Colt Model 1902 Military 38 ACP Rimless Smokeless Semi-Auto Pistol 1909 C&R

SOLD FOR: $2,645

LSB#: 231030LJ174

Make: Colt

Model: Military Model of 1902

Serial Number: 31952

Year of Manufacture: 1909 (

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 blade fixed to the top of the slide, the rear face of the blade is serrated. The rear sight is a flat-top square-notch dovetailed into the slide. The sights are not original to the gun.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are two-piece checkered black hard rubber with “COLT” in banner across their tops and rampant colt in circle in their middles. The grips have only a few scattered minor marks and some light wear at the top and bottom edges. The checkering is well defined. There are no chips or cracks. The grips have discolored slightly, a very dark brown color. Overall, the grips are in Very Good-Fine condition.

Type of Finish: Blued

Finish Originality: Refinished, this pistol was produced when the slides were not serial-marked.

Bore Condition: The bore is mostly bright with sharp rifling. There is infrequent minor erosion in the bore. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 8 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. For example, the U.S. used  corrosive ammunition throughout WWII. The U.S. military did not begin to phase out corrosive-primed ammunition until the 1950’s.

Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 96% of its current metal finish. The new finish is generally strong throughout with a few scattered minor marks. There are infrequent spots of minor erosion under the finish. There are tool marks at some screw and pin heads, also under the finish. The lanyard ring has been removed and there is some minor erosion at the lanyard location on the left of the frame. The action shows operational wear. The markings range from clear to shallow, but legible. Overall, this pistol is in Very Good-Fine condition as refinished.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly, and the slide has barely perceptible play to the frame. This pistol has a half-cock hammer safety, a spur hammer and the slide serrations are at the rear of the slide (late model). The slide wedge’s indexing stud is intact. The firing pin is the original bronze. The slide release can be used to lock the slide back for cleaning. We did not fire this handgun.

Box, Paperwork & Accessories: One 8 round blued magazine is included. The right feed lip is bent and the follower tends to stick at the depth of the first cartridge. A Colt Archives letter is included which notes that the pistol originally shipped to Browning Brothers in Ogden & Salt Lake City, Utah on February 3, 1909 as one of five pistols 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 was made in 1909, just after production of the 1911 had begun. It has been refinished, so it looks great for its age, and has had a set of sights installed which should prove to be easier to use than the originals. Perhaps most interesting, the included Colt Archives letter indicates that this pistol originally shipped to Browning Brothers in Utah. It was not unheard of for Browning Brothers to take firearms from manufacturers as part of their payment for the patents produced by John Moses Browning, and this could very well be one such pistol. They also operated a thriving sales business and would likely have been able to sell some Colt automatics at either of their Utah locations. As time goes on, fewer of these pistols will be available, and this would be a nice one to add to a Colt collection missing the 1902. Please see our photos and good luck!

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

Colt Model 1902 Military 38 ACP Rimless Smokeless Semi-Auto Pistol 1909 C&R
Colt Model 1902 Military 38 ACP Rimless Smokeless Semi-Auto Pistol 1909 C&R