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