Saturday, September 26, 2009

Colt Model 1908 Vest Pocket .25 ACP


.25 ACP
Striker fired
Six round magazine
2’’ barrel
Grip safety, magazine safety (1917 and after), and thumb slide-lock safety.
A bit over 420,000 pistols were manufactured from 1908 – 1948.
Corporately, Colt referred to this pistol as the Model N.
The pistol pictured above is vintage 1923.

IMHO, when Colt introduced the
Model 1908 Vest Pocket .25 ACP it was the first serious challenge to the reign of the .41 rimfire Remington Double Derringer as the preferred discreet-gun for both the polite and the nefarious of society. As its name implies, it easily carries in a man’s vest pocket. We can be sure that many of the “fairer sex” found that it stowed well in purses and undergarments.

Dieudonné Saive of FN used the European version of this pistol (Model 1905) as the basis for the Browning Baby, which began production in 1931, arguably finishing off the Remington Derringer, and in turn perhaps sounding the death knell for the Colt Model 1908 Vest Pocket. What did Saive do to make the Baby more popular than the Vest Pocket pistol? He kept much of the original John M. Browning design but eliminated the grip safety and made the pistol smaller and lighter (Colt =12 oz / Browning = 9.7 oz) while keeping the magazine capacity of six cartridges. In a word, Saive made the Baby look and feel “sexier” than the Vest Pocket pistol.

Along with it being a couple of ounces heavier, there is a bit more of a grip on the Vest Pocket pistol than there is on the Baby, making it easier for some to shoot. However, unlike the grip safety of a 1911 pattern pistol, the grip safety on the Vest Pocket takes a deliberate forward flex of the web of the hand; a few shooters I knew (both men and women) could not get the hang of it. My guess is that many shooters found the grip safety an untenable feature. As for me, I like it.

Many old cops who happen upon this page will remember either carrying one of these little pistols for undercover work or as a backup gun. Other old cops may remember confiscating them from criminals.

There is some
collector interest in these old pistols. If you have inherited one, it certainly is worth more than the money any municipal “gun buy-back” will offer. As for using an old Colt Vest Pocket for concealed carry, that choice is for you to make. There are many similar sized modern pistols available today that have a more potent chambering than the .25 ACP.



16 comments:

James R. Rummel said...

Another good post!

Anonymous said...

A word of caution with any of the older guns such as the Colt vest pocket 1908 always check out the weapon in an area away from people , pets or buildings ! The reason why ? I once bought an older automatic pistol at a gun show , a Savage .32 ACP model 1908 , and took the gun out into the desert to try out , needless to say I was most glad that I checked out the weapon in an area void of people or buildings , I loaded the magazine ,pulled back the slide , then released the slide which fired a bullet into the ground ! Thank God no one was around me when this happened ! Always be extra careful with older guns ! Especially older automatic pistols !

Anonymous said...

Savage .32 s are notorious for SLAM-FIRE ,But you are right about older guns. You realy should have ANY old gun checked out 1st by a rep gun smith B4 firing!!!!

Anonymous said...

I took my concealed carry class with one of my Dad's Vest Pocket's. One of the instructors, both of whom were local officers, approached me after the first rapid fire and asked if I realized how fast I had shot those 5 rounds. I of course had no idea, he told me it took 2 1/2 seconds! This for a (then) 75 year old gun!

Anonymous said...

I know a "flic" (Police Officer) in Paris who still carried his grandfathers old Colt vest pocket 1908 .25 as a last ditch weapon, at least up until the summer of 2008, when we last met... Talk about heritage!

Yours/

Brit BG

Anonymous said...

I collect Savage automatics and have never had one mis-fire. Of course, I don't collect junk and check mine out very carefully. Usually, if it is really nice, and not worn out, this is not going to be a problem. They are really remarkable little pistols.

Anonymous said...

My wife has the Colt .25 vest pocket pistol left to her by her grandmother. I'd like to change the recoil and mag spring for her but am having trouble finding a source for these items. Anyone know where these can be purchased? Any other restoration advice? Thanks
wmmaine@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I need a barrel for a colt vest pocket 25.They are hard to find if anyone can help please do.
Thanks,
bettyboop111950@carolina.rr.com

Anonymous said...

I too was left a Colt PV .25acp . Serial #'s start 65_ _ _. Would like some history,such as what year was it made? Can you help me? duf213@aol.com

Anonymous said...

1908 Vest Pockets in the 65000 serial number range were built in 1912.

Anonymous said...

I require additional mags for a Colt model N (vest pocket) ACP 25, vintage 1929. Can anyone help with this?

Anonymous said...

There are still a number of people who still carry the Colt Model 1908 Vest Pocket .25 ACP, and why not ? They were well made and definately better to carry than the two shot derringers, such as the cheaper derringers such as the Davis !Prices on the Colt .25's are going up as are the "Baby" Brownings if they are in reasonably good condition . Maybe the .25 ACP is not the greatest cartridge in he world, but it could save your life if the chips were down and that was all you had !My favorite .25 ACP is the Beretta model 950 probably as it has the tip up barrel .

Anonymous said...

Colt Model 1908 Vest Pocket Hammerless .25 ACP - Parts Identification
Component Parts of The Colt Automatic Pistol Pocket Model Hammerless, Caliber .25

Part No. Description Part No. Description
1 Receiver 16B Slide Lock Safety Plunger Spring
2 Slide 17 Grip Safety
3 Barrel 18 Grip Safety Pin
4 Extractor 19 Sear Pin
5 Extractor Spring 20 Retractor Spring
6 Extractor Pin 21 Retractor Spring Guide (Complete with Safety Disconnector Plunger and Spring) (I have nickel only, no plunger - pre sn 141000)
7 Firing Pin 22 Magazine Catch (blue, nickel)
8 Main (Firing Pin) Spring 23 Magazine, complete
9 Main (Firing Pin) Spring Guide 24 Magazine Spring
10 Trigger (nickel only) 25 Magazine Follower
11 Connector 26 Stocks, Checked Walnut, per pair
12 Trigger Pin 27 Stock Screw
13 Sear Stop Pin 28 Safety Disconnector
14 Sear Escutcheons, per set
15 Sear, Safety, Trigger and Magazine Catch Spring
16 Slide Lock Safety
16A Slide Lock Safety Plunger


Colt 1908 Serial Numbers
Year Serial Numbers Production
1908 1-799 799
1909 800-21499 20700
1910 21500-39999 18500
1911 40000-60999 21000
1912 61000-81699 20700
1913 81700-101999 20300
1914 102000-118999 17000
1915 119000-133499 14500
1916 133500-151199 17700
1917 152000-174999 23000
1918 175000-192499 17500
1919 192500-231999 39500
1920 232000-280499 48500
1921 280500-303999 23500
1922 304000-321999 18000
1923 322000-335999 14000
1924 336000-342999 7000
1925 342500-352999 10500
1926 353000-362499 9500
1927 362500-366999 4500
1928 367000-374999 8000
1929 375000-381999 7000
1930 382000-388499 6500
1931 388500-391999 3500
1932 392000-394999 3000
1933 395000-397999 3000
1934 398000-400999 3000
1935 401000-402499 1500
1936 402500-403999 1500
1937 404000-405999 2000
1938 406000-407499 1500
1939 407500-407999 500
1940 408000-408999 1000
1941 409000-409061 61

Darrin Marrs said...

If anyone is still looking for parts for the 1908 colt 25, check out:

gunpartscorp.com

They have parts for many other pistols as well.

Anonymous said...

The problem with owning a 1908 Colt Vest Pocket pistol is that you then have to buy a vest, but it's a good inVESTment. (Sorry about this)

A.Nonymous

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

Heh! That's not bad at all.

Thanks!