Colt Agent | The Cobra’s Little Brother

“There’s a snake in my boot!” Or is there? The Colt Agent may not be a TRUE member of Colt’s legendary Snake Guns, but it’s at least an honorary one.

The America of the 1970s looked at Concealed Carry in a much more interesting way than today. It was a time when a radical shift towards the everyday Joe and Jane being able to carry was beginning to crest, and laws were all over the board. Most people either open carry, or not at all, and many of the small, concealable guns of the day were marketed towards LEOs, usually as backup guns to their standard duty revolver.

In 1950, Colt began selling a new variant of their famous “Detective Special” revolver. It was dubbed the “Cobra”, the first to take a snake-themed name, and featured the same “D” frame, but was made out of aluminum alloy instead of steel, with a steel cylinder and barrel. It would go on to be developed into an interesting lineup of compact revolvers, including the Agent.

The Agent was very similar to the Cobra, with an alloy frame and steel cylinder and barrel. However, it featured a smaller “stubby” grip frame for deeper concealment. It was only offered with a 2-inch barrel and only in .38 Special. The name “Agent” was Colt attempting to market it as a deep concealment gun for LEOs.

Eventually, it would take cues from the Cobra in the “Second Model” and feature a shrouded ejector rod and tapered front sight, and in return, the Cobra and Detective Special would adopt the shorter frame of the Agent, albeit with bigger grips. Later on for a few years in the ’80s the Agent had a parkerized finish for one last gasp as a less expensive version of the Cobra, but by 1986, the Agent’s run was over.

This particular Agent is a “Second Model” made in 1974 with the shrouded ejector. Unlike the similarly sized Smith and Wessons of the day, you got SIX shots, not five. The alloy frame makes for a ridiculously light gun, to the point where I almost forget it’s there. The small size is perfect for pocket carry, as it fits neatly in the “coin pocket” in my jeans nicely and securely, and with minimal snag upon drawing. And while it may not have cost as much as a Cobra back in the day, Colt in no way cheaped out, especially on the amazing, crisp trigger. This is from a different era of Colt, and it shows. I seriously cannot overstate how much I enjoy the trigger on this gun.

The frame is anodized, while the barrel and cylinder get that famous Colt Royal Blue bluing treatment. The finish on mine is in great shape, minus a nick or two. Oddly, though, the hammer is “in the white”, and shows a bit of discoloration because of it.

Of course, it isn’t all sunshine. The Agent falls prey to the same issues many snubs do when it comes to shootability. The nicely checkered grips really only allow a two-finger purchase, and leave your pinky to dangle or tuck under the bottom. The sights are rudimentary, with a trench cut on top of the frame and a long, tapered front post. The 2-inch barrel does little for accuracy, though this is a gun really only designed for very short distances anyway. Even with .38 Special, the Agent is rather snappy. The alloy frame does little to soak up the recoil, and the tiny grips don’t allow for much control.

But for any shortcomings, the Agent remains an excellent, high-quality revolver. These are from when guns were hand-fitted by craftsmen, not simply CNC’d and assembled. Many people continue to highly value them, and they still command a fair price, which will only go up as time passes.

Today, the Agent remains a solid, well-made gun that can easily stand up to more modern counterparts, and will outlive you if you take care of it. If you’re looking for a really nice snub nose that won’t break the bank, you can do far worse than this lightweight little beast.


CTG is TKB's chief resident boomer. He is ex-Infantry, and likes cheap whiskey, machine guns and oddball retro stuff.

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3 Responses

  1. Ira says:

    Why no pony logo on the agent

  2. willie says:

    there is a pony logo on my Colt Agent, which is a first issue (original)

  3. Greg Bartley says:

    Where does one go to look up the serial number for the Ageny?

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