Conceptualized in 1913, this one-of-a-kind prototype pistol was an amalgamation of ideas from two Savage employees, M.F. Smith and Savage lead designer Charles Nelson. The initial concept was created by Smith, who hoped to expand the current Savage line with a .38 caliber pistol. The concept was later refined by Nelson, with the patent granted in 1916 showing aspects from both. This pistol design differed significantly from the design by Elbert Searle, which was the basis for the three Savage pistol models that made it to full production. Unlike the production models, this pistol employs a permanently fixed barrel and modified blowback operation. It is also significantly larger and features a single column magazine that holds eight rounds. It differs from the Model 1907 in that it has a hidden hammer/cocking lever, a cocking indicator that functions similarly to those on Mauser pistols, a slide hold-open device, and a grip safety. As stated, this design never made it to full production, and most Savage historians seem to agree that this is likely the only example in existence. The ultimate undoing of this design was likely the difficult takedown. Oddly enough, in an effort to streamline takedown, it uses no screws, which in theory, would have made it easier to disassemble than most other semi-automatic pistols of the time. It had the opposite effect however, which led to the management at Savage being unimpressed, ultimately dooming the little .38 to a solitary life as an unrealized prototype. This specific pistol is featured in the three main reference books on Savage pistols, "Savage Pistols" by Bailey Brower Jr., "Savage Automatic Pistols" by James R. Carr, and "10 Shots Quick: The Fascinating Story of the Savage Pocket Automatics" by Daniel K. Stern. The only visible marking on the pistol is the "P1" serial number, which is located in the standard location on the front lip of the frame, like the production model Savage pistols. It is fitted with blade and notch sights similar to the other models and fitted with a pair of smooth, black hardwood grips that have a slightly loose fit. Brower theorizes in his book that these grips may have been made and fitted at a later date, explaining the loose fit. Also included are various documents regarding the sale of this pistol to Brower by James M. Carney, who acquired the pistol directly from the Savage factory collections. Provenance: The Bailey Brower, Jr. Collection, author of “Savage Pistols”
Excellent as a one-of-a-kind Savage factory prototype, showing mostly a bright "in-the-white" finish overall, with some scattered patches of darker patina and unpolished machining marks visible. The loosely fitting grips are very fine with a few scattered very light handling marks. Mechanically excellent. A rare opportunity to own an extremely rare piece of Savage developmental history that you don't want to miss!
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