This is a rare example of an early and difficult to find U.S. Army Contract Colt Model 1902 Military semi-automatic pistol. This example is 1 of 200 that were actually purchased by the U.S. Army as an improved replacement for the earlier Colt Model 1900 sight safety pistol. They were delivered in two shipments, with the first 100 pistol received by Springfield Armory on July 15, 1902, (numbered 15001-15100) and the second lot received on July 22, 1902, with serial numbers 15101-15200. Obviously this example was shipped in the first group on July 15th, and it is correctly stamped on the right side of the frame with the U.S. Ordnance inspector's initials of "J.T.T." for John T. Thompson and "R.A.C." for Rinaldo A. Carr. The left side of the frame is also correctly stamped with the "U.S." Army markings on the front area of the trigger guard bow. This model of Colt pistol is discussed on pages 43-47 of the reference book, "U.S. Military Automatic Pistol 1894-1920" by Ellis/Meadows, and the serial number (15096) is actually listed in that reference. The right side of the replacement slide (serial number "15098" stamped on bottom, two digits away from frame) is marked in two lines: "BROWNINGS PATENT" PAT'D APRIL 20 1897" followed by COLT'S PATENT FIRE ARMS MFG. Co./HARTFORD. CONN. U.S.A." followed by the circled Rampant colt logo towards the rear below the rear sight. The right rear side is marked: "AUTOMATIC COLT /CALIBRE 38 RIMLESS SMOKELESS" followed by "MODEL 1902 in front of the slide serrations. It has the Colt's high polish blue finish, niter blue small components and casehardened hammer. The slide is numbered "15098" on the underside. Both sides of the slide have the correct checkered cocking serrations about 1/2 inch from the muzzle. The slide has the early, narrow half-moon front sight with the early round top rear sight. It has the early, round top, heavy knurled hammer. A lanyard loop is attached to the left rear corner of the frame. The grips are checkered hard rubber with "COLT" in a banner at the top of the grip and the encircled rampant Colt motif in the middle. It comes with an original nickel plated magazine that is marked "PAT'D SEPT, 9, 1884" on the bottom of the floor plate.
Very fine with 80% plus of the bright original Colt factory high polish blue finish overall, with blue loss visible on the front ends of the slide (see above), the transition lines with some actual spotting/fine erosion on the right rear side of the slide. The grip straps both show a mixed light blue/gray patina with some spotting on the edges. The grips are in fine condition with nice distinct checkering and markings on the sides, with light wear across the face of the grips. Mechanically excellent. This is a really fine example of an early Colt Military Model 1902 U.S. marked semi-automatic pistol.
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