Model: Model 1903 Type IV Pocket Hammerless (coltautos.com)
Serial Number: 519108
Year of Manufacture: 1936
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 “COLTS PT. F.A. MFG. CO. HARTFORD, CT U.S.A. / PATENTED APR. 20, 1897. DEC. 22, 1903″, with a Rampant Colt, the right is marked “AUTOMATIC COLT / CALIBRE 32 RIMLESS SMOKELESS”, the underside is marked with serial number, found again on the left of the frame. The left of the trigger guard bow is marked with “VP” in triangle under “X”, the right is marked “75”. The grip panels have nickel plated Colt logo medallions. The magazine is marked “CAL 32 / COLT”.
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 round top square-notch sight, 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, as does the screw and escutcheons. The stocks have only very light rub wear to some of the checkers, with general darkening from age. That said, the grips are still sharp and free of cracks. The grips are in about Fine – Excellent overall Condition.
Type of Finish: Blue
Finish Originality: All Original
Bore Condition: The bore is bright and the rifling is barely worn. There is no erosion in the bore.
Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 95% of its metal finish. There is a spot of chemical loss on the front strap, operation wear to the trigger and scattered insignificant edge wear throughout. The most obvious edge wear is on the left side of the slide below “PATENT” and near the muzzle. This is truly a sharp pistol. The slide and magazine release serrations are sharp. The grip screw head shows light tooling but is highly serviceable. The markings are crisp. Overall, this handgun rates in about Fine – Excellent condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly and the slide has no perceivable play to the frame. It has a grip safety and manual safety. 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 finish, marked “CAL. .32 / COLT” on the base plate, with some light wear, still in about Fine condition.
Our Assessment: 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 1936, the interwar years, in truly SHARP condition. Only a bit of edge wear and a spot of loss keep it from “Excellent”. The 1903 is LSB’s owner’s first ever purchased firearm, beginning his love for Colt’s, old firearms and eventually this business. Still, there is no more beautiful, functional or reliable pocket auto built and everyone should have one – collectors and shooters alike. Please see our pictures and good luck.