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Colt Model 1903 (Pocket Hammerless) Semi-Automatic Pistol (1903)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 5/10/2013

The Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless was yet another firearm design by famed American gunsmith John Browning

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The Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless (or M1903) was a semi-automatic pistol from the long line of firearms developed by fabled American gunsmith John Browning. This particular pistol found its way into the homes of civilian users as well as organized crime members while also becoming the standard sidearm of United States officers for a time. The Colt Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company of Hartford, Connecticut was responsible for manufacture of the weapon.

The Model 1903 made use of a single-action blowback firing action. It utilized .32 ACP caliber ammunition in an 8-round detachable box magazine. Weight was 33 ounces while the length measured in at 205mm with 127mm of this dedicated to the barrel. The gun was given a manual safety as well as a grip safety. Sites consisted of a fixed front and a rear adjustable.

The Colt Model 1908 Pocket Hammerless became a variant of the Model 1903 and appeared beginning in 1908. The new model chambered the .380 ACP cartridge. The .380 ACP cartridge was a rimless cartridge design also from John Browning with production beginning in 1908 under the Colt Manufacturing Company brand. The Model 1908 made use of a 7-round detachable box magazine, this being one of the major variations between the M1903 and the M1908, while the new pistol also sported a different bore diameter.

Production of the M1903 and M1908 pistols ran until 1945 to which some 570,000 examples were placed into circulation. US General George S. Patton kept a Model 1908 - one of the many American wartime heroes of World War 2 - appropriately starred with his current rank along the grip.

Despite the name of Pocket "Hammerless" assigned to the series, the M1903 and M1908 both indeed made use of a hammer in their function. The hammer was unseen, however, as it lay under the slide component.

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Specifications for the
Colt Model 1903 (Pocket Hammerless)
Semi-Automatic Pistol


Country of Origin: United States
Manufacturer: Colt Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company - USA
Initial Year of Service: 1903


Overall Length: 178mm (7.01in)
Barrel Length: 102.00mm (4.02in)
Weight (Empty): 1.46lbs (0.66kg)


Caliber: .32 ACP
Action: Single-Action; Blowback
Feed: 8-round detachable box magazine
Sights: Adjustable Rear; Fixed Front


Variants:
M1903 - .32 ACP cartridge; 8-round capacity


M1908 - .380 ACP cartridge; 7-round capacity


Operators:
United States