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Colt Model 1903 (Pocket Hammerless)

Semi-Automatic Pistol [ 1903 ]

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

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 09/27/2016 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

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.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


Service Year

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United States


Semi-Automatic Pistol

Colt Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company - USA
(View other Arms-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of the United States United States
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Pistol / Sidearm
Compact design for close-quarters work or general self-defense.

Overall Length
178 mm
7.01 in
Barrel Length
102 mm
4.02 in
Empty Wgt
1.46 lb
0.66 kg

Adjustable Rear; Fixed Front


Single-Action; Blowback

Blowback Operation
Gas pressure from the rearward movement of the ignited cartridge case provides the needed bolt movement, ejecting the spent case and stripping a fresh case from the magazine.
(Material presented above is for historical and entertainment value and should not be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation - always consult official manufacturer sources for such information)


.32 ACP

Rounds / Feed

8-round detachable box magazine
Cartridge relative size chart
*May not represent an exhuastive list; calibers are model-specific dependent, always consult official manufacturer sources.
**Graphics not to actual size; not all cartridges may be represented visually; graphics intended for general reference only.
M1903 - .32 ACP cartridge; 8-round capacity
M1908 - .380 ACP cartridge; 7-round capacity

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Image of the Colt Model 1903 (Pocket Hammerless)


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