Not long ago I was working as a marketing and content guy for a retail gun store that pretends to be an eCommerce company as well. It was an experience that I don’t care to repeat but did bring some reasonably interesting moments now and again. One of those experiances was speaking with a gentleman that had walked into the showroom with a plastic case that looked like it used to hold a circular saw. When he opened the case, there were a couple of zippered pistol cases haphazardly tossed inside.

He had come into the retail store to see if we were interested in buying any of the firearms that he had inherited from his father-in-law. Since I was the resident gun nerd, I got a chance to look the firearms over and was surprised to find that one of the cases held a three digit Colt 1900 in reasonably nice condition that was probably produced in 1900 or 1901.

What the gentleman wanted for the Colt 1900 was a bit steep for the store, but we did refer him to a shop that specializes in high-end firearms like this one. I did get a chance to snap a couple of photos and handle the rare blaster. I even got a chance to play with the sight safety when I checked to ensure the gun was clear. All I have to say is thank god that they did away with the sight safety, it isn’t even close to intuitive.


I think that if the 1911 had retained the dual link system and the sight safety, it wouldn’t have been in service near as long as it was and the Glock vs. 1911 conversation would never, ever be a thing. While the 1900 was a wonderful starting point for John Moses Browning, it was nowhere near a finished product in my opinion.

Anyhow, enjoy these photos of the Colt 1900 serial number 454.


  • RocketScientist

    Awesome little bit of history. Although it looks a little goofy to modern eyes/aesthetics, but i actually kinda LIKE the proportions. Long slide, shorter grip (though the angle looks a little weird).

    • hikerguy

      The gun has the look and appearance of those pistols drawn in cartoons and comic books from those days.

  • Mystick

    Nice… I think someone made a little cash off their inheritance…

  • USMC03Vet

    This is what I imagine Long Cat would carry.

    Who is the author of this and please tell us about the shady eCommerce.

  • Swarf

    What was a “sight safety”? How does it work?

    • Joshua

      The rear-sight is on a pivot, pivot it down, and it blocks the hammer and you have no sight, flip it back up and you have a sight and the hammer works. It was thought to be obvious, no sight=pistol not going to work, and intuitive. It never really took off.

      • Swarf

        Interesting, thanks.

      • iksnilol

        That does seem ridicilously simple.

      • Francisco Machado

        Many instances in which a pistol is used there is neither time nor necessity to use (or look at) the sights. How conveniently and easily is this safety disengaged by the hand wielding the pistol?

        • Joshua

          well, it’s not. This may explain why it never took off.

          Although I would point out that Colt 1900 was developed in a time when the attitude of armed self defense was substantially different from what we consider standard and smart today.

    • Cal S.

      It looks safe to me?

    • derfelcadarn

      Dude, you have the world at your finger tips the thing your reading this on is amazing. LOOK IT UP !!!

      • Swarf

        Yes, that’s a very witty and original thing to say. I totally didn’t roll my eyes.

        The reason gun owners ask questions on knowledge blogs like this is to give their fellow hobbyists/enthusiasts/scary survivalists the chance to share what they know with the group.

        This serves a few purposes; it concentrates the answers here in the thread, thereby answering the question for other people who might be wondering. It allows people who may know part of the answer to share knowledge right here at “home”with others who might know a different part of the answer. And– let’s be honest– it gives folks the chance to show off a bit. Who doesn’t like to know the answer?

        In summation, calm down. Your sarcasm has no power here.

        • Cymond

          Plus, research takes a huge amount of time. Asking someone who knows is much more efficient​.

          • BraveNewWhirled

            Yes but then you introduce the possibility you are trusting someone with no idea what they’re talking about.

        • Lyman Hall

          I prefer to do the research myself and then post something like “As I said before, a sight safety is…”
          Makes me look like an expert.

          • James Mcwilliams

            Wow, you really need that much validation?

        • Don

          Ideally, YES, in reality, no and NO!. I have been on the net a long time, since the late 70’s, back when it was just a bunch of us engineers asking each other questions and getting research done at places like Boeing library and talking with SME’s at CalTech and other schools. But time has taken its toll and today it full of wanna be experts who can cut and paste Wiki answers along with more than a few that will give you and answer guaranteed NOT to work and often will endanger you if you applied it. So I like some research, research. If I post an answer, especially a tech one you can bet its not a Wiki* paste, and its has been fact checked and validated on at least 3 other sites.

          *Wiki: I have watched it evolve and today its far more reliable that it was yesterday. As time as gone by I have noticed that can be a good jumping off place for further, deeper research.

          IF you don’t the answer, or if your answer came from a buddies, uncles, daughters, friend at work, the please don’t bother to post, wait a few and someone will post an answer that they have researched and CROSS CHECKED! BET ON IT!

      • James Mcwilliams

        Lighten up Francis.

        • supergun

          Looks like these gentlemen need to go shoot something.

      • Joe Hathaway

        “your finger tips” is understandable, but “your reading” is not. MY reading??

  • Spencerhut

    I just read the chapter on these very guns in my copy of “Colt Automatic Pistols 1896-1955” Neat-o.
    They take a very light 38 Auto load. 105g bullet at ~1250fps. Most modern stuff is way more powerful than that.

  • Deanimator

    The REAL problem with the 1900 and all of the Colt-Browning locked breech pistols before the M1911 is that the only thing holding the slide on the frame is the takedown block at the front of the slide.

    To remove the slide, that block is removed, allowing the slide to be pulled rearward off the frame.

    If that block should fall out or shatter when the pistol is fired, the slide will be launched backward into the shooter’s face at high velocity.

    • ostiariusalpha

      JMB had lots of ingenious ideas, the slide block wasn’t one of them.

      • Deanimator

        Still, they’re neat looking guns.

        I first became aware of them when I saw the pair that Fernando Lamas had in “100 Rifles” when I was a kid in the ’60s.

        If I’m not mistaken, John Garfield has a Model 1905 .45 in the movie “Air Force”. It was probably a stand-in for a scarce at the time M1911.

  • Renegade

    Sure glad you mentioned checking to see if the gun was clear when you were playing with the safety.

    • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

      I press check every gun I pick up, just because I didn’t take the time to type it doesn’t mean I didn’t.

  • jerry young

    I love the colt 1911 and I’m glad they did away with the sight safety, I carried the 1911 for most of my time in the military and am so use to having a safety that when shooting my other guns that don’t have one I find myself going through the motion of releasing it, I can’t see using a gun with a sight safety in a self defense situation but give it some time some idiot will see this and think what a great idea and reintroduce it on their newest firearm.

  • Sam Damiano

    Makes me want to weld up a couple of Rock Islands into an extra long slide. Is that about an 8 inch barrel?

  • AR-PRO

    I’m really curious what they paid for it..

    • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

      They didn’t, it was inherited.

  • Richard Chelvan

    John Moses Browning was a genius!

  • jimpeel

    It would have been very interesting to read the rest of the story which was conveniently left out. Instead of bashing the vendor for whom you worked we really would have found it more interesting to hear the result of this chance encounter. Did you buy it? If so, for how much? Did you inform the seller of the historic significance of this arm? If so, what was his reaction?

    A part of a story is not a story.

    • throwedoff

      The author of the story stated that the guy that inherited the pistol wanted more money than his employer would be willing to pay. The author also stated he directed the guy to another “high end” gun shop that probably specialized in collector firearms. Either you didn’t read all of the article or…..

      • jimpeel

        This is strange. Only the first, third, and fourth paragraphs appeared when I read the story initially. The second paragraph was not between the two pictures. Slow load? (shrug)

        I stand corrected.

        • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

          Free porn isn’t really free bro, scan your computer for viruses.

          • jimpeel

            a. No problem with that.

            b. My computer is updated and scanned every night between one and five AM.


  • 2War Abn Vet

    have a 1902 military (similar to the 1900 pictured) it is a slm lovely very handy thing that fires the .38 colt cartridge that was later beefed up to .become 38 Super.

  • Treyh007

    Beautiful piece! I like the lines of this pistol, if it had a modern 1911 style grip and grip panels it would favor a Coonan. Very cool but if history.