Model: Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless General Officers Pistol (Army Model M)
Serial Number: 562603
Year of Manufacture: According to the Colt letter, this pistol was shipped on Nov. 2, 1944
Caliber: .32 ACP (.32 Auto)
Action Type: Single Action Semi-Automatic 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 at the rear with a Rampant Colt logo. The left side of the frame is marked “562603” and at the rear with a very faint Ordnance “wheel” inspection mark. The right side of the slide is marked “AUTOMATIC COLT / CALIBRE 32 RIMLESS SMOKELESS”. The right side of the frame is marked “U. S. PROPERTY”. The left front of the trigger guard is marked with a “VP” in a triangle and at the rear with an “X”. The right front of the trigger guard is marked “96”. The groove on the underside of the slide on the left side is marked “562603”.
Barrel Length: 3 3/4″
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a short rounded blade fixed to the top of the slide with a serrated, ramped rear surface. The rear sight is a square notch dovetail set to the rear of the slide. These sights are correct for a pistol made after Oct. 1944. Prior pistols had a smoothly rounded front sight and a “U” notched rear sight.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are checkered walnut with nickel Rampant Colt medallions at the top of each grip. The grips show oil staining. The checkering shows light wear with heavy wear along the lower front edge of the left grip and moderate wear at the bottom front corner of the right grip. There are a few tiny mars in the checkering. The grips are in about Fine overall Condition.
Type of Finish: Parkerized
Finish Originality: As Military Applied
Bore Condition: The bore is bright and the rifling is sharp. There is no erosion.
Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 92% of its metal finish. The pistol shows thinning on the edges of the slide and frame with a few light handling marks scattered over the finish. There is also light wear on the sides of the trigger and grip safety from rubbing on the frame. The slide serrations are sharp; the safety checkering is sharp and the grip screw is crisp. The markings are clear, although the slide markings are shallow. Overall, this handgun rates in about Fine condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly and the slide is tight to the frame. It has a grip safety, manual safety, magazine disconnect and a barrel bushing. The slide has 19 serrations and the sights are the correct type for a pistol made after Oct. 1944. We did not fire this handgun.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This pistol comes with one 8-round magazine, a black leather belt holster and a letter from the Colt historian. The magazine is blue and marked “CAL. 32 / COLT” on the floor plate. The magazine shows thinning on its edges and a small spot of light erosion on the right rear edge. Overall, the magazine is in about Fine condition. The holster shows no markings and is of the type issued to General Officers after 1955. It has a belt loop formed by folding the leather over to the rear and securing it with two brass rivets as well as stitching. There is a strap riveted to the inside rear surface of the holster with a brass snap for attaching its loose end to the outside surface of the holster for securing the pistol in the holster. The leather is soft and supple, with a few light marks on the outside of the holster and a light scuff mark on the rear surface of the holster. The holster is in about Fine to Excellent condition. The Colt letter shows this pistol was shipped to the United States Government Transportation Officer at the New York Port of Embarkation in November 2, 1944 as one of 318 pistols shipped in factory order #4420. The Colt letter lists the finish as “Blue”.
Our Assessment: From Wikipedia: “The Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless is a semi-automatic pistol designed by John Browning, and was the first of the Colt concealed hammer models. Despite the title ‘Hammerless’, the Model 1903 does have a hammer, which is covered and hidden from view under the rear of the slide. These pistols were popular civilian firearms for much of their life, and also served as United States General Officer pistols (Model M) 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 is a Colt 1903 Pocket Hammerless semi-auto made in November, 1944 and is complete with a black soft leather belt holster of the type issued to general officers after 1955 and a letter from Colt. According to page 82 of “The Colt Pocket Hammerless Automatic Pistols” by John W. Brunner, it is one of 318 pistols shipped to England at the request of the OSS for the use of the British Special Operations Executive. It is marked “U.S. PROPERTY” on the right side of the slide and the serial number on the frame and slide match. It is in about Fine condition with about 92% of its Parkerized military finish remaining. It shows thinning on the edges of the slide and frame with a few light handling marks. The grips are checkered walnut and show light wear with moderate to heavy wear on the lower front corners. The bore is bright with sharp rifling. This model is highly collectable and should elicit significant collector interest.