Colt Pocket Hammerless
Colt Model 1908 Pocket Hamerless AdamsGuns 1783
Pocket Hammerless in .380 ACP Caliber
Type Semi-automatic pistol
Place of origin United States
Production history
Designer John Browning
Manufacturer Colt Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company of Hartford, Connecticut
Produced 1903–45
Variants M1903, M1908 (Types 1-5)
Weight 24 oz (Bad rounding hereScript error g)
Length 7 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm) (Type I)</br>6.75 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm) (Types 2 - 5)
Barrel length 4 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm) (Type I)</br>3.75 in (Bad rounding hereScript error mm) (Types 2 - 5)

Cartridge .32 ACP (M1903)
.380 ACP (M1908)
Action single-action Blowback
Feed system 8-round detachable box magazine (M1903)
7-round detachable box magazine (M1908)
Sights fixed front, rear drift-adjustable for windage

The Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless is .32 ACP caliber, self-loading, semi-automatic pistol designed by John Browning and built by Colt Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company of Hartford, Connecticut. The Colt Model 1908 Pocket Hammerless is a variant introduced five years later in .380 ACP caliber.

These pistols were popular civilian firearms for much of their life, and also served as United States General Officer pistols from the 1940s until their replacement by the M15 General Officers pistol in the 1970s. The Office of Strategic Services issued the Model 1903 to its officers during World War II.

In addition to lawful owners, many gangsters of the pre-World War II era favored the Model 1903 and Model 1908 because they were relatively small and easily concealed. It is said that Al Capone kept one in his coat pocket and Bonnie Parker used one to break Clyde Barrow out of jail after smuggling it into the jail by taping it to her thigh.

Note: There was also a Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammer pistol in .38 ACP, but this design is unrelated. The FN Model 1903 pistol design is related to the Colt Pocket Hammerless, but it is physically larger due to its chambering in 9 x 20 mm SR Browning Long cartridge.


Approximately 570,000 Colt Pocket Hammerless pistols were produced from 1903 to 1945, in five different types (see Variants paragraph below). Some were issued to US Army and US Air Force general officers from World War II through the 1970s. They were replaced in 1972 with the RIA Colt M15 General Officer's Model, a compact version of the M1911A1.

General Officer's ModelsEdit

General Officer models were often engraved with the officer's name. Recipients included Generals Eisenhower, Bradley, Marshall, and Patton. Patton's Model 1908 was embellished with three (later four) stars on the grip panels to denote his rank. They were issued with a fine-grade leather holster, leather pistol belt with gold-metal clasp, rope pistol lanyard with gold-metal fittings, and leather two-pocket ammunition pouch with gold-metal fasteners. They came in russet or black leather (depending on service and regulations) and were made by ALPCO (Atchison Leather Products) or Hickock. A cleaning rod and two spare magazines were also included.


Colt 1903 right side

Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless.


Colt Model 1908 Pocket Hammerless .380 ACP.

Special features include a serrated slide to prevent slippage during manual cycling of the slide, and two safety mechanisms (a grip safety and a manual safety). A magazine safety was added on later models; this feature prevents the pistol from being fired with a round in the chamber and the magazine removed. Despite the title 'Hammerless', the Model 1903 does have a hammer, but it is hidden from view by the gun's slide. In 1908, a .380 ACP version of this gun was introduced. Called the Model 1908, it was nearly identical to the Model 1903 except for the bore diameter and the magazine, which held seven rounds (one less than the Model 1903).

Grip panels were black checked hard rubber, checked walnut, or special order materials (ivory, mother of pearl, inset medallion).

Sights were fixed, although the rear sight was drift-adjustable for windage.

Metal finish was blued or nickel, and some special-order finishes such as engraved, silver or gold plated.

Specifications Edit

  • Calibers:
  • Weight (unloaded): 640 g
  • Length: 205 mm
  • Barrel length: 127 mm
  • Capacity:
    • 8 rounds (.32 ACP)
    • 7 Rounds (.380 ACP)


  • Type I: separate barrel bushing, 4 inch barrel, no magazine safety, Serial numbers 1 through 71,999
  • Type II: separate barrel bushing, 3 3/4 inch barrel; 1908–1910, SN 72,000 through 105,050
  • Type III: integrated barrel bushing, 3 3/4 inch barrel; 1910–1926, SN 105,051 through 468,789
  • Type IV: integrated barrel bushing, 3 3/4 inch barrel, magazine safety
  • Type V: integrated barrel bushing, 3 3/4 inch barrel, military sights, magazine safety on both commercial and "U.S. Property" variations. SN 468,097 through 554,446.

There was also an M1903 version with a military Parkerized finish, which is otherwise the same as the Model IV, SN 554,447 through 572,214.

  • Police marked variations.

References Edit


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External linksEdit

[[Category:Anti-communist forces weapons

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