In their heyday, Colt’s D-frame snubs were as near to the ideal as a revolver could be. They were built on a frame size that can fit either a man’s or a woman’s hand nearly perfectly, their cylinder release direction doesn’t invite unlocking under recoil and the cylinder rotation worked with the reloading manipulation of the day. The D-frame snubs (the Detective Specials offered in steel, and the Cobras and Agents offered in alloy) are smaller that the Smith & Wesson K-frames yet fit six rounds in a revolver barely larger than Smith and Wesson’s five shot J-frames. Additionally Colt snubs have some of the best inherent accuracy of any snub commonly encountered. Over the years Colt started introducing several small cosmetic changes to distinguish one “generation” from that the next. I never found late model Colts featuring a shrouded ejector rod possessed any substantial advantage over the early “exposed ejector rod” models. In fact, there are several snub manipulation methods that are positively hampered by the late model Colts ejector rod shroud. Additionally, the change from Colt’s classic front sight blade to its ramped front sight does appear (no pun intended) to be a sight redesign blunder. When Colts were common, they were praised for their workmanship, though when they were shot extensively they also developed a reputation for getting out of time more often than Smith & Wesson revolvers. For some owners though, a self-defense snub is the quintessential “carry a lot, shoot a little gun” so this may not be an issue for the infrequent shooter. If the Colt fits your carry needs there is always the option of buying both a steel frame workhorse Colt and an alloy frame carry version. You can set them up in an identical fashion (stocks, sights, gunsmithing, etc.) and then train on the steel gun often and the alloy gun less so. It should be noted though that in the event that repairs are needed finding spare Colt parts and the skilled master gunsmiths to properly fit them is getting challenging. Karl Sokol of Chestnut Mountain Sports in West Rutland is one of the few remaining Colt master gunsmiths. In the end though the light weight Colt Cobras and Agents remain great self-defense options. My daily carry snub setup is either an alloy Colt Cobra or an alloy Smith & Wesson Model 12 carried on the belt-line with a shrouded Cobra in an Alessi ankle holster as a backed up.