Playing Catch-Up

We Update A Couple Of Handgun Tests
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A 25-yard bench-groupshot with Colt-provided sights on a 3" 2020 Python.

Good guns can be made better and I offer you two recent examples, each from a legendary American handgun brand.

One twice as tight with same Black Hills wadcutters
from the same gun using Wilson sights.

Wilson Combat sights on a 3" 2020 Python, compared to originals. Red fiber-optic
front sight shown in package, green one is on the revolver.

Colt 2020 Python .357 Magnum Revolver

When I wrote up the long-awaited 3″ stainless Colt Python 2020 for this magazine, I had to say: “I don’t like the new Colt adjustable revolver sights at all, not on the Python and not on the Anaconda. On our test sample, as you’ll see in the photos, the rear sight leaf came out of the box offset to the right, and this is where it sent its shots. This sight is a pain in the butt to adjust.”

It wasn’t just me. Damn near every serious shooter who tried the 2020 Python in any barrel length picked up on the same thing. Bill Wilson and I made a video on it. Neither of us liked the Colt sight. Bill Wilson, unlike me, did something about it.

The new Wilson sight for the updated Colts appeared in early November of 2022. I was in Berryville, Ark. at the Wilson Combat facility that month and got mine installed while I was there. The front sight is a square Patridge with red or green fiber optic insert; I opted for green because it “pops” just a little better for me, but that’s subjective.

The rear sight is what makes the big difference, though. The adjustments are much more precise, positive, repeatable and they hold their adjustments. That is what ticked off Python connoisseur Wilson more than anything else, because the original sight ruined the Python’s legendary accuracy.

I had not found the new ones to fully live up to the standards earlier Pythons had established for me in terms of accuracy. For instance, with Black Hills match wadcutters, the original sights had given me 2.10″ at 25 yards for five shots, the best three in 0.85″, while with the Wilson sights the same revolver put five of the same rounds in one ragged hole at 25 yards, 1.05″ center to center, with the best coverable by a 12-gauge shotgun slug. The overall group had been cut exactly in half; it was barely off center, but the screwdriver quickly fixed that.

Price, adjusted for inflation, compares favorably to the optional Elliason sights Colt offered for the Python in the old days.


Shot in front of 30-some witnesses at MAG-40 class, Mas’ third
300/300 qual in a row with the out-of-the-box S&W CSX.

Smith & Wesson CSX 9mm Auto

This is what I wrote about the CSX in our sister publication American Handgunner, “On the downside, those who ‘ride the link’ when working the trigger may experience what feels like a ‘false reset.’ (S&W’s Corey) Boudreau explains the CSX “has a firing pin block in the slide and if you ride the trigger forward through the reset cycle, you can feel the trigger bar sweep off the firing pin block just a slight tick before the full reset is achieved. I’ve found the issue seems to go away as the gun breaks in.” YouTube star Hickok45 just hated this aspect when he did his video on the CSX.

Because I let my triggers come all the way forward while still maintaining finger/trigger “weld,” it was never a problem for me with the CSX. What did disappoint was how hard it was to get the last round into each magazine. The gun came with one 10- and one 12-rounder with gray followers. Additional mags were hard to find, but my buddy Wes Lagomarsino found four new 10-rounders for me in California.

The CSX is not on that state’s “approved list” for civilians, but is apparently popular enough as a backup or off-duty weapon for exempt cops there so mags can readily be found. These had blue followers … and were much easier to fill. Even so, when full up they didn’t have enough “wink,” or flex in the cartridge stack, to easily insert with the slide forward during a tactical reload. My solution: Fill the mags full up for the initial “administrative load” when there’s time to make sure everything is right, and then download the spare mags by one.

For me, the CSX is a carry gun for 10-round states so, administratively loaded, it still holds 11 rounds of 9mm — the same number of cartridges as I’d have had with two .38 snub revolvers: a six-shot Colt Detective Special and a five-shot Chief Special S&W, in one gun the size of the latter revolver. And, much easier to shoot.

I carried the CSX quite a bit after I bought it and was almost shamed by its light weight and convenience compared to the service pistols I usually wear as primary. In the initial test, it had given me a 300/300 score on a challenging 60-shot qualification. It has done the same twice since, holding a 100% score average with zero malfunctions. With a thousand or so rounds down its barrel now, it even handles hot Winchester 127-grain +P+ even though it’s not officially rated for that power level.

I am liking this neat little carry pistol more than ever. It’s suitable for primary carry and may just replace my usual J-Frame snub as a backup gun.

Purchase A PDF Download Of The GUNS Magazine May 2023 Issue Now!



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