SOLD FOR: $2751
Model: Type IV 1903 Pocket Hammerless
Serial Number: 572125
Year of Manufacture: 1945 (https://www.colt.com/serial-lookup), shipped November 1, 1946.
Caliber: .32 ACP (7.65mm)
Action Type: Single Action Semi-Auto Pistol with Removable Magazine
Markings: The left side of the slide is marked “COLT’S PT. F.A. MFG. CO. HARTFORD, CT. U.S.A. / PATENTED APR. 20, 1897. DEC. 22, 1903″ and with a rampant colt behind the serrations. The right of the slide is marked “COLT AUTOMATIC / CALIBRE 32 RIMLESS SMOKELESS”. The left of the frame is marked “572125”. The left trigger guard bow is marked “VP” in a triangle and “4” at the rear. The right side of the trigger guard is marked “44”. The right-front of the slide has an arrow pointing to an indexing line for disassembly. The underside flat of the slide is marked with the serial number, “572125”. The right side of the frame is marked “U.S. PROPERTY”.
Barrel Length: 3 3/4”
Sights/Optics: The front sight is a short blade with a serrated, ramped rear face, fixed to the top of the slide. The rear sight is a square notch dovetailed into the rear of the slide.
Stock Configuration and Condition: The grips are checkered walnut with silver-colored rampant colt medallions. The grips show minor handling wear with a few light nicks and scuffs. The checkering is well defined. There are no chips or cracks. Overall the grips are in Fine condition.
Type of Finish: Parkerized
Finish Originality: We don’t see any signs of refinishing, but the Colt Archive letter indicates that it was shipped with a “Dull Blue” finish. In the absence of the letter, it would be assumed that the finish is original. It is possible that there was an error in the records, but otherwise, the pistol has been quite skillfully refinished.
Bore Condition: The bore is bright with sharp rifling. There is no erosion in the bore.
Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 96% of its metal finish. The balance is mostly in edge-thinning and light operational wear. There are a few scattered minor nicks, scuffs and scratches. There are a few stubborn grease-stains and there is very minor discoloration from oxidation on the rear face of the side and the top-rear of the frame. The screw head is sharp. The markings are clear. Overall, this pistol rates in about Fine condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The slide has minor play to the frame. This pistol has a grip safety, a manual safety and a magazine disconnect. We did not fire this handgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork, and Accessories: This pistol comes in a two-piece cardboard craft box with hand-written label, Colt Archive letter, and one blued 8 round magazine. The magazine has minor operational wear, intact feed lips and a strong spring. The letter confirms that this pistol shipped November 1, 1946 to Joseph A. Lorch, Colt’s agent in Washington D.C.. The letter confirms that the “U.S. Property” marking is genuine, however it also states that this pistol was an “Overrun on government contract”. I shipped as one of 43 guns of the same type in the shipment.
Our Assessment: The Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless is a semi-automatic pistol designed by John Browning, and was the 1st of the Colt concealed hammer models, followed by the M1908 in .380 ACP. Despite the title ‘Hammerless’, the M1903 and M1908 pistols do have a hammer, which is covered and hidden from view under the rear of the slide. This allowed the weapon to be carried in and withdrawn from a pocket quickly and smoothly without snagging. These pistols were popular civilian firearms for much of their life, and also served as United States General Officer pistols from the 1940s until their replacement by the M15 General Officers pistol in the 1970s. The Office of Strategic Services issued the Model 1903 to its officers during World War II and it was a popular back-up/off-duty model with police officers in the United States. Gangsters also favored this pistol, including Bonnie Parker and John Dillinger.
This example is one that was made for a contract with the United States government, as is evident by its “U.S. PROPERTY” marking, however it was an over-run and was shipped from Colt to their Washington D.C. sales agent, Joseph Lorch. This makes for an interesting example for the collector, as one of these U.S. marked contract-overrun pistols is actually more scarce than one which actually shipped on a Government contract, and much less common than a standard commercial pistol. This pistol is in Fine condition, showing minor handling and light operational wear. This will make a nice addition to a Colt autoloader collection, especially as it comes from the collection of author Kevin Williams, best known for his exceptional work on the topic of General Officers Pistols & Clandestine Organization Pistols of WWII. Please see our photos and good luck!