Model: Model 1903 Type IV Pocket Hammerless (http://www.coltautos.com/mmpd.htm)
Serial Number: 516350
Year of Manufacture: 1934
Caliber: .32 A.C.P. (.32 Auto)
Action Type: Single Action Semi-Automatic 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″, with a Rapant Colt, the right is marked “AUTOMATIC COLT / CALIBRE 32 RIMLESS SMOKELESS”, the underside is marked with serial number “516350”, found again on the left of the frame. The left of the trigger guard bow is marked with “VP” in triangle under “W”, the right is marked “75”. The grip panels have nickel plated Colt logo medallions.
Barrel Length: 3 3/4”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a half-moon rounded bladed fixed to the top of the slide. The rear sight is a rounded base with a square notch, dovetailed into the rear of the slide.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are checkered walnut with nickel plated Colt logo medallions, the medallions have natural tarnish, the stocks have light rub wear on some of the checkers, with faint compression infrequently observed. There is a small sliver loss on the rear of the left stock as photographed, there are no visible cracks or major damages. The grips are in about Very Good Plus overall Condition.
Type of Finish: Blue
Finish Originality: All Original
Bore Condition: The bore is bright and the rifling is still highly defined with light wear. There are only a few extremely shallow and infrequent spots of surface erosion that were not visible until close inspection with a magnifying glass, this is one of the better Type IV bores we’ve seen.
Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 87% of its metal finish. The edges of the slide have edge thinning, there are some marks on the back of the slide by the frame, the surfaces of the pistol have scattered spots of shallow pin prick surface erosion and patina; the grip safety has hand rub wear with slightly darker patina. The trigger has some indexing wear. All said, this is a beautiful pistol that has survived quite well for a pocket pistol of its age. The slide and magazine release serrations are sharp. The grip screw head is sharp. The markings are crisp. Overall, this handgun rates in about Fine condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly and the slide has no perceivable play to the frame. It has a grip safety and manual safety, along with a magazine disconnect common with Type IV variants. The pistol has an integrated barrel bushing, the trigger pull and reset are crisp. 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 an eight round two-tone magazine that has its original blue finish, marked “CAL. .32 / COLT” on the base plate, with some brush marks under the finish from the factory; the surfaces have light pin prick erosion and patina; there are no major damages, the spring is strong and the feed lips are unmarred, in about Fine condition. Also included is a period correct maroon factory box, the end label is chipped off, one can still make out “AUTOMATIC COLT PISTOL / RIMLESS / .32”, the interior has Colt’s marketing information, the underside has a faint serial number that we could not make out (Possibly ending in “590”?), please see our pictures; the box has separation at the tray corners from the inside, the exterior has chip losses of material, the hinged portion has deep roughing and tears, the box is in Fair to Good condition. Also included is a sheet of vintage wax paper, which is fragile and obviously of vintage; the item has oil staining and some losses with highly legible print, in Fair to Good condition. A xerox copy of the pistol’s instruction manual is provided, in Fine to Excellent condition.
Our Assessment: From Wikipedia: “The Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless is a semi-automatic pistol designed by John Browning, and was the first of the Colt concealed hammer models. Despite the title ‘Hammerless’, the Model 1903 does 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. The Office of Strategic Services issued the Model 1903 to its officers during World War II and it was a popular back-up/off-duty model with police officers in the United States. Gangsters also favored this pistol, including Bonnie Parker and John Dillinger. ”. This is a Colt 1903 Type IV Pocket Hammerless semi-auto made in 1934, just years before the outbreak of WWII, when these pistols were used by ranking military officers as a dependable, well made and easy pointing sidearm that wouldn’t get in the way of every day duty. This pistol survives with about 87% of its finish remaining, with strong blue and sharp markings; this is by far one of the most attractive pre-war 1903’s that have come through the shop. This piece was probably someone’s trusted and loyal concealed carry handgun that looks to have been well taken care of for its intended purpose and should do well in your collection, especially with the vintage box, magazine and other goodies. Please see our pictures and good luck.