We begin this series with a 1903 Colt Automatic .32 Hammerless Pistol owned by Steven Michael Fusco, proprietor of Estates Unlimited, Inc. in Cranston, R.I. Mr. Fusco showed me this beautifully preserved piece—which he uses for personal protection—after I had surveyed about a dozen handguns forming part of a forthcoming estate sale. While my pal (and TTAG reader) Denis Devona and I had taken a shine to a titanium .38 Smith & Wesson MP 340 Airlite, the thoroughbred Colt made the S&W look like a bit of a nag. Mr. Fusco was kind enough to share the original ad copy for the weapon, of which I’ll share with you apres le jump (which also rewards you with another pic). Oh, BTW, Mr. F. has another one. Not that it’s for sale or anything . . .

The action of the this pistol is automatic except that the trigger must be pulled to fire each shot (it is impossible to fire all the shots by pulling trigger [sic] only once), the cartridges being supplied from a detachable magazine inserted into the handle of the pistol. After the pistol is charged with a filled magazine, one opening movement is made by hand, bringing the fist cartridge into the chamber. On pulling the trigger the cartridge is fired, the empty shell extracted, and a new cartridge loaded into the chamber, all these operations taking place automatically without any manipulating of the Arm. This automatic operation of the pistol is effected by the recoil of the moving parts, and as a consequence the recoil is absorbed in being utilized that is has no disturbing effect. The first shot can be discharged with great rapidity as this pistol can be carried while the hammer is in full cock.

2 Responses to Reader’s Gun: 1903 Colt Automatic Pistol

  1. Interesting gun. My Grandma kept a country store in rural W Va from 1932 until the mid 1950s, and was never held up. She wore an apron that went over her head and tied around her waist, with two big pockets in front. One held her funds, the other the pistol

    It was a .32 automatic, and she emptied it most Sunday afternoons after church, and reloaded it before work the next morning. I can’t remember if it was a Colt – I’ll ask my cousin, he still has it.

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