Tag Archives: colt 32

That a Colt in your pocket, bub?

I’ve always been a fan of the old M1903 Colt Pocket Hammerless.

Thus:

First hitting the market in 1904, the thin-profiled Pocket Hammerless (Colt Model M) was one of John Browning’s finest early designs, everything a modern self-defense pistol should be.

Today, it still feels good in the hand when compared to the best that the 21st Century has to offer, although its .32ACP-chambering is on the lighter side of preferred ballistic performance today. There was a good reason why the platform, one of the first decent first semi-auto pocket pistols, was used by such cloak and dagger folks as the OSS and slipped into the jacket and field table of many a general concerned about their hide.

Iconic as a pulp-era handgun, the Colt was a favorite in B&W Noir films— Bogart carried one in no less than five films: The Desperate Hours, Key Largo, The Big Sleep, Casablanca, and Torture Ship.

A side view of Rick’s (Humphrey Bogart) Colt 1903 as he holds it on Capt. Renault (Claude Rains) via IMFDB

So naturally, when I came across an intact and original early model gun, I had to pick it up to scratch that itch.

The example I lucked into dates from 1911. Importantly, it hasn’t been reblued. The front sight isn’t banged flat. The first-gen hard rubber factory grips are intact. You can still read all the roll marks without a loupe. The magazine is in great shape.

I stripped it down completely and all the internals look OK and are in surprisingly good condition other than the recoil spring being a little relaxed.

Every now and then you have to treat yourself, right?

Happy Valentines Day: A Colt .25 Pocket, slightly out of

“Safety first” is the motto of Miss Mary Jayne of *Keith’s circuit:

LOC LC-USZ62-96956

LOC LC-USZ62-96956

The original caption seems to be centered around escaping the Sullivan Act of New York City back in the Roaring 20s’

“Mary Jayne seated in rocking chair with pistol strapped to her knee, claiming exemption from concealed weapon regulation by saying her thirty-two isn’t a concealed weapon in these days of knee-length skirts.”

Dated 1922 Feb. 14.

The below image, also via the LOC, shows the same young lady, now with the pistol– which looks more like a Model 1908 Colt Pocket Hammerless in .25ACP– in an ill-fitting holster, to which she appears less than impressed.

colt-32-on-the-leg-of-one-miss-mary-jayne-vaudville-performer-in-1922

*The “Keith Circuit” was a chain of vaudeville theaters in the United States and Canada owned by Benjamin Franklin Keith that was extremely popular in the 1920s.

The classic Colt 1903, a forgotten hammerless

In the early 1900s, John Browning was perhaps the most prolific and most ground breaking firearms engineer of the day. As it turned out, he produced an all-steel, 24-ounce, 9-shot pocket pistol whose design is still very relevant today.

John Moses Browning, the famous Utah gun genius, spent most of his formative years selling his designs to big name firearms makers to include Winchester. By 1900, he started a long relationship with Colt Firearms of Connecticut, which included such guns as the Model 1900, M1902 and the legendary 1911. These handguns however were large framed firearms for field service in the military. For home defense and use by police and detective bureaus, the company wanted something smaller than the 37-ounce M1902 with its 6-inch barrel. That’s where Browning came in at again.

Welcome to the world of the Colt 1903 Hammerless.

Welcome to the world of the Colt 1903 Hammerless.

Read the rest in my column at Firearms Talk