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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I'm considering buying a COLT GOVT 1903 .32ACP pistol. One of the Colt Licensed 1903 "Hammerless" General Officer's Pocket Pistol made by US Armament. I shot one of the originals years ago and loved it. I also like the historical background and the fact that the pistol was carried by some very famous pistoleros including General Patton, John Dillinger and Clyde Barrow. I love the slimness and the fact that there is a grip safety. I'm not crazy about the small caliber or the cost. Over 1300 MSRP, street price around 1180.I have a safe full of larger pistols and don't need this. But I do want it pretty badly. I carry a G41 with a G43 backup on my ankle, I would carry this as a backup to my backup so caliber isn't a deal killer.

Before I pull the trigger I thought I'd ask the forum's thoughts on the weapon and if anyone has one of the new or older models.
 

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What is US Armament? Does this company have any connections to Colt, other than paying Colt a licensing fee to use their name ? If that's the only connection, I would not consider this fire arm a true Colt, no matter what name is put on it even if Colt doesn't mind. I mind !


That being said, as long as you understand that it has no collectors value, and you just want it for its features as a weapon and as a reminder or fascsimile of what a lot of influential Americans carried 100 years ago, then I would consider buying one.

But, as a single action auto, how would you carry it? Chambered, safety on? "Condition One?"
How easy is it for you to flick of the thumb safety off during your draw ?
What are the odds of the thumb safety accident leaving pushed into the fire position As you carry it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm not a collector GS, And I understand it would not have any collector value. This would be strictly a shooter. I'm not entirely sure yet how I'd carry or what condition I'd carry in. A gunsmith friend carries his in a rigid pocket holster with the safety off and a round in the chamber. It has an internal hammer and a grip safety. I think it's not a true single action. I carry Sigs and Glocks because I'm not 100 percent certain of being able to manipulate a safety under duress 100 percent of the time. I'm not so worried about a safety on this one because I'd carry it only as a third gun. The design is over a hundred years old but I think is still unparalleled today for slimness and snag free profile. I think that's why so many famous gunmen over the years have carried it.
Thank you for your thoughts.
 

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I'd just buy a decent old Colt and put it in my collection and carry a smarter backup to the backup.

But then again, instead of a 3rd handgun, I'd take the money I saved and put a decent rifle in my vehicle because if you need 3 guns, you should be using the 2 handguns you already have to get you to your rifle. 2 Glocks are not going to fail at the same time, so just carry extra mags instead.

If you want it just because you want it, then get it. However; from my experience, that does not always make me happy with the purchase after getting it. Sit on the idea a while, and if you still want it, get it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Good advice JiG. I do keep an AMD 65 AK in the vehicle. On the rifles, I have multiple AK, AR's, FN Fals and a precision rifle set up. I had to quit buying more multiples of stuff I liked because I ran out of room in the safe. As a general rule I don't buy stuff I can't somehow use. I thought of buying an original Colt and re-springing it but didn't because of the age. A third gun would be more of insurance if you were disarmed for some reason rather than mechanical failure. Maybe I just want it and am trying to come up with a use for it. I do think it's a beautiful design. Maybe it's time to break one of my own rules. I'll wait a few weeks and see if the urge passes. Sometimes that happens...
 

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Or, as JiG said, buy a real Colt. One made in Hartford, CT.
The Model 1903 was made available in .380 caliber in 1908. Some people call that the "model 1908" but others seem to call it a model 1903 in .380 caliber, because another model 1908 was a tiny "vest pocket" pistol in .25 caliber-- a mouse gun.
But then, there was a Model 1908 "pocket hammerless" that came in both .32 and .380 calibers, and it was about the same size as a 1903 model in .32. Bigger than a mousegun. More like a Glock 42/ 43 in size.
When it comes to calibers, note that there are also ".38 acp" guns out there. Not .380, but ".38" acp. Also called the ".38 Rimless smokeless." The only thing wrong with that caliber is that ammo is hard to find, rather expensive, and doesn't come in defensive hollow-point styles. But if you were to handload for it-- any 115 or 125 grain HP bullet could be pushed to 1000 fps from a .38 Auto, and that's better than you'd get from a .38 special. It's more like a .38 special +P in power factor. Not far from a 9mm Luger either.
Actually, though, it looks like the model 1903's are almost all in .32 caliber. The .380's are rare.
The Colt model 1908's that come in .38 ACP/ .38 Rimless are a larger gun, with a longer barrel, and no grip safety. It's called the "Colt Pocket Hammer" because it's got an external hammer. So you want the "pocket hammerless" model, with an internal hammer and a grip safety. Nearly all those on the market will be .32 caliber. 380's are expensive.

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For what it's worth, my idea of a classic old carry gun would be an "I" frame S&W .32 or .38 S&W (not .38 special) revolver, about 100 years old, with faux ivory or pearl grips. State of the art for armed citizens, bodyguards, private detectives, and plainclothes cops back in the 1920s-1940s.
I'd carry one of those. Sure would.
 

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This is America, you don't need a reason other than "I want it".
 

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Here's a Colt 1903 Hammerless in .380 ACP caliber, asking price $1100.
It looks in pretty good condition for a 95 year old gun. (Built 1922).

http://www.gunbroker.com/item/620593534

I think I'd rather have this .380 caliber original than a reproduction in .32 caliber, even if the U.S. Armament Co. version will be new, with a perfect finish (although a gray parkerized finish-- which I never liked outside of military use. It's just not a finish I associate with fine firearms from a classic period of history.)
 

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To me it's a waste. Novelty wears off.
Shoots like a 22lr but i would rather have a 22lr i can enjoy shooting.
Outside of collecting it has no purpose. Buy a used real colt instead.

So i would pass
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Thanks for the lead, GS. Supposedly US Ordnance will offer later this year a .380 version also. The .380's are known as the 1908 model Colt hammerless. You are correct in that the parkerized finish was what was issued to Army and Air Forces General officers from World War II through the 1970s. They presently offer both the parkerized and a blued version of the .32 caliber. I'd get the blued. If I end up getting the .32 and they offer it later in a .380 I'll get one of those also. From what I understand these are not just any reproductions but are built to the exact specs as supplied by Colt.

These pistols just have so much history involved with them. Generals Eisenhower, Bradley, Marshall, and last but not least Patton were issued them. Al Capone supposedly carried one in his coat pocket and Bonnie used one to break Clyde out of jail after smuggling it into the jail by taping it to her thigh. John Dillinger was carrying one when he was shot outside the Biograph theater and Willie Sutton also carried one. Quite the pedigree.
 

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Thanks for the lead, GS. Supposedly US Ordnance will offer later this year a .380 version also. The .380's are known as the 1908 model Colt hammerless. You are correct in that the parkerized finish was what was issued to Army and Air Forces General officers from World War II through the 1970s. They presently offer both the parkerized and a blued version of the .32 caliber. I'd get the blued. If I end up getting the .32 and they offer it later in a .380 I'll get one of those also. From what I understand these are not just any reproductions but are built to the exact specs as supplied by Colt.

These pistols just have so much history involved with them. Generals Eisenhower, Bradley, Marshall, and last but not least Patton were issued them. Al Capone supposedly carried one in his coat pocket and Bonnie used one to break Clyde out of jail after smuggling it into the jail by taping it to her thigh. John Dillinger was carrying one when he was shot outside the Biograph theater and Willie Sutton also carried one. Quite the pedigree.
Can you show me a picture of Patton with one? Most pics of Patton show very different Colts. Older Colts.

Something like this, I can imagine in Churchill's vest pocket. However; Capone, B&C, etc. ... seems they didn't get too far with them.

I give much more credit to the 3 BAR's that Bonnie and Clyde had with them when they died. They had 7 Colt .45s. They also had 3000 rounds of ammo, plus 100 mags of BAR ammo filled with 20 rds ea. Pea shootin' .32s seemed to be more novelty when one looks objectively at the gang.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
My understanding is that Patton always carried several guns, usually one openly and at least one hidden.
Here's a site with a pic showing him carrying his 1903 Colt pocket hammerless, 4th pic down the page: http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_1_5/1133245_.html&page=1&sr=0

And some more info:

And if I had to choose between a cut down full auto B.A.R. and a .32 pistol I would also obviously choose the B.A.R. also. But Bonnie did break Clyde out of jail with a .32 not a B.A.R. Time and a place for different tools.

And although a small caliber, I'd objectively hate to take 7 in the chest or head at close range, novelty or not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Can you show me a picture of Patton with one? Most pics of Patton show very different Colts. Older Colts.

Something like this, I can imagine in Churchill's vest pocket. However; Capone, B&C, etc. ... seems they didn't get too far with them.

I give much more credit to the 3 BAR's that Bonnie and Clyde had with them when they died. They had 7 Colt .45s. They also had 3000 rounds of ammo, plus 100 mags of BAR ammo filled with 20 rds ea. Pea shootin' .32s seemed to be more novelty when one looks objectively at the gang.
You got most of the info right JiG, according to this source:

http://texashideout.tripod.com/posse.html

Notice the two Colt automatic .32 and .380 pistols.
"The Death Car Inventory"
Three .30 cal. Browning automatic rifles One 20 gauge "sawed-off" shotgun One 10 gauge "sawed-off" shotgun One .32 caliber Colt automatic pistol One .380 caliber Colt automatic pistol One .45 cal. Colt "double action" revolver Seven .45 caliber automatic pistols One-hundred rounds of machinegun clips Three-thousands rounds of ammunitions
 
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