Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pocket pistols...

Comparing John Moses Browning's two most successful .32 caliber pocket pistol designs is like night and day.

The Colt 1903, save for its simpler blowback method of operation, is very like a scaled down version of one of his larger, short recoil-operated pistols. It has a familiar arrangement of hammer, sear, and disconnector, operated by a sliding trigger, all of them, along with the grip safety, tensioned by a three-fingered spring.

The FN 1910, on the other hand, is a scaled-up FN 1906 Vest Pocket .25, all the way down to its pivoting trigger and coil-spring-powered striker. Despite having handled and fired numerous 1910's before, I had never really noticed that, probably because at the time I didn't have a lot of hands-on experience with the smaller .25's.

The strange part is that the Colt Pocket Hammerless, despite being the physically larger of the two, feels a lot smaller in the hand. The grip feels much slimmer, and the whole gun has a rounded, "bar-of-soap" feeling that makes it so amenable to being slipped into a topcoat pocket. The FN 1910, meanwhile, actually feels bigger than it is; the squared-off grip has a chunky, hand-filling feeling that reminds one that this gun was far more likely to end up in official flap holsters than in civilian coat pockets.

On the other hand, holding a 1910, you now know the answer to "What gun for Archdukes?"

I need to get them side-by-side on the range...

13 comments:

Caleb said...

Don't you have a blog called the Arms Room for stuff like that?

;)

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Arms Room?! YAY! I LOVE Arms Room stuff!

Frank W. James said...

Since I've owned both during my 'career' I contribute that I think the best of the pair is the 1903 Colt by a wide margin. In fact, I wish my gunsmith buddy would get my repaired so I could use it on a daily basis.

Even better, I've tried to convince certain Colt reps to bring the darn thing back. The 1903 Hammerless is simply a WONDERFUL little pistol. Who cares if it's a pea-shooter?

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Anonymous said...

"What gun for Archdukes?"

Pffft, show me an archduke!

Shootin' Buddy

Steve Skubinna said...

I have my grandfather's Colt Vest Pocket .25, and it is a little jewel. By far my favorite gun to strip and reassemble.

Mind you, I'd never shoot anyone with it, because if you shoot somebody with a .25, and he finds out about it, he's likely to become very angry with you.

Sigivald said...

.32 is a little light for Archduke.

Now, .44 Russian, that's an Archduke round...

Anonymous said...

Given the lack of modern Archdukes - they may even be extinct - the .32 must have been effective enough.

My cubicle buddy is muttering about "climate change" I suppose that could do it too.

Antropogenic Political Climate Chnage, sudden onset after a tipping point.

Anonymous said...

"the Colt Pocket Hammerless, despite being the physically larger of the two, feels a lot smaller in the hand".

Or maybe you just have man hands..

Kristopher said...

Political anthropogenic climate change is real ... I have proof!

staghounds said...

No, .44 Russian for GRAND Dukes.

100% of Archduke (and Archduke wife) kills on record were made with 7.65 Browning 1910s.

And I do not know if Archdukes are extinct. The last sighting I know of was in South Bend, Indiana during the early 1960s when Archduke Otto used his authority to christen the Haas' cat.

elmo_iscariot said...

The grips _are_ damned thick, that's for sure.

Coincidentally, I just got a new set of slab grips from Tombstone Gun Grips this morning to replace the cracked ones on my 1910*, and am seriously considering sanding 'em thinner. It's a great little gun, but it could definitely benefit from a slimmer grip.

[* - Actually a Browning 1955, but who's counting?]

Matt G said...

Tamara's first chapter of her first book: "My Obsession With Thirty Twos. "

ErnestThing said...

"What gun for Archdukes?"

Ooooo...

Too soon...