|SOLD FOR: $1,300.50
Model: 1903 Pocket Hammer
Serial Number: 32645
Year of Manufacture: 1914 (https://colt.com/serial-lookup)
Caliber: .38 ACP
Action Type: Single Action Semi-Automatic Pistol with Removable Magazine
Markings: The left side of the slide is marked “PATENTED / APR.20.1897 SEPT. 9. 1902.”, “COLT’S PT. F.A. MFG. CO. / HARTFORD, CT. U.S.A.”, and at the rear with a Rampant Colt logo. The left side of the frame is marked “32645”. The right side of the slide is marked “AUTOMATIC COLT / CALIBRE 38 RIMLESS SMOKELESS”. The left of the trigger guard is marked “VP” in a triangle and “1”. The underside of the slide is marked “P” (as noted in “A Collector’s Guide to Colt’s .38 Automatic Pistols”, Sheldon, P138: “Slides were numbered to the frame for a very short time in early production, stopping when the numbers descended into the middle 19000 range. The practice resumed again around the middle 36000 range circa 1915”). The magazine floorplate is marked “PKT / COLT / 38 CAL”.
Barrel Length: 4 ½”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a thin rounded blade fixed to the top of the slide. The rear sight is a “U” notch with a rounded top that is dovetailed into the top rear of the slide.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are checkered black hard rubber with “COLT” in a banner across the tops of the grips and a circled Rampant Colt logo in the center. The left panel has a couple of light compressions at the bottom edge, one on the rear edge at the top and very light handling wear. The right panel has a small compression on the bottom of the “COLT” banner under the “O” with a tiny loss on the bottom of the “O” itself, a small mar in the checkering behind the bottom grip screw and a very short, thin crack at the rear edge just below center. The checkering and lettering is well defined where not damaged. The grips are in about Very Good-plus overall Condition.
Type of Finish: Blue
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is gray with light erosion scattered through the bore. The rifling is sharp where erosion is not present.
Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 87% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning at all edges. The slide has some light finish wear on the left above the flat with similar but lighter wear on the right above the flat and there are several scattered minor scratches. The frame has handling wear in the straps and infrequent scattered light marks. Both the slide and the frame have infrequent spots of very light surface oxidation. The trigger has operational wear in its otherwise bright flame-blue finish. The hammer has light operational wear in its otherwise strong case-colored finish. The firing pin is bronze. The slide block still has its indexing nub. The screw heads range from sharp to lightly tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this handgun rates in about Very Good-plus condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly and the slide is tight to the frame. The trigger has a slight takeup followed by a crisp break. This pistol does not have a safety other than a half-cock position on the hammer. The magazine release is on the bottom of the butt. This pistol has a spur hammer that was used on pistols after 1908. We did not fire this handgun.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This pistol comes with one blued 7 round magazine. The magazine has light operational wear, scattered very light surface oxidation, intact feed lips and a strong spring, in about Very Good – plus overall condition.
Our Assessment: The Colt Model 1900 was the first automatic pistol manufactured in the United States and marketed in an environment still oriented to revolvers. Self- loading pistols had been manufactured for several years in Europe but were hardly accepted in the year 1900 when Colt began selling this John M. Browning designed pistol. Browning was nothing short of a genius in firearms design and associating with the marketing and manufacturing abilities of Colt’s Firearms insured the eventual acceptance of the automatic pistol design. The 1900 underwent continuing design changes, becoming the 1902 Sporting and Military Models. The success of these pistols led Colt to believe that a smaller version was in order, a pistol that could be carried in a pocket or holster. This spawned the 1903 Pocket Hammer, which was basically just a shortened version of the M1902 and made with much of the existing tooling. The Colt Pocket Hammer has a shortened 4 ½” barrel but like its big brother lacks an external safety and has a 7 shot magazine with bottom release. One noticeable change from the M1902 pistols was the slide serrations, which were moved to the rear of the slide. Colt’s manufactured about 31,250 of these pistols. Even though the 1903 Pocket Hammer was the most successful of the .38 ACP pistols, its success paled in comparison to the hammerless .32ACP and .380 ACP models 1903 and 1908 hammerless models that were to follow. Production of the M1903 slowed during WWI and surged in 1920, but then fell off – people were either gravitating to the larger M1911 for knockdown power or to the hammerless pistols for concealability. This M1903 Pocket Hammer pistol was made in 1914 and is in Very Good-plus condition with a lot of its original finish remaining. The bore is gray with scattered light erosion. The mechanics are strong with a tight slide-frame fit, nice trigger and smooth operation. This model, along with its M1900 and M1902 predecessors, is a must-have amongst Colt collectors as being one of the first of the Colt semi-automatics. With its original finish, we think the collectors will be fighting over this one. Please see our photos and good luck!
CA Legal or CA Private Party Transferable: This C&R eligible pistol CAN be transferred as a dealer sale in California and CAN be sold as a Private Party Transfer (PPT) at our Simi Valley shop. All cartridge firing handguns (even C&R’s and antiques) sold to a California resident must be DROS’d. This does not apply to out of state residents.