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Thursday, 22 September 2016

Colt Model 1903 .32ACP Pistol - Bonnie & Clyde Liked It:

Way back in the murky past - 86 years ago, Bonnie Parker taped one of these pocket pistols to her thigh and smuggled it into prison to bust Clyde Barrow out.
Bonnie & Clyde Original Colt .32"

On March 11 1930 Clyde used it to escape - but he was recaptured after only one week.

Colt Model M-1903 .32ACP - Can you see Bonnie's sticky-leg Tape Residue?
(- Don't Look for too Long.)

The 'Pocket Hammerless' .32 was a very popular design and when Colts stopped production at the end of WWII they had worn-out the production machinery by making over a million of them in the three calibers - 32", .380", and .25"ACP.
"Rimless? -  Hammerless?"
- But Very Popular in its Day.

These pistols were described by the marketing men using typically 'near-enough' claims as the "Pocket Hammerless" - it is in fact internal hammer fired - and the legend 'CALIBRE 32 RIMLESS SMOKELESS' that appears on the R/H of the slide is also wrong - as the 32"ACP round has in fact a ten thou. rim - being a semi-rimless cartridge that can also be used in .32" S&W caliber revolvers.
This round, the .32"ACP is also known as the 32 Auto, the 32 Browning, the 7.65 Browning, the 7.65x17, and the 7.65 Walther. - The wide variety of names reflects its worldwide use by Law Enforcement & the Military for around a century - Issued to US Officers - including OSS Officers in WWII. - The 32 ACP is also the most common round used in veterinary 'Humane Killers'.

- Mind you, the slide markings also reads "Colt Automatic" at the ejection port. - fact enough for a Colt salesman? - The use of such inaccurate & deliberately misleading descriptions is what is known in the selling game as 'MARKETING TOOLS'.. which is another name for artifice or lies.
An Early Advert.

Some 572,215 of the .32"s were made commercially( - plus maybe 1M for military use) - including sales to the New York State Police and had  Al Capone  & Dillinger plus other gangsters as happy customers for this take anywhere pocket pistol.
(- The .32"s sold five times more units than the .380" Model 1908s).

The .32 ACP cartridge with its maximum internal pressure set by SAAMI at 20,500 psi - manages to effectively throw a 71 grain FMJ pill at around 900 feet per second - but most modern loadings are considerably less potent.

While there are still many of these old steel built collectible 'classics' around - they continue so well liked that Colts last year licensed US Armaments to build some 3,500 more new guns of this early John Browning design. These are the Type 2 iteration with a separate barrel bushing - but without a magazine disconnect & are fitted with wooden grips and a "gold" Colt medallion.
New Model Colt M-1903 Pocket Hammerless
- Premium-Priced at US$1,395

I wonder what Colts makers will do with their new tooling after that costly limited run is completed? - Can I smell a .380 ACP" version? - Are these new guns machined from steel bar-stock like the originals - or do they use castings?

My original antique Colt "thirty-two" - was built in 1914 - I can still see how fine the original fit and finish were back then. It doesn't go to the range - as with its 3.75" barrel it is registered to my non-firing 'C' endorsement. - Missed by quarter of an inch! - I do recall being assured that size doesn't matter - but it's what you do with it that counts.
Colt Pocket Hammerless .32 ACP  With a Glock 17 9mm

- The first few years production Model 1903 actually had four inch barrels. - The one obvious problem is those minuscule sights - I can feel them - but I really can hardly see them at all - never mind use them for alignment! - Ah, the M-1903 'Pocket Hammerless' also has a grip safety and the old style magazine catch at the 'heel' of the grips.
A "Gentleman's Arm" - A pity I'm not a 'gentleman' eh
"Seven Shots A Second" - What, with those Sights?

 - Perhaps I should reconsider the Clunky Colt 1911 ... Naah!

Marty K.
Hi Marty
 These pistols were standard issue for the NZ Police until just after WW2 (when they were replaced by .38 S&W Victory model revolvers), and one of the Colts was used in 1941 by Stan Graham after he took it off one of his Police victims (Sgt. Best I assume).  They were also widely sold in NZ until the 1921 Arms Act came into force.  The gun was only made in .32 ACP and .380 ACP.  The .25 ACP was a very much smaller pistol, although similar in basic design.

The similar 7.65mm M1910 FN Browning pistol (a true hammerless design) also saw widespread use in NZ (wholesaled and retailed by McCarthy’s in Dunedin) and was the pistol carried by the Armoured Freightways cash escorts up until about 1980 when the banks and cash escorts were disarmed.  I used to train the Armoured Freightways staff every 6 months during the 1970’s and loaded practice ammo for them using ..308 100 grain Speer Plinkers.  Their good factory ammo was saved for carry use.