SOLD FOR: $4,525
Model: Super .38 Automatic
Serial Number: 74391
Year of Manufacture: 1949 (https://www.colt.com/serial-lookup)
Caliber: .38 Super
Action Type: Single Action, Semi-Automatic, Detachable Magazine Fed Pistol
Barrel Length: 5”. It is a “Fat Barrel”, with exterior dimensions the same as a .45 barrel, correct for this period of production.
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a serrated, ramped blade staked to the front of the slide. The rear sight is a square notch dovetailed to the rear of the slide.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are checkered brown 1911A1-style plastic panels with large reinforcement rings around the grip screws and reinforcement ribs around the interior. These are not the standard grips for this model, but Colt was notorious for never wasting parts. Even in 1949, it is possible that they were using surplus wartime production grips for commercial guns. The grips have minor handling wear with a few light marks. The checkering is well defined. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips are in Fine condition.
Type of Finish: Blue
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is mostly bright with sharp rifling. There is no erosion in the bore, but there is some stubborn fouling. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates about 9 out of 10.
Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 85% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning at some edges. Most of the balance is handling wear in the grip areas. There is infrequent other minor wear. There are a couple of spots of oxidation, one on the left of the slide in front of the markings and one on the right of the frame behind the grip. There are some minor nicks and small scratches. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this pistol is in Very Good condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The trigger is crisp. The slide has minor play to the frame. We did not fire this handgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This pistol comes with a single 9-round magazine and a reproduction hinge-lid maroon-colored cardboard box.
Our Assessment: The .38 Super cartridge was first introduced by Colt in 1928 as a higher pressure loading of the .38 ACP. It is capable of driving a 115 gr. bullet past 1400 fps., producing more than 500 ft-lbs of energy. This is not quite up to the .357 Magnum, but was still capable of penetrating body armor and automobile bodies of the time. Today, the cartridge is favored by many top pistol match competitors for its ability to make “Major” power factor in IPSC/USPSA, with a lighter bullet offering less felt recoil than that produced from a .45 ACP round. Colt first introduced the round in its 1911A1 frame, making it basically the same as the Government Model except for its cartridge. The 1911 pistol had already gained a reputation as a highly reliable pistol during WWI, Colt saw no reason not to capitalize on that reputation with a new caliber offering.
This post-war Super .38 pistol was made in 1949 and is in Fine condition, showing wear consistent with responsible use over the last 75 years, retaining the majority of its original finish, a good bore and strong mechanics. It has some neat features found on the early post-war Super .38s including a “fat barrel”, 7-rib mainspring housing, and even has military-style “Coltwood” grips. The Super .38 pistols are highly prized by collectors, and this one certainly will be no different. Please see our photos and good luck!
Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud