TFB Review: Improving the Colt King Cobra's Performance with XS Sights

Luke C.
by Luke C.

The Colt King Cobra is one of the more recent additions to the highly popular lineup of Colt Double Action revolvers. Like all of the other snakes on the plane, the Colt King Cobra features high-quality construction, impeccable mechanical reliability, and all of the sleek lines of the Python, just without the vent rib. While revolvers may not be my most frequently used handguns, I still have a lot of fun shooting them at the range because they’re just cool and very fun to reload and operate. XS Sights has been constantly adding new types of sights and sighting accessories for virtually every platform out there, including Colt’s entire line of revolvers. Today we’ll be discussing some of my recent experiences after getting a chance to test out a Colt King Cobra that featured XS Sights’ Standard Dot Tritium Revolver Night Sights.

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TFB Review: Improving the Colt King Cobra’s Performance with XS Sights

As previously mentioned, the Colt King Cobra, at least the standard model that you can pick up for roughly $1,000, features a simple yet effective brass bead front sight paired with rather shallow rear trench sights. This system is perfectly fine for a vast majority of shooters, and likely just fine if you plan on carrying the King Cobra around for self-defense. The sighting system in my opinion, however, is quite limited in its range of abilities. Similar to the other revolvers that feature trench sights, accuracy tends to degrade after a certain point due to most rear notches partially obscuring the front sight.

This tradeoff is likely just a consequence of both the 2″ snub nose and the 3″ original King Cobra revolvers being largely geared toward self-defense duty. Their smaller frames don’t allow for proper rear sights while concerns over front sights snagging on clothing and holsters keep the front sight relatively low to the top of the revolver. Other models of the Colt King Cobra released after the original feature adjustable rear sights, and fiber optic front sights to take advantage of the King Cobra’s accuracy at greater ranges since accuracy beyond 15 yards is much more important than saving space or preventing snags.

While the XS Sights self-illuminated tritium front night sight can’t completely solve the King Cobra’s limited set of sights, it can improve upon them in a number of ways and partially remedy the fact that the OEM brass bead front sight is always partially obscured by the rear notch with a proper sight picture.

Simple Installation

While I didn’t install these sights myself, the Colt system of replacing their front sights is quite easy and only requires that you remove a small set screw on the muzzle end of the revolver. XS Sights always includes Loctite with any of their threaded sights so you could also apply that and let it set before you bring the gun to the range. The same front sight that works with the OG King Cobra will also work with any other Colt revolver that features this type of sight removal/installation.

Range Performance

The first thing that most people notice after replacing their factory sights with XS big dot or other photoluminescent sights is how much easier and quicker it is to pick up a sight picture. While the rear notch still covers a vast majority of the front sight dot (making it virtually impossible to photograph both properly), the easier-to-pick-up dot makes target acquisition much faster across a broader range of backdrops including brightly lit targets.

A secondary albeit minor benefit of the XS Sight upgrade is that I feel like it allows me to consistently line up the sights in the exact same spot before each shot. The black shroud and brass bead that the King Cobra normally comes with usually leaves much to be desired in terms of consistency as the brass bead only sort of floats between both ears of the rear trench while fiber optic aftermarket sights and the XS Sights big dot allow the orange photoluminescent sleeve to fill the entire gap of the trench, while still allowing for pinpoint aiming with the Tritium core which only becomes more visible in lower light conditions or on heavily overcast days.

What I found throughout the experience is that my ability to consistently hit targets at greater ranges was vastly improved, along with the ability to much more quickly pick up the sights after a hasty reload. Revolvers in particular don’t really allow the user to keep their eyes on the target and simultaneously reload the weapon, so reacquiring your entire sight picture becomes a more time-consuming process and the XS Sights simply shave off a few moments with their extremely bright appearance in even when surrounded by other brightly lit objects.

At closer ranges, the XS sights also allow you to better “point shoot” with the revolver, showing up so well that they almost appear like a red dot when you aim the revolver with both eyes open. This might be helpful in situations where a full sight picture isn’t strictly necessary, and will ultimately help you in properly orienting the revolver using only your peripheral vision.

Final Thoughts

While I don’t think that the XS Sights are a necessary upgrade for any Colt owner, I do think that they’re one of the better upgrades you can find out there and are probably a great quality-of-life upgrade for anyone who shoots their Colt King Cobra with any frequency. Overall I think you’ll find that your range sessions will be more accurate, and far less straining on your eyes. The sights themselves are also just as durable as the OEM sights and are much better built than the Amazon special fiber optic sights that you can pick up for about $25 that will most certainly break with any frequent use or exposure to heat. You can pick up a Standard Dot Tritium Revolver Night Sight for the Colt King Cobra for about $83, and if you’re not partial to the bright orange and green sight, XS Sights also offers an arguably even brighter green-on-green front sigh post. All in all, I think these sights would be a great buy for anyone who shoots their revolver with any frequency. Your thoughts, as always, are welcome in the comments below! What kind of sights do you prefer on this style of revolver?

Luke C.
Luke C.

Reloader SCSA Competitor Certified Pilot Currently able to pass himself off as the second cousin twice removed of Joe Flanigan. Instagram:

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2 of 5 comments
  • David Stevens David Stevens on Apr 29, 2024

    Honestly $83 for name brand quality, vs. Amazon throw of the dice is easy to justify. It’s like buying a sight tool for sight replacements or using a common household vise with a hammer and punch. No comparison…no mention of ammo?

  • Armed Partisan Armed Partisan on May 09, 2024

    As a certified revolver nerd, I celebrate this upgrade. I had a Night Cobra and the Tritium Front sight was PATHETIC; glow-in-the-dark paint was brighter. The DAO also didn't work reliably, so I sold it.
    This sight looks significantly better; XS makes great products and has great customer support in my experience. Of all the revolver makes now in production, I like the Colt's the best, since they are closest to the actual classics (S&W has stopped mislabeling their retro models as "classics" since they are abominations with Hilary Holes and two-piece, self-disassembling barrels). That said, COLT NEEDS TO FIX THE TRIGGER GUARD on the entire Cobra lineup; it's idiotic looking, and makes finding a decent holster IMPOSSIBLE. The main reason to buy a Python instead is they don't have retardedly shaped trigger guards.