Skip to main content

Review: Uberti El Patron CMS

Review: Uberti El Patron CMS
CMS stands for Cowboy Mounted Shooting, but this Uberti is good for a lot more than that.

Given the parameters of its William Mason-inspired design, I used to think there was no way to improve upon the classic Single Action Army. Many have tried, but the original 1873 configuration seemed impervious to change. Its plow-handled grip provided perfect purchase and pointability, it balanced well, and the rugged fixed sights—while not the quickest to line up—couldn't get knocked out of whack if the gun was bumped or even dropped.

But now, A. Uberti of Gardone Val Trompia, Italy, has taken the basic single-action revolver and adapted it for today's more demanding shootists, who require faster cocking, quicker pointability and improved accuracy.

Dubbed the Uberti El Patron CMS, this newest version of an old western icon was, in fact, inspired by the demands of Cowboy Mounted shooters—hence the CMS handle. But that doesn't mean the CMS version is relegated to the saddle. Available in either .45 Colt or .357 magnum, and in blued and case-hardened or stainless steel finishes (both with finely checkered one-piece walnut grips), this compact single action is equally ideal for Cowboy Action shooting, packing on the trail or even self-defense.

Uberti's original El Patron (which means "the boss" in Spanish), came out over a year ago and was actually a factory-tuned 1873 Cattleman, offered in 4.75- or 5.5-inch barrel lengths. While the Uberti El Patron CMS has the same factory-tuned innards as the regular El Patron—with American-made Wolff springs and a hand-honed and polished action—it is the external appearance that sets this gun apart.

The first thing one notices is the shortened 3.5-inch barrel for quicker leather clearance (a four-inch version is also available) and a bobbed ejector rod housing. The lowered and flared hammer spur, another feature not found on the regular El Patron, is an indication that the CMS version is made for fast, one-handed cocking.

The beveled cylinder is inherited from the regular El Patron, but other shared features of the CMS such as its numbered cylinder chambers aren't as readily apparent. Raising the gun to draw a bead on the target reveals a 3/32-inch wide front sight blade, which nestles comfortably within an 1/8-inch wide rear sight notch cut into the tail end of the topstrap.

The wide, smooth trigger gives a distinctly different feel to this gun compared to most single actions, and the resultant trigger let-off is vastly improved. The checkering on the grips firmly anchors the gun in the hand during recoil.

I requested a blued and case hardened version in traditional .45 Colt for testing. This gun features a government-and-attorney-mandated "safety" that Uberti is required to put on its fixed firing pin single actions. This safety is, quite simply, an extended cylinder base pin.

When the spring-loaded base pin "button" on the dished-out portion of the frame in front of the cylinder is pushed in, it frees the cylinder base pin, which can then be pushed in until the rearward portion protrudes out just enough from the back of the frame to block the hammer from falling all the way and striking the primer.


It's a simple and effective arrangement, and most guns are shipped with the safety on, so be sure to examine the position of the cylinder base pin before shooting. To put the gun in firing condition, push the base pin latch in and make sure the cylinder base pin has been pulled forward to its second indentation, which will secure it in the frame and permits the fixed firing pin of the hammer to strike the primer.

(Cylinder base pin safety notwithstanding, you should only carry five cartridges in fixed firing pin SAs, with the hammer resting on the empty sixth chamber.)

As expected, this top-of-the-line gun functioned flawlessly. The action was smooth as silk, and the trigger broke at an impressive 2.5 pounds (albeit with a slight amount of creep), which enabled me to get 2.5-inch groups at 25 yards with Winchester 250-grain Cowboy and Black Hills 230-grain roundnose lead loadings.

It was only when I tried ejecting the empty cases that I ran into a slight hiccup. The 3.5-inch ejector rod half-moon finger tab kept running into the cylinder base pin, thus preventing the full length of the rod from adequately punching out the empties. Unless the cases slid out by themselves (which didn't occur once the gun had fired multiple rounds) I had to pluck them out with my fingers.

I suspect this isn't as much of a problem with the four-inch barrel version, although I prefer the compactness of the 3.5-incher, ejection hang-ups aside. It reminds me of the custom three-inch Sheriff's Model I used to pack on hunting trips as a camp gun. But now the Uberti El Patron CMS has bested even that old-timer with a better action and improved accuracy.

Fast Specs

  • Type: single-action revolver
  • Caliber: .45 Colt (tested), .357 Mag.
  • Capacity: 6
  • Barrel length: 3.5 (tested), 4 in.
  • Overall Length: 9.5 in. (as tested)
  • Weight: 2.3 lb.
  • Sights: fixed, widened groove rear; steel blade front
  • Grips: one-piece checkered walnut
  • Price: $599 (blued and case hardened, tested), $749 (stainless steel)
  • Manufacturer: A. Uberti, Gardone Val Trompia, Italy
  • Importer: Uberti USA/Benelli USA,, 301-283-6300

Accuracy Results

  • Smallest avg. group: 230 gr. Black Hills—2.25 in.
  • Largest avg. group: Federal SWHP—2.75 in.
  • Avg. of all ammo tested (3 types)—2.5 in.
  • Accuracy results are averages of five five-shot groups from a sandbag rest at 25 yards.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Federal's new.30 Super Carry pistol cartridge offers the equivalent of 9mm Luger performance with recoil and muzzle blast comparable with 9mm. Here's a first look.

First Look: Federal .30 Super Carry Pistol Cartridge

Scott Rupp and Richard Nance correct some common shooting advice.

Bad Shooting Advice

Rich Nance shows us a drill that helps with target transition and accuracy.

Skills Drills - 3 Second Headshot

It is important to train in various shooting positions. Rich shows us some kneeling positions here.

Shooting from Kneeling

Scott Rupp highlights the Taurus GX4.

Taurus GX4

Richard Nance shows off this easy to carry flashlight from Streamlight.

Streamlight Wedge

In early 2021, Taurus introduced the GX4, its entry into the micro-compact concealed carry pistol market. Now the company has added red-dot sight capability with the new T.O.R.O. (Taurus Optic Ready Option) version.

First Look: Taurus GX4 T.O.R.O. Optics-Ready Micro-Compact 9mm Pistol

Widely known for their duty retention holsters, Safariland is bringing the security and safety of their LE products to the civilian world with the 575 GLS holster.

Safariland Holsters

Smith & Wesson has expanded their M&P Shield Plus pistol line to include a 3.1-inch optics-ready slide option. Scott Rupp, editor of Handguns, is with Matt Spafford, of Smith & Wesson, to check out this "sweet spot" optics-ready concealed-carry pistol.
Concealed Carry

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus Pistol Series Expanded with Optics-Ready Versions

Handguns Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Handguns App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Handguns stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Handguns subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now