Model: 1903 Pocket Hammerless Automatic Type III
Serial Number: 478882
Year of Manufacture: 1928 (http://proofhouse.com/colt/index.html)
Caliber: .32 ACP / 7.65mm Browning
Action Type: Semi-Automatic, Removable Magazine Fed Pistol
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 ” With the rampant Colt logo, the right is marked “COLT / AUTOMATIC / CALIBRE .32 RIMLESS SMOKELESS”, the underside is marked “478882”. The left side of the frame is marked with the serial number, the left side of the trigger guard bow is marked “1” with “VP” in triangle, the right is marked “91”. The magazine floorplate is marked “CAL / .32 COLT”.
Barrel Length: 3 ¾”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a rounded blade, fixed to the slide, the rear sight is a square notched base, dovetailed onto the slide.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are a two piece checkered walnut set with silver-colored Colt logo medallions. The panels show spots of compressed and flattened checkers, with some faint verdigris staining. There are no cracks or chip losses. The grips rate in about Fine overall condition.
Type of Finish: Blued
Finish Originality: Factory Original
Bore Condition: The bore is bright and the rifling is sharp. There is no erosion in the bore.
Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 92% of its metal finish. The balance is shown as spots of edge wear on the slide and frame, consistent with brief holster use; there are some spots of scuff wear, found on the rear of the slide and flanks of the frame. The fore strap of the frame has some light dings, found again on the back of the slide. The left side of the frame, at the upper portion, has a spot of oxidation; the top of the slide has some spots as well, please see our pictures. The slide serrations have a few instances of compression. The screw heads are sharp. The markings are crisp. Overall, this handgun rates in about Fine Plus condition and would rate in Excellent condition but for the spots of compressed and flattened checkers on the grip panels.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The trigger pull is smooth . 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: Included is one factory blued 8-round magazine, showing scuffs and some expected operational wear; the spring is strong and the feed lips are unmarred, rating in Fine condition.
Our Assessment: From Wikipedia: “Approximately 570,000 Colt Pocket Hammerless pistols were produced from 1903 to 1945, in five different types (see Variants paragraph below). Some were issued to US Army and US Air Force general officers from World War II through the 1970s. They were replaced in 1972 with the RIA Colt M15 General Officer’s Model, a compact version of the M1911A1. The Shanghai Municipal Police issued the M1908 to its Chinese officers in the 1920s and 1930s and it was a popular model with police in the United States such as the New York City Police Department, Woonsocket RI, Chicopee Mas, Gloversville NY. Detroit MI and many others. In addition to lawful owners, many gangsters of the pre-World War II era favored the Model 1903 and Model 1908 because they were relatively small and easily concealed. It is said that Al Capone kept one in his coat pocket and Bonnie Parker used one to break Clyde Barrow out of jail after smuggling it into the jail by taping it to her thigh. Bank robber John Dillinger was carrying this model of pistol when he was shot by FBI agents outside the Biograph theater on July 22, 1934, and another famous bank robber, Willie Sutton had one when he was captured by police in Brooklyn on February 18, 1952.” This is a Type III Hammerless that was made in 1928, showing about 92% of its metal finish remaining; the balance is represented by scattered handling marks, a few areas of wear consistent with holster use and a few small spots of light surface oxidation. The bore is bright with sharp rifling and no erosion, the action performs without hiccup. The stocks have areas of compressed and flattened checkers but there are no cracks or chip losses. One correct 8-round magazine is included and given its high condition for its age, this one will surely spark attention with the collectors; if it happens to slip through that group, it could make for a spectacular concealed carry item. Please see our pictures and good luck.