Friday, March 06, 2009

Colt Model M

more commonly known as the Pocket Hammerless. It was primarily made in .32acp, but was also produced for a few years in .380. It- and the cartridges- are more of the creations of John Moses Browning(pbuh), and it shows.

A friend picked this up a while back, and today was the day to try it out. I'd never fired one before and wasn't sure what to expect of it. Well, I expected the sights; like all pocket pistols of the time(and a lot of holster guns) they consist of a tiny front blade and a rear with a tiny slot. In dim light, unless you have perfect eyes, they're useless; at the range today, with low lighting, the front would've been invisible without the dab of orange paint the owner had applied. Controls consist of a safety lever on the left side of the frame, a grip safety that pivots at the bottom, and a mag release located on the grip heel. The latter holds an 8-round single-stack magazine.

It's called 'hammerless', but like a lot of pistols that just means the hammer is internal so it can't snag on a pocket or purse when you need it in a hurry.

I was surprised at how well it shot; clean, light trigger and a design that pointed very well. As evidence, this target shot at about 12 feet(someday I'll put a tape measure in the bag). I'll add a picture of the target later; for now let's just say I was very impressed with it. Even with the lousy sights, it points so well it was easy to place them nicely together. Recoil was almost non-existent, fast repeat shots easy.

When it came time to clean it, here's where more of the wonder of Browning's design becomes obvious. See this arrow and line at the bottom right?(couldn't zoom enough for a better image)

After you drop the mag and clear the action, you pull the slide back so the line is right at- in this case just inside- the front of the frame and turn the barrel counter-clockwise until it stops, then the whole upper slides off the frame.

Turn the barrel back to original position and it pulls out of the slide. That's it. The owner tells me all you need to detail strip it is something to push some pins out; the only screw in it is the one holding the grips.

Another friend has one in .380 he picked up a few years back in lousy condition and restored; it's his carry pistol. Now I know why.

I'm further convinced that JMB was a real genius of design. I'm also convinced of something about this remake of the beast; C&S fed some steroids to make them big and chambered them in .45acp; and I want one. Except with better sights.

Ok, James has a range day with one here, too.

Ok, that didn't take too long; here's the target
The silhouette is about 2' tall. That cluster in & around the 'X' is four magazines, 32 rounds. There are three on-around the upper '8' that were aimed, the others around it were hip-shots; yes, I'm out of practice on that.


James R. Rummel said...

Good post, and thank you kindly for the link!


Tam said...

I have a brace of Type I 1903's, one dating to 1904 and the other to 1905. I love those little pistols.

The 1905-vintage one is too pretty to shoot, really. Heck, I don't even like to touch it too much, as that old Colt's high-polish bluing is pretty fragile. It still has that lovely fire-blue color to the trigger, pins, and safety, too.

The older gun has worn to a dull gray patina, and I've shot the bejayzus out of that gun, and it's my favorite "toss it in the back pocket around the house & yard" pistol. Never a hiccup from FMJ's, Silvertips, or Gold Dots over hundreds and hundreds of rounds. Shoots like a house a-fire, right where you point it.

Not bad for a gun that was made when the first Roosevelt was still in office...

Firehand said...

James, you're welcome.

Dammit, Tam, don't tell me things like that! I already want one.

In each cartridge, of course.

Robert said...

I've got the .380 and the .32. Just as everyone described them. Ought to be still made.
The .380 has been a carry gun a lot. Perfect for camera bag. My 32 is really beat-to-shit. Still runs though.
Saw them for around the 600.00 mark at an Obama-era gun show last weekend. For that price i would rather have a glock .45 but I'm not sure why....

GunGeek said...

The design is fantastic, but until you figure out just how that turning the barrel thing works they are a royal pain to dis/re-assemble.

I highly recommend that anyone with one of these go to and download the pdf of the owner's manual. It even tells you how to take the barrel out without removing the slide.

I used to own of these. It belonged to my father and his father before that. When my eldest son turned 21, it became his gun.

They still call to me every time I see one. What with the whole rimlock issue with 32 ammo, I'd really LOVE to get one in 380.