Model: Model 1908 Pocket Hammerless, US Property marked and intended for Commanding Officers – aka “General Officer Pistol”
Serial Number: M 137788
Year of Manufacture: MFD Ca. 1944-1945, Shipped 6/5/1945, Oder# 5079
Caliber: .380 ACP
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″ and marked with the rampant Colt logo at the rear. The right is marked “COLT AUTOMATIC / CALIBRE 380 HAMMERLESS”. The left of the frame is marked “M137788”, the left of the trigger guard bow has a “VP”. There is an Ordinance Wheel behind the thumb safety and the right side of the frame is marked “U.S. PROPERTY”. The slide does properly number to the frame “137788”. The magazine is marked “M CAL .380 / COLT”.
Barrel Length: 3.75”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a serrated non-tapered bladed fixed to the top of the slide. The rear sight is a standard dovetail-set square notch sight.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are checkered walnut with nickel plated medallions. Both horses face left. The grips show some compression marks, consistently worn checkering and some rubs – but they fit snugly to the frame and remain attractive. The panels have darkened quite a bit with age. The grips rate in about Very Good – Fine overall condition.
Type of Finish: Blue
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 80% of its metal finish. This is the original finish, retained better on the left side than the right. We assume this is the case due to storage in the box (right-side-down). The right side has more thinning and freckling than the left – though both are still attractive. There are scattered surface scratches throughout and a drop ding on the right side of the slide at the muzzle. Despite all of this, the gun remains attractive and honest. The screw heads are only a bit worn. The markings are CRISP, this handgun rates in about Very Good – Fine condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly and the slide shows little play to the frame. It has a grip safety and manual safety and both function as they should. The trigger pull is 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 handgun comes with one factory original 7-round magazine, in Fine condition, marked “M CAL .380 / COLT” . It also comes with the original shipping box, with the serial number and “Tammy” written on the lid. The box is a little tattered. An original instructions brochure is inside, also a little tattered. The factory letter, recently aquired and as-scanned, is included.
Our Assessment: Colt’s Model 1903 Hammerless was a huge success and automatically put into motion bigger and better designs, such as this Model 1908 .380 ACP. It offers the same sleek design and handling as it’s little brother the 1903, but speaks with more authority than the .32 ACP. This compact little pistol was so useful, it was aquired by the US Government as issue to OSS and Commanding Officers. This gun was a Commanding Officer Issue, though we do not know to whom it went… The M indicates that this gun was returned to the factory in March of 1945, where it was upgraded for increased reliability in feeding and extracting.
This gun definitely saw service but remains attractive. It is one where more research may lead to more value, but with the Arms & Armament Command letter request no longer available, it may be some time until the new owner finds out exactly who this wne to, but the information is out there somewhere.
On top of all this, it has the box!
CA Legal or CA Private Party Transferable: This C&R eligible pistol CAN be transferred as a dealer sale in California but CANNOT be sold as a Private Party Transfer (PPT) at our Simi Valley shop. All cartridge firing handguns (even C&R’s) sold to a California resident must be DROS’d. This does not apply to out of state residents.