SOLD FOR: $5775
Model: Type IV 1903 Pocket Hammerless
Serial Number: 571878
Year of Manufacture: 1945 (https://www.colt.com/serial-lookup)
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 “571878”. 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 “57”. 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, “571878”. The left of the barrel is marked “COLT 32 AUTO”. The right side of the frame is marked “U.S. PROPERTY”.
Barrel Length: 3 3/4”
Sights/Optics: The front sight is a short, serrated, ramped blade 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 spot of compressed checkers above the right medallion and some discoloration on the medallions. The checkering is otherwise well defined. There are no chips or cracks. Overall the grips are in Fine condition.
Type of Finish: Parkerized
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is bright with sharp rifling. There is no erosion in the bore. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 10 out of 10.
Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 98% of its metal finish. The finish is strong throughout with some minor discoloration from oxidation on the unfinished portions of the barrel. The action shows faint operational wear. Otherwise, there are only light handling marks. The screw head is sharp. The markings are clear. Overall, this pistol rates in Excellent 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 with a single 8-round magazine, manual, black leather General Officer’s belt and holster, and a series of documents related to the pistol and its original owner. Included in the documents is the original purchase receipt from Springfield Armory, photos of Lieutenant Colonel Charles A. Glover, newspaper clippings remembering Glover, and a letter from his wife Anita discussing his service history.
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, and was made in 1945 and was sold shortly after the end of World War II to Lieutenant Colonel Charles A. Glover. Glover graduated from Mississippi State College in 1938 and worked for Eastern Airlines, transferring within the company to Houston, Texas in 1940. He joined the Army Air Forces in 1941. It should come as no surprise, given his experience with Eastern, that he was made responsible for aircraft distribution of AAF and Lend-Lease aircraft. He achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and was for a time on the staff of General Henry “Hap” Arnold at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. According to the included letter from his wife, he was involved in the construction of an air base in Germany, though her spelling of “Rhein stein” doesn’t make it clear whether he assisted with the Rhein-Main or the Ramstein base. Glover was discharged in 1946, but remained in the Reserves and was called up during the Korean War, during which he was stationed in Germany. While in the Reserves he rejoined Eastern Airlines, working in Atlanta and St. Louis.
Based on the newspaper clippings, Charlie Glover was quite well liked. This may explain how he came to be in possession of a General Officer’s belt and holster while being a Lieutenant Colonel. In any case, the documentation included with this pistol related to its previous owner makes for quite the addition to a collection and will display well. It’s not every day you find a U.S. Property marked Colt 1903 with its original sales receipt from Springfield! Please see our photos and good luck!
Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud