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Old September 30, 2012, 11:18 AM   #1
Sid
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1903 Colt as a concealed carry pistol

I am a very senior citizen. For years I have had a Keltec P 32 as my carry weapon. However, old age and arthritis in my hands has weakened them so much that it is difficult to shoot this double action pistol accurately. However, I can shoot very well with my single action 1903 Colt. Although it is bulkier and heavier I can still fit it in the pocket of my jeans.

I would like to hear from people experienced with this Colt if there are any problems that I may encounter as a result of this decision.
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Old September 30, 2012, 03:00 PM   #2
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I carry mine occasionally, but do so with an empty chamber; that's not ideal, but I'm a lefty, and the safety isn't very handy. If you are going to carry cocked 'n' locked, with a round in the chamber, I'd definitely get a pocket holster. I suppose the combination of thumb safety and grip safety should be "safe enough", but I still would prefer a holster to keep the gun oriented in the pocket, and protect the thumb safety.
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Old September 30, 2012, 04:11 PM   #3
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Well, it was designed for that purpose and was extremely popular for decades, so I don't really see why it wouldn't work just as well as it always has. I would, however, make sure to get a holster that completely covers the trigger guard since it is a single action pistol.
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Old September 30, 2012, 04:23 PM   #4
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Holster is a must have/use. Pocket carry with pistol on cock and lock with out a holster to cover trigger and safety is looking for a Darwin award. And I personally think a defensive pistol with an empty chamber is useless, draw, cycle round into chamber and try to aim and fire before it's to late. Man you are already in trouble if you have to draw you weapon, why handicap your self by drawing what is in effect an unloaded weapon?
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Old September 30, 2012, 08:24 PM   #5
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Well, I wouldn't personally carry mine, but my grandfather did for a lot of years, illegally, most likely. Don't see a real reason not to as long as you are proficient with it. If it's a better solution than your P32, I'd say go for it.

BTW, I've got a P32 as well. It's my BUG and always gun.
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Old September 30, 2012, 10:23 PM   #6
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You say you shoot very well with it? Well that is the most important thing, so carry it
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Old September 30, 2012, 10:32 PM   #7
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I can't do pocket carry.

It is super convenient.

I just cannot stand the thought of sitting across from someone at a restaurant w a loaded pistol pointed at them even if in a proper holster even with a safety.

So then I'd be apt to carry without a round in the chamber but agree that this is less than ideal.

So Colt 1903 is super cool but I'm not pocket carrying until I can get a Kevlar holster.
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Old September 30, 2012, 11:18 PM   #8
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For many years, my dad had a pharmacy in a small town in Maryland. It was not unusual for him to get an occasional late-night phone call from a patient asking him to come open the store and fill a prescription on an emergency basis. He was glad to do so, but he always did two things first: a) he called the local MSP barracks to ask a trooper to drive by and check on him at the store (which they were glad to do, BTW), and b) he got his 1903 out of the nightstand drawer to take with him. According to Dad, the troopers knew he had the gun and never gave him any grief whatsoever. He carried it in his jacket pocket at first, but one of his friends gave him a belt holster for it (when I was about 7 years old, IIRC) and he used that thereafter. I have also occasionally carried it myself, in that very holster, when needed.

In any event, he had a lot of confidence in that 1903, and he shot (and still shoots) it fairly well. Per the serial #, it was made in 1915, and it's a little beat up cosmetically, but I doubt we'll ever get it refinished. Mechanically, it is in superb condition and has never failed to feed, fire, or eject. I hope I'll be in that kind of shape if I make it to age 97!

To the OP, my suggestion is that you do get a holster for your 1903, and keep right on carrying that handy little piece.
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Old October 1, 2012, 12:11 AM   #9
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I'm a fan of the Cold Pocket Autos. The grip safety is overdesigned for the task. My .380 shoots well and my .32 barely moves under recoil. I need to score an extra mag for the .32.

Downsides? Magazines and parts, if you need them. Heavy for what it its. Most .32s seem to have pretty dark bores (we need to twist some barrel makers arm to make a run of .32 and .380 barrels). I struggle to see the stock sights and I'm under 50.

I built a custom 1903 for a customer back in the early 90's that had the sights off a 5" Series 80, beveled the mag well, and checkered it. Nice little carry gun for its owner.
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Old October 1, 2012, 12:31 AM   #10
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The Browning designed M1903 has both a manual safety and a grip safety (later ones also have a magazine safety), so it's a pretty safe weapon. However, there is nothing that blocks the firing pin, so while it probably will not go off if mishandled, in the event of a parts failure, it could unintentionally fire.

I think the chances of that are vanishingly rare, but something to consider when it's in your pocket pointed at the family jewels...

Additional issues are whether it is reliable with modern JHP ammo: You should test fire your desired carry load extensively. Also, an older gun could be damaged with extensive use of more powerful "+P" type ammo.

I have a M1910 Browning that I used to carry quite a bit, and never had any problems.
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Old October 1, 2012, 01:55 AM   #11
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Wasn't it an LA police officer several years back who dropped his 1903/1908 and it went off killing him. Dang shame.

It is a fine weapon, but as others have pointed out, not drop safe like the Keltec P32 unfortunately. I put sight paint and a laser on my little P32 to help out with sighting in.

I sure wish they made a drop in kit for these old beauties that made them drop safe. They are top 5 most elegant handguns ever made in my opinion and have class for miles.

Whatever you decide please be safe and we wish you the best!
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Old October 1, 2012, 06:15 AM   #12
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The hammer on the early ones did not have a half cock notch. Sometime around 1922 (I think) the extra notch was added. This was supposed to minimize the risk of firing when dropped. Numrich did have the hammers in stock the last time I checked.

I have both a .32 and .380 and do carry them on occasion.

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Old October 4, 2012, 11:01 AM   #13
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Also, during the time that William E. Fairbairn was a member of the Shanghai Municiple Police department, all of the 1908 Colt .380's were fitted with a screw that prevented the safety from being applied. Thus relying only on the grip safety.

For whatever that may be worth.
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Old October 4, 2012, 11:27 AM   #14
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It does seem that in the past, there was much more interest in ensuring the gun would go bang when you needed it to. Cutting-away trigger guards, wrapping shoelaces around grip safeties, screws to prevent the safety from going ON! Wow, why didn't all those old-timers shoot themselves, and each other, all the time?
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Old October 4, 2012, 03:28 PM   #15
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Think about it, the Glock pistol is probably more dangerous than the old Colt.
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Old October 4, 2012, 05:37 PM   #16
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In some ways, a 1903/1908 Colt could be considered safer than a series 70 1911. This is because the 1903/08 had a fully enclosed hammer which could not be directly struck if the gun were dropped or subjected to other such impact while the external hammer of the 1911 could potentially have the force directly applied to it.
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Old October 4, 2012, 07:21 PM   #17
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I wouldn't hesitate to carry mine if I were in your situation. As long as the safetys are in good working order. It is one of the easiest guns I own to shoot, recoil is non existant, and it points very naturally.
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Old October 4, 2012, 09:02 PM   #18
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It ain't a fast draw proposition, but I often carry mine {Colt 1903} in an ankle rig. Just gives me a warm fuzzy feeling to have it with me when other guns can't be concealed.[IMG][/IMG]
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Old October 5, 2012, 12:43 PM   #19
RickB
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Quote:
while the external hammer of the 1911 could potentially have the force directly applied to it.
How? If the hammer is at full cock, it's protected by the grip safety, and since the 1911 has an inertial firing pin, a blow to an uncocked hammer isn't going to cause any problems, either.
Carrying a loaded gun at half-cock could be an issue, as the hammer would then be exposed to a blow, but "everyone" knows that half-cock is not a safety, and the gun should not be carried that way with a round in the chamber.
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Old October 5, 2012, 12:59 PM   #20
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It is perfectly safe to carry a 1911 on the half cock notch. Drop it on the hammer all you want.
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Old October 5, 2012, 01:13 PM   #21
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Just don't drop it on the hammer!
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Old October 5, 2012, 01:26 PM   #22
mavracer
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Sharpdressed that's a beautiful rig your screen name is fitting.
But how can you put a pocket gun in a ankle holster
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The starter gun on the "Fat man's mad dash tactical retreat."
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Old October 5, 2012, 02:49 PM   #23
Sharpsdressed Man
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It was originally called "The Colt Ankle Model 1903", but they changed the name later as owners were too lazy to reach down that far.
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Old October 5, 2012, 02:58 PM   #24
mavracer
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Learn something new every day
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rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6
Quote:
originally posted my Mike Irwin
My handguns are are for one purpose only, though...
The starter gun on the "Fat man's mad dash tactical retreat."
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Old October 5, 2012, 06:25 PM   #25
Tennessee Jed
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There is a ton of great 1903 info in this thread.

I've got a 1903, and pocket carry it from time to time in a pocket holster I ordered from Simply Rugged. If my choice was either a P-32 or the 1903, I will choose the 1903 every time. Nice capacity, very easy to shoot well, and conceals nicely.

Some day, when I can no longer fire my current carry gun due to arthritis, lowered hand strength, etc., then my 1903 will be my primary carry gun.
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