I haven't written about any guns for a while, so I thought I'd evaluate my Colt Agent for you. The Agent had several variations from when it was introduced in 1962 to when it ceased production in 1986. It's a 6-shot small frame revolver based on the Detective Special, but with a lightweight aluminum frame and a short grip frame. The first version went through 1973 and can be identified by it's exposed ejection rod. From 1973-79 it was slightly heavier and had a shrouded ejection rod. These early versions had a blue finish. The Agent was reintroduced between 1984 and 1986 with a Parkerized finish. In high school, I drooled over the Parkerized Agent in the magazines. About 6 years ago, I found a used one at my local gun store so I snapped it up. It has been refinished in teflon and has the longer, standard length grips on the short grip frame. One of these days I'll get it re-Parkerized and find some original grips.
So how does it shoot? Pretty good. It has a heavy, but very smooth double action trigger pull. The hammer does not need to go back as far as some revolvers, so it has a short trigger pull. The single action pull is crisp with no creep or drag. As far as accuracy, I haven't done any bullseye shooting with it, but when I was still a cop, I was able to shoot the standard duty qualification course (out to 25 yards) in the low 90s with it. With standard velocity .38 special ammo, it is very manageable and comfortable in recoil. I carry +P Speer jacketed hollowpoints in it, and occasionally shoot a cylinder full through it. If you don't know, +P ammo is not recommended for lightweight revolvers because it can eventually erode the forcing cone where the barrel joins the frame. My personal belief is that carrying the best ammo I can and only shooting them every now and then is worth the risk of wearing out the gun. I wouldn't shoot +P through it often or in great quantities, but that's what them make wadcutters for.
How does it carry? It's lightweight, only 19.4 ounces loaded. Colt hasn't made a small-frame .38 for years, and it won't fit in a holster designed for a 5 shot S&W snubbie. It was hard to find a holster. In fact, in one gun shop (it's no longer in business, go figure) they had never heard of a Colt 6 shot .38 and tried to sell me a holster for a S&W. I ended up finding a Bianchi 6D ATB inside the waistband holster that works just fine for my needs. I also got a few HKS DS-A speedloaders for it. I don't carry this gun all the time, but it's great for taking a walk in the woods or for tossing in the backpack as a campsite gun.
In today's world of exotic metal snubbies and high capacity semi-autos, there is still a place for an old school .38. A used one in good shape from S&W, Colt, Ruger, or Charter Arms can be found for $2-300. A good gun smith can tune it up or get it just right for not too much money more. I've never had a revolver jam or fail to feed on me either.