Secret Agent Man…
Colt really pioneered the modern small-frame revolver when it introduced the Detective Special, fundamentally an abbreviated Police Positive Special with a 2-inch barrel, in 1927. Introduced at the height of Prohibition and the era of the great automobile-borne gangsters of the “Roaring Twenties,” the Colt Detective soon became a hit and was successful enough to remain in production until 1995, which is one heck of a run.
Immediately after World War II, Colt pioneered making handguns with such “Atomic Age” aerospace materials as early aluminum. With the material dubbed “Coltalloy” at the time, Colt introduced an aluminum-framed variant of the popular Detective Special in 1950 named the Cobra– the company’s very first of an extensive line of “Snake Guns.”
In 1955, Colt responded to the newly introduced and popular S&W Chief’s Special by moving to make the Cobra even more compact. Taking the aluminum-framed 6-shooter and trimming the length of the grip frame down while keeping everything else intact, the Agent was born.
More in my column at Guns.com.