Early Colt Model 1902 Military .38 ACP Rimless Semi-Auto Pistol, 1904 C&R

SOLD FOR: $2,751

LSB#: 231030LJ175

Make: Colt

Model: Military Model of 1902

Serial Number: 13321

Year of Manufacture: 1904 (https://www.colt.com/serial-lookup)

Caliber: .38 A.C.P.

Action Type: Single Action Semi-Auto Pistol with Removable Magazine

Barrel Length: 6”

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a rounded blade fixed to the top of the slide. The rear sight is a rounded-top “U” notch dovetailed into the slide.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are checkered hard rubber with “COLT” in a banner across the tops of the grips and a circled Rampant Colt logo in the center of the grips. Originally black, the grips have gone to a brown color. The grips have minor handling wear with only a few small marks. The checkering is well defined. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips are in Fine condition.

Type of Finish: Blued, Fire-Blue Small Parts, Case-Hardened Hammer

Finish Originality: Original

Bore Condition: The bore is grey. The rifling is generally well defined. There is light erosion and pitting scattered through the bore. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates about 6 out of 10.

Many military and C&R-eligible weapons have bores that will show erosion. This is not only due to age but to the fact that corrosive primers were commonly used in ammunition worldwide.

Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 90% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning lightly at all edges. The most notable finish loss is on the top of the slide. There is minor handling wear in the grip areas. There are some scattered minor nicks, scuffs and scratches. There is infrequent minor surface oxidation. The screw heads are sharp. The slide wedge’s indexing stud is intact. The markings are clear. Overall, this pistol is in about Fine condition.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. There is barely perceptible play between the slide and frame. This pistol has a half-cock hammer safety, a spur hammer and checkering at the front of the slide. The slide wedge is intact, including its indexing stud. The slide release can be used to lock the slide back for cleaning. We did not fire this handgun. As with all previously owned firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.

Box, Paperwork & Accessories: One 8 round magazine is included, marked “PAT’D SEPT. 9. 1884” on the floorplate. The magazine has been refinished, having surface erosion under the finish. A Colt Archives letter is included which confirms that this pistol shipped August 24, 1904 to Iver Johnson Sporting Goods in Boston, Massachusetts as one of two guns of the same type in the shipment.

Our Assessment: The 1902 is one of the most beautiful handguns ever made and an important link along the evolution line of the 1911. This example is in quite extraordinary condition, retaining about 90% of its original metal finish, including fire-blue on small parts and case color on the hammer. This checks a lot of boxes for the collectors with the Browning’s Patent slide marking, early slide checkering, bronze firing pin, intact slide wedge and early split slide release. While sales continued through 1928, most after 1920 appear to have been sold out of existing inventory with production itself ending earlier.

The included Colt Archives letter also gives some interesting history on the pistol. The gun was originally shipped to the Iver Johnson Sporting Goods Co. in Boston, MA. This sporting goods retailer was previously the Lovell Arms Co., but was bought out by Iver Johnson in 1899. Iver Johnson is well known in the firearms community for their revolvers, but they were also involved in all manner of manufacture and retail distribution in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

This early example of the 1902 military is a wonderful find for the Colt pistol collectors, not just for the included documentation, but also for its high condition. Please see our photos and good luck!

Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud

Early Colt Model 1902 Military .38 ACP Rimless Semi-Auto Pistol, 1904 C&R
Early Colt Model 1902 Military .38 ACP Rimless Semi-Auto Pistol, 1904 C&R