“On 28 June 1914, Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand visited the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo,” Wikipedia informs. “A group of six assassins . . . gathered on the street where the Archduke’s motorcade would pass. Čabrinović threw a grenade at the car, but missed. It injured some people nearby, and Franz Ferdinand’s convoy could carry on. The other assassins failed to act as the cars drove past them quickly. About an hour later, when Franz Ferdinand was returning from a visit at the Sarajevo Hospital, the convoy took a wrong turn into a street where, by coincidence, Princip stood . . .
Pincip stepped forward and fired two shots from a distance of about one and a half metres (5 feet) using a Belgian-made 9×17mm (.380 ACP) Fabrique Nationale model 1910 semi-automatic pistol. Pistol serial numbers 19074, 19075, 19120 and 19126 were supplied to the assassins; Princip used #19074. According to Albertini, “the first bullet wounded the Archduke in the jugular vein, the second inflicted an abdominal wound on the Duchess.”
And so began the chain of events that led to World War I, 100 years ago today. As for the gun itself, I’ve got the American version: a .32 caliber Colt 1903 Pocket Hammerless. Click here to read my five-star review. (The assassin’s FN Model 1903 pistol was a slightly bigger gun; chambering 9 × 20 mm SR Browning Long cartridge.)
The diminutive 1903 remains one of John Moses Browning’s major (minor?) masterpieces, perfect for carry and ridiculously easy to shoot quickly and accurately. Now that .380 is acceptable, if someone could build a drop-safe modern version of the Colt 1903 in that caliber (later models were so chambered) I reckon it would sell all day long. Or at least the next 100 years.