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The Colt Python started the vent rib on pistols craze, and everyone copied Colt's heavy ribbed and lugged barrel as closely as they could get away with.

Some people think the Python's barrel was vented to "cut down on haze" in target shooting.

The truth is, the first prototype had an un-vented barrel, but the two or three men doing the prototype thought it was slightly too barrel heavy.

So, they hollowed out the lower lug in front of the ejector rod, and started cutting vents.
When they got to three vents in the rib, they all agreed it balanced just right.

Later in the 1950's, the hollowed lower lug was changed to solid to cut production time.

Many other guns have copied the Colt vents, but most of them do so simply for cosmetic reasons.
 
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