Steel with everything attached to the original sale of the gun such as box, owners manual, etc… these guns were hand-made by Colt’s Custom Gun Shop.

    If you get a chance, check them out… They are the closest thing to a perfect .357 Colt Python pistol.
    Let me know what you think about it.

  • Michael Fallon

    If you want realism, then a guy who is/was a cop today, even in a “Zombie” situation, would be carrying a Glock, or a Sig Sauer. Those are the two most prominent used handguns in law enforcement. Where I live, (Central Texas) you might see some county mounties wearing a cocked and locked 1911 45acp. Movie people have used the six inch Python, for its looks more than anything, with good reason. Revolvers are still very useful. However in case of a large scale Zombie attack, give me an AR-15 rifle. If I use a handgun, any one of the guns I have mentioned will work fine for me.

  • William Peterson

    In the last year I have been lucky enough to have come into possession of two Pythons. One is a 4″Nickle made in 1966 and the other is a blue 6″ made in the 70’s. They are by far the best shooting revolvers I possess. I love them. However, I agree with some here regarding more capacity. I believe my AR and Glock 32 would do me just fine.

  • Fred Schneider

    What is the correct ammo for .357 Magnum Colt Python? There are so many discussions on Ammo these days. Which .357 magnum ammo specs is the best without damaging such a fine Revolver (125 gr, 158 gr?) for deadly stoppable power?

  • Rod De Leon

    I had wanted a Colt Python since high school when the characters played by David Soul carried one in “Magnum Force” and again in “Starsky and Hutch.” So when I bought my first handgun, it had to be a Python. Made in 1969, the last of the all-numeric serial numbers, this former LEO 4″ gun I bought in 1985 for $350.00, and I still have it. It might be worth a little more than $350 now. I wish all my investments appreciated as well. I will never sell it because the action is like butter, and it is a tack driver, just pure joy to shoot. But is it the first gun I would go to in a zombie apocalypse? Nope.

    But there are no such things as zombies. Some people would not consider comic books as literature, but in literary terms, the zombie motif serves an allegory, likely representing our insatiable, mindless consumer society where people sleepwalk through life, existing only to eat your brain. In stark contrast, the Rick Grimes character stands for integrity, grit, and strength: fighting to his last suffering breath keeping those he cares about from becoming zombies. What better gun to define this character than a beautiful, painstakingly handcrafted work of art that stubbornly soldiered on even as the market shifted to functional, but cheap and practically disposable, mass-produced, plastic fantastic wonder guns? For this purpose, Python=perfection.

  • Leon Kennedy

    For me, a magnum revolver is good enough as a primary weapon; powerful, reliable, and more portable than a rifle. Dirty Harry’s .44 Magnum stopped the punks dead in their tracks with just six shots. If you are really worried about capacity, then get S&W’s 7/8 shot .357 Magnum revolvers (the old 1911 holds only 7+1 in the chamber, and yet nobody complains about the low capacity).

  • Vince de Lhery

    I am a wheel gun fan. Over the years I have owned a Ruger 100, and now have a S$W 686 Plus with a 2.5 inch barrel. I also have a 629 with a 6 inch barrel. I also have a Sig 1911, a great gun and the only semi that I ever owned and a Colt Detective. I stick with wheel guns because I am an old guy, like the feel, and never had an issue in 24 years in the US Navy, or the 16 years since I retired. I use the local police range, with the nice young men and women shooting their wonder 9 or a .40. But when I shoot either the 44 or 357 magnum, people tend to take notice.

  • Peace Love Bunny

    I’ve started to appreciate wheelguns. They are things of beauty.

  • John Franklin

    One huge disadvantage you are overlooking.. Firing even one round of .357 without hearing protection is enough to cause permanent deafness. At the least it will leave a nasty case of tinnitus most of the time. After as many rounds as Rick has fired indoors and with no protection he would 100% for sure be completely deaf by now.

    • Michael Green

      I’ve shot .357 .44 and even the s&w .500 without ear protection and I’m fine

      • bjkjoseph .


      • John Franklin

        Indoors? There’s a huge difference.Your fine outdoors but Rick grimes fires the thing indoors all the time in small boxed in rooms. I mean you can say what you want but firing high pressure rounds like that indoors is gonna destroy your hearing through acoustic shock. Sometimes after the first shot. Look up anything about .357 for home defense or stories of cops who used it indoors when it was used in law enforcement.

      • Bill Newcomb

        you are fine now. If you continue , you won’t be.