View Full Version : Colt Automatic 1903 Hammerless 380.

October 31, 2005, 08:23 PM
I am having a hard time finding any info on this gun. It seems that there are lots of 1903 .32s but no .380s. Any info would be appreciated. Thanks.

Jim Watson
October 31, 2005, 08:26 PM
.380 is the model of 1908. (As was the .25.)

October 31, 2005, 08:35 PM
I thought I had a 1908 until I looked closer. One side of the slide is marked "calibre .380 hammerless" and the other side has a patent date of Apr. 20 1897. Dec. 22, 1903. From the pictures I have seen the pattern of the writing is the same as the 1903 .32s. ???

October 31, 2005, 08:37 PM
I own a hammerless Colt .380 model 1908. It is an excellent, very compact autoloader, although the sights -- for me -- are fairly inadequate for anything but close ranges (<15 yards). Colt's web site may still have some historical and design information re the model 1908. FYI, it is a pre-1911 Browning design. Mine was manufactured in the late 1930s or very early 1940s.

October 31, 2005, 09:09 PM
Upper center of the page is a drop down window. Click on "1908 Pocket Hammerless .380" Lots of info.

November 1, 2005, 03:40 AM
That's just it. I don't think it is a 1908. It has all the marking style of the 1903s and is marked 1903, but it is a .380. I didn't think they made .380s in 03? I'll take some pictures.

November 1, 2005, 08:02 AM
The 1908 is the same as the 1903, just in .380. Mine has the same patent dates stamped on it as yours but mine was made in 1921. Can't go by patent dates to determine model. There are some collectors who say there really is no such thing as a 1908. All Colt did was make the 1903 available in 2 different calibers.

November 1, 2005, 09:43 AM
It's actually a Colt Model "M" as is the .32. The 1903 and 1908 designations came from when they were first introduced. ( Model 1908 .25 Auto is the Model "N")


November 1, 2005, 10:18 AM
Interesting. Thanks for clearing that up for me guys.

November 1, 2005, 12:37 PM
These little pistols were actually still on issue in the army as general officer's pistols when I was in the army, which has been a while now. We had two in our arms rooms but I don't know if they were .32 or .380. I believe the army used both.

November 1, 2005, 03:54 PM
Patten used to pack one, amoung others of course including a single action Colt .45.

November 1, 2005, 04:16 PM
If both the dates are patent dates, how can you tell when it was made?

November 1, 2005, 09:05 PM
By the serial number and a Colt production list. You will need to find someone that has a list or you can post the number (You don't need to reveal the whole number i.e. 123,4xx will do) here on the forum and somebody may look it up for you.


November 1, 2005, 09:24 PM
Thanks Dean. I appreciate the info. If there is someone out there who could look up the date for me that would be really great. The number is
604xx. Thanks in advance.

November 1, 2005, 11:16 PM
"how can you tell when it was made?"

By going to the website I posted.

November 2, 2005, 09:26 AM
Great Site ! Now I don't have to buy a Colt Auto Reference book for my library.


November 2, 2005, 09:29 AM
Yup, and they've got some pretty looking guns on there too.

James K
November 3, 2005, 02:25 PM
One reason to consider the .32ACP and the .380ACP as different models is that Colt serial numbered them in separate series.

Per Wilson, 1908 .380ACP number 604xx was made in 1922.