Model: Sporting Model of 1902
Serial Number: 6838
Year of Manufacture: 1903
Caliber: .38 A.C.P. (.38 Auto)
Action Type: Single Action Semi-Auto Pistol with Removable Magazine
Markings: The left side of the slide is marked “BROWNING’S PATENT / PAT’D APRIL 20. 1897 / SEPTEMBER 9, 1902.”, “COLT PATENT FIRE ARMS MFG. CO. / HARTFORD, CONN. U.S.A.”, and at the rear with the Rampant Colt logo in a circle. The left side of the frame is marked “6838”, as is the underside of the slide. The right side of the slide is marked “AUTOMATIC COLT / CALIBRE 38 RIMLESS SMOKELESS”.
Barrel Length: 6”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a bone bead blade fixed to the top of the slide. The rear sight is a rounded “U” notch dovetailed into the slide.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are a red and black mottled checkered plastic with nickel plated “Franzite” medallions in the tops of the grips. The grips show light wear in the checkering without mars. The grips are in about Fine overall Condition.
Type of Finish: Blued
Finish Originality: The pistol has been refinished.
Bore Condition: The bore is bright, tending to gray at the muzzle. The rifling is sharp and there is no erosion in the bore.
Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 65% of its current metal finish. The front of the slide and the front underside of the frame show pinprick surface erosion and strips of surface loss. The front strap, backstrap, the edges of the slide and frame and the rear upper shoulders of the slide show thinning. The slide serrations show light wear and scratches at the bottom edges of the grooves. The hammer checkering shows only light wear but the back edge of the spur is disfigured. The grip screws are distressed and the slide markings are shallow but readable. Overall, this handgun rates in about Good condition as refinished.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly, and the slide is tight to the frame. This pistol has a half-cock hammer safety, a spur hammer and the slide serrations are at the front of the slide (early model). The slide does not lock back on an empty magazine. We did not fire this handgun.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: One 7 round blued magazine is included. This is a two-tone magazine, with the top of the magazine left “In the White. The magazine shows thinning with surface loss on the spine and front edge. The floorplate is marked “PKT / COLT / 38 CAL”. It shows thinning, a scratch through the finish and a few small spots of solid erosion. The magazine is in Very Good condition. We believe the magazine to be from a Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammer pistol.
Our Assessment: From Wikipedia: “The Model 1902 is a semi-automatic pistol developed by famous American firearms designer John Browning and produced by the Colt’s Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company in the early 20th century. The Model 1902 was not a new design, but rather an incremental improvement upon the nearly identical M1900, and would transition from the 1900 into three distinct but related pistols with the same action and cartridge, the 1902 Sporting Model, the 1902 Military model, and the 1903 Pocket Hammer model. The 1902 Sporting model was so similar to the 1900 that it continued the serial number range, while the 1902 Military Model featured a different serial range as did the 1903 Pocket Hammer model. The 1900 and 1902 pistols were chambered in .38 ACP, and the first commercial loadings were judged too hot, and the loadings were reduced to achieve just under 1100 fps. with a 130 gr. bullet. The popularity of the 1902 pistol waned after the Colt 1911 model came out with improved features and a hotter cartridge, although the 1903 model kept alive until the late 1920’s.”. This is a Colt Sporting Model of 1902 pistol that has been refinished. It has about 65% of its current finish remaining with surface loss and pinprick surface erosion on the front of the slide and the front underside of the frame. It also shows thinning in the backstrap, front strap, the edges of the slide and frame, and the rear upper shoulders of the slide. The grips have been replaced with reddish-black Franzite checkered plastic grips that show light wear in the checkering. The magazine is a two-tone blued 7 round magazine with an original finish that is in about Very Good condition, but we suspect it is from a Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammer pistol. This pistol was made in the first year that the Model 1902 pistols were manufactured’ the slide is serialized to the frame. While the finish and replacement grips may detract from the enthusiasm some collectors would have towards this pistol, the low volume of pistols produced and its early manufacture date should still make this pistol of interest to the collectors.