Model: Model 1908 Type IV Pocket Hammerless (as determined by date of manufacture: http://www.coltautos.com/mmpd.htm)
Serial Number: 105902
Year of Manufacture: 1929
Caliber: .380 A.C.P. (9mm Kurz)
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 at the rear with a Rampant Colt logo. The left side of the frame is marked “105902”. The right side of the slide is marked “COLT AUTOMATIC / CALIBRE 380 HAMMERLESS” and “2169”. The left front of the trigger guard is marked with a “VP” in a triangle and “1”. The right front of the trigger guard is marked “51”. The right side of the frame is marked “SHANGHAI MUNICIPAL POLICE” / NO 2169” and the right side of the barrel at the port is marked “2169”.
Barrel Length: 3 3/4”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a short rounded bladed fixed to the top of the slide. The rear sight is a square notch dovetailed into the rear of the slide.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are checkered black hard rubber with a small smooth diamond shape near the tops of the grips. The checkering shows moderate wear with a few tiny mars in the left grip. The left grip is relieved at the bottom rear corner for access to a lanyard ring on the bottom left rear of the grip. The grips are in about Very Good overall Condition.
Type of Finish: Blued
Finish Originality: The finish is not original.
Bore Condition: The bore is bright and the rifling is sharp. There is no erosion but there is a tiny tool mark in one of the grooves near the muzzle.
Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 80% of its current metal finish. There are spots of erosion scattered over the surfaces with light pitting under the finish. There are spots of thinning on the edges of the side and frame, multiple tiny scratches on the top left edge of the slide near the muzzle and several tiny marks in the top and left side of the slide. There are tiny scratches in the right side of the extractor, three tiny tings in the edges of the serrations on the right side of the slide and a few larger dings in the serrations on the left side of the slide. the safety checkering shows light wear. The screw heads are disfigured. The Rampant Colt logo on the slide is barely recognizable and a few of the markings on the slide have been eliminated when the barrel tensioning spring was added by the SMP armory. Overall, this handgun rates in about Very Good as re-finished.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly but the slide is slightly loose on the frame. The frame has a hole above the safety for a screw to block the safety from being engaged, but the screw has been removed. It has a grip safety and a manual safety but does not have the barrel bushing of the Type II nor the magazine disconnect added on commercial Type IV pistols. Either it was manufactured without it, or it has been removed. The safety can be used to lock the slide back. We did not fire this handgun.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This pistol comes with one blued 7 round magazine. The floorplate is marked “CAL. 380 / COLT”. The body of the magazine is sprinkled with light pinprick surface erosion with a few spots of deeper erosion. The floorplate also shows pinprick surface erosion and thinning on its front edge. The magazine is in about Very Good condition.
Our Assessment: From Wikipedia: “The Colt Model 1908 Pocket Hammerless is a semi-automatic pistol designed by John Browning, and was the 2nd of the Colt concealed hammer models, following the Model1903. 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.”. Colt shipped a total of 4185 pistols to the Shanghai Municipal Police (SMP) from 1928 to 1938. The pistols were different from the standard commercial M1908 in several ways: The grips were relieved for access to a staple shaped lanyard ring at the left bottom rear of the grip, a screw was added on the left side of the frame to prevent the safety from being inadvertently engaged and a key shaped leaf spring was added on the left side of the slide to put pressure on the barrel during recoil to prevent jamming. Most of the guns had the safety block performed at the SMP armory, and the few that were done by Colt were done so that the spring did not encroach upon the left side factory roll marks. This pistol has been refinished and retains about 80% of its current finish. There are spots of erosion scattered over the surfaces with light pitting under the finish in most areas. There are tiny scratches and dings scattered over the slide and tiny scratches in the extractor. The checkered hard rubber grips show light to moderate wear in the checkering with a few tiny mars in the checkering of the left grip. The bore is bright with sharp rifling but the slide is slightly loose on the frame. As there were only 4185 of these pistols shipped from the Colt factory under contract to the SMP, this pistol is a rare find for the Colt auto collector. We expect the Colt collectors to show a lot of interest in this pistol despite the fact that it has been refinished.