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Kudos to TTAG’s team for their SHOT Show coverage. While I was out and about signing-up exhibitors for the 2015 Texas Firearms Festival Nick, Joe, Jeremy and Dan were providing the Internet’s best SHOT Show reportage. Which is not to say our colleagues didn’t produce some amazing work. brought 12 – count ’em 12 – writers to the Sands. One of the stories they caught that we missed: Colt’s decision to produce a limited run of the world’s coolest carry gun. Yup, Colt’s crafting 2500 1903 pistols. TFB wanted its readers to know that . . .

I should also mention that this will be a very different type of “re-introduction” than befell the Remington Model 51. Curt Wolf, the man running the project, is very much into historical arms, and his new 1903 will be identical to the original 1903 – no polymer, no big modern sights, no change in caliber, etc. That may be a disappointment to some, but it will be a relief to those of us who appreciate the svelte lines and elegant craftsmanship of the Colt 1903.

TFB wonders if Colt will go on to de-limited edition the new old 1903. Let’ just hope the new model is drop-safe.

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  1. It will sell really good. They will stop making them. They’ll be really popular but Colt won’t make them again. Happened with the WWI and WW2 1911 repros.

  2. I’ve come to the conclusion that no one at Colt has any imagination at all. They really need to stop making the same thing over and over and come up with something new. When all the nostalgists(?) pass on they will tank.

    • Some of us nostalgics are still fairly young; I’m still not half way through my 30’s. I have an AR-15; I like my Garand better. I own a Glock 19, now I’m in the market for a classic Government Model 1911. I would totally rock one of these as a carry pistol; so much more class than an LCP or G42.

    • Yeah look how terrible they’ve done with their 1911s but how great they did with their Colt 2000. Oh wait, that’s exactly backwards.

    • The problem seems to be that having a government contract insulated them from their stupidity. They stopped selling the SAA revolvers and Ruger took off with it. They stopped selling the Mustang and Sig took off with it. They stopped selling snake guns and S&W is in a wheel-gun renaissance. Everyone goes striker fired polymer and they make a rotating bot roller block pistol (based on a freaking 1912 Steyr) that fails amazingly. They’ve spent the last 60 years making the opposite choice from what the market demanded.

      Colt will sell every single one of these, then they will probably sell the tooling to Sig or STI for pennies.

      • Sadly, I fear you are absolutely accurate. Which is sad because I love Colt revolvers and my favorite pistol of all time is the Pocket Model 1903 in .32acp (Type 3).

  3. TFB scooped you on the Polish Radon rifle that’s coming this year as well. I’d love to hear more about it from you guys if you have any info.

    • My bet is $1000 – 1500 which is a LOT to pay for a .380. Even so they’ll sell every one they make to speculators who will immediately put them up for sale on Gunbroker at a 100% markup.

  4. This won’t save colt. If they want to stay viable why are they producing a more or less bootique item? It is cool though…

  5. If I were running Colt, I would do three things

    1. Yes, people know Colt for its historical guns. Nothing wrong with making the tried and true (no one whines about Marlin still making lever gun… only that the quality has diminished). So by all means, carry lines of reproductions. Ask people what they want, keep a few classics, run limited editions when there is demand, etc There are a lot more guns on the Colt line that could be reproduced, like the Woodsman that could sell well

    2. But everyone and their brother makes a Single Action revolver and a 1911 style gun. Sure, for some there is something about it being a Colt. Not saying don’t make those. And I understanding Colt failed miserably when they tried their Colt 2000. Here is an idea… you don’t have to make a polymer striker fire gun in order to make a more modern gun. Great that they are introducing a 9mm 1911. Here is a gun I would love. A single action hammer, like the 1911, but with perhaps a disassembly more like the Hi-Power (tool-less for field strip), but improve upon that. Basically a modern SA hammer gun, which would fit with their legacy, but be more than just a fancied up 1911

    3. Stop chasing after military contracts, or at least give equal attention to the private market. Yes that was Colt’s bread and butter from the beginning. But other companies have shown, like Ruger, how powerful the civilian market can be.

  6. Isn’t the .380 called a 1908? Anyway I cherish my 1903 and I would love to have a .380. The TV show “Gun Stories” had an episode on the 1903 and 1908. The host, Joseph Mantegna, lamented that “bringing back the 1908 would be much appreciated”. Maybe Colt was listening.

  7. It is a good idea as Colt will sell all 2500 of them. I hope the “other” good idea they have is to not make it a $2500 pistol. What’s next?
    A Generation 2 “snake” line?

  8. I have a friend who collects 1903’s. If I didn’t already have an original I’d be more insterested myself. I’d rather it in 32 though. I don’t deal with 380 and I dont want to stock a new caliber.

  9. I would, historically speaking, like it better in .32. But then, .380 doesn’t have the rimlock potential of .32, so that is actually better. The price will probably keep me from seriously considering one anyway.

  10. If this old new pistol proves to be a success, Colt will stop making it. If it flops, Colt will make more of them. Because that’s Colt — owned by dunderheads, run by dunderheads, it’s the most poorly managed company in the firearms business.

  11. good for colt. Still though. Colt needs to get back in the game fast. I’m still dumbfounded we are in a time where revolvers have enjoyed a great resurgence and colt sits by and does basically nothing when a new python would sell like crazy. They just always seem to be behind and bring out stuff at the wrong time. Unlike Remington which is just pure shit now colt still makes great guns and at least still have a great reputation. They are just behind and having financial issues. Would love to see them surge back into and to the top of the game. Great little pistol to reintroduce. I would and may buy It. Now let’s see more out of colt

  12. I owned three different Colt handguns in my life time. One was a series 70 1911, one was an Ace 1911 (late production run) and one was an Official Police. Not a single one impressed me, hence, “owned”.

  13. TFB shows the 1903 to be produced as having a phosphate finish. No sale.

    If I’m going to pay up big bucks for a Colt, it had better have the classic Colt blueing job. That’s what I’ll pay for. Phosphate finish? Any semi-literate chimp can parkerize a gun.

    • You’ll be able to get it in royal blue…You’ll just have to shell out the cash to have it sent in and done by Colt’s custom shop, which I feel is a reasonable solution. This way they can make the gun affordable for mere mortals, and more useful for those wanting to carry it to boot.

      • The TFB write up said 500 of the 2500 limited run would replicate Generals’ issued arms. I would guess (hope) that the 500 officers’ pistols are to be parkerized, and the other 2000 would be blued. If so, who can say which will be more affordable? Smaller runs might be more expensive. I agree with DG though, I’d rather have blued.

        If I’m wrong and you do have to have it refinished to get it blued, would you send it to Colt or Doug Turnbull?

        • I tried to edit my post after reading the TFB article, because I noticed the same thing. Looks like 500 will be parkerized. As far as having someone refinish a gun, I think either would do a fantastic job. For me, its more of a decision of how either would effect the value. Hopefully Turnbull’s name is recognisable enough in the business that there wouldn’t be a problem.

        • If I don’t see evidence that Colt has re-staffed their blueing shop, then there’s no point in buying the gun, IMO. I can blue guns. I can make guns look very nice. That’s part of my job.

          The point of offering this gun is that they should be offered in the configuration that the civilian market wants. I see no advantage or desirability to a gun that is phosphate-coated unless it was an actual military issue gun, in the military calibers of that day.

          This is the sort of thing I want, from the Colt factory, with a blue job done by the Colt shop, as this piece would have been done:

          I don’t want a slipshod, half-assed blue job. I want the blue job that Colt used to be known for. If they can’t do that, then they should not pretend that they’re making the guns again.

        • That’s fair DG, but I think we both know that will never happen. Their custom shop royal blue does look pretty, however. Personally, I’d like one in electroless nickel.

  14. RF, you always hammer the 1903 for not being drop safe. You do realize there was a half cock position added during production to address the issue, right? After that it became as drop safe as the 1911. So enough on the issue, and stop keeping it from carrying yours.

    • Eh? How would you put the 1903/1908 hammer in a half cock position for carry? not being smart, I’ve never fired one before.

    • The 1903 has a fully enclosed hammer. I’ve never been aware of a method to half cock one. I’m willing to learn. Please explain.

      • It gives the hammer a place to stop if you drop it on the butt of the gun. It’s still not drop safe from firing pin inertia, but that’s not nearly as dangerous, as the gun has to hit on the muzzle, or thereabouts, for it to fire.

        • P.S. The change is documented to have been made in 1922. However, I have a 1921 model that has the half cock notch. Its easy to check…just pull the slide off and see if the hammer will half cock.

        • Ah, thanks for clearing that up. So in the event the hammer falls from the sear, it is caught by the second notch. In no way is it a position that can be manually achieved for carry, such as with SA pistols and lever action rifles having exposed hammers.

        • Exactly. It was probably the guns made before this point that led to their reputation to be unsafe to carry with a round in the chamber. The fact that it’s a “pocket” model and carried without a holster, or in a holster with an open top (unlike most 1911 holsters that have a strap) aggravated the situation. Because if you bend over with a pistol carried in that manner, it’s likely to flip out of your pocket, and land on its back, facing you. A bad situation indeed. The half cock hammer and a retention strap rectify the issue to my satisfaction. Opinions on this may vary, but it’s at least unfair to bring it up anytime a 1903 is mentioned and not when a pre series 80 1911 is brought up, because after the revision, they operated in the exact same manner.

  15. I’d like to see them produce the 1911 in this style, like the custom model produced by Cylinder & Slide. Looked very slick as a smoothed and dehorned hammerless model…

  16. You know, looking at the paucity of nice guns in the SHOT show coverage here and on other blogs, I think TTAG should use their Texas home court advantage and take in the Dallas SCI show next January. You could also wander over to the ACGG show at the same time.

    Then you could see some seriously nice guns.

  17. Nice gun, I would love to buy a new 1903 if they were in the $650 range…but we all know that it will cost 2 or 2 1/2 times that.

    Colt needs to get its collective head out of its ass. They are more expensive than mass competitors and not as good as some of the high end niche competitors. Their market timing is awful. And Colt hasn’t come up with any new ideas in a long time, and other companies are making a killing from copying Colt’s old ideas. (Sig P238, for example).

  18. My only concern is if they change the design to be “drop safe” will that negate the classic value of the gun?

    Furthermore, if they stick to the original blueprint, they can also sell COLT PARTS to original 1903 owners, to compete with Numrich Gun Parts Corp — and honestly, that’s where the money is.

    If you buy a complete pistol, it’s one price.

    If you purchase every single part yourself and assemble it yourself, it will cost close to double. (Kind of like a car).

    So, this may be a way for Colt to get back into the parts business for the Pocket Model 1903, which was one of Colt’s most prolific and long-lived handgun product lines in their history.

    And I’m all for it.

    Now get to manufacturing, Colt! Then shut up and TAKE MY MONEY!!!

  19. Colt Python! I will buy at least three of them! Nickel, high-polish stainless and Blued!
    Also, vary the barrel length and I’ll buy three more!

  20. I will dare to suggest the Zastava Arms 9mm Tokarev . Similar looks, a more powerful
    caliber, newer design, and probably MUCH cheaper.


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