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The Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company's product is too well known to require a lengthy or detailed description. After a careful description of the latest achievement—the automatic Colt pistol, a brief mention and illustration of the models, at this time manufactured, will follow. The new automatic pistol possesses features which are strikingly novel and original and which place the weapon in the front rank of small arms. It is made in 38 caliber, using a special rimless cartridge having a jacketed bullet. The cartridge gives a muzzle velocity of about 1,300 feet per second and a penetration of about 11 inches in pine. The magazine contains seven cartridges, and any desired number of the magazines can be carried with the pistol, which can be fired at the rate of seven shots in 2-5 seconds. The accuracy of the pistol is remarkable, and the design of the arm is such that the recoil is in a great measure absorbed, so that the marksman has no annoyance from this cause. Further than this, and a characteristic of the construction of the greatest importance, is the ease with which the pistol can be taken apart for inspection or cleaning.

The action of this pistol is automatic, with the exception that the trigger has to be pulled for firing each shot. The cartridges are automatically supplied to the pistol from a detachable magazine, which, after being filled with cartridges, is inserted into the handle of the pistol. After thus charging the pistol with a full magazine, one opening movement is made by hand, after which the loading of the cartridge into the barrel, the firing on touching the trigger, the extraction of the empty shell after firing, and the reloading of a new cartridge into the barrel, all take place automatically, without any manipulation whatever. The automatic operation of the pistol is actuated by the recoil of the moving parts, and the recoil, being thus utilized and absorbed, has no disturbing effect.

The operation of the pistol is as follows: When a charged magazine is inserted into the handle the slide is once drawn to the rear by hand, thereby cocking the hammer. In this position of the slide, the magazine follower and follower spring raise the topmost cartridge so as to bring it into the path of the bolt. The slide it, with the bolt, is carried forward by the retractor spring, and during this movement the bolt forces the topmost cartridge into the barrel. As the slide approaches its forward position the front of the bolt encounters the rear end of the barrel and forces the latter to its forward position. During this forward movement the barrel swings forward and upward on the links, and thus the locking ribs on the barrel are carried into the locking recesses in the slide, and barrel and slide are thereby positively interlocked and the pistol is ready for firing.

A slight pull on the trigger now serves to move the sear so as to release the hammer and fire a shot. The force of the powder gases driving the bullet from the barrel is rearwardly exerted against the bolt and, overcoming the inertia of the slide and the tension of the retractor spring, causes the slide and the barrel to recoil together. After moving rearward together for a distance, enough to insure the bullet having passed from the barrel, the downward swinging movement of the barrel releases the latter from the slide and stops the barrel in its rearmost position. The momentum of the slide causes the latter to continue its rearward movement, thereby again cocking the hammer and compressing the retractor spring until, as the slide arrives at its rearmost position, the empty shell is ejected from the side of the pistol and another cartridge is raised in front of the bolt. During the return or forward movement of the slide, caused by the retractor spring, the cartridge is driven into the barrel and the slide and barrel are interlocked, thus making the pistol ready for another shot. These operations may be continued so long as there are cartridges in the magazine, each discharge requiring only the slight pull on the trigger.

The pistol is provided with a safety device, which makes it impossible to release the hammer unless the slide and the barrel are in their forward position and safely interlocked. This safety device also serves to control the firing and to prevent more than one shot being fired for each pull of the trigger. The safety device consists in a small vertical piece mounted in front of the sear in the receiver, and in its raised position finds a corresponding recess in the bottom of the bolt, when the latter, with the slide, is in the forward position interlocked with the barrel. In this raised position the safety piece does not interfere with the operation of the trigger, but when the slide is moved rearward the bottom of the bolt depresses the safety piece, which, in that position, prevents the movements of the trigger from operating the sear, and thus the hammer cannot be released until the slide is again in its forward position, locked to the barrel.

The locking of the firing pin by the firing pin lock, so that it cannot reach the primer of the cartridge even if struck by the hammer, insures the safe handling of the pistol when not in use. The fact that the firing in lock is also the rear sight of the pistol prevents ineffectual attempts to shoot the arm without first having released the firing pin lock. The sighting notch in the top of the firing pin lock is cut at such an angle that when the lock is depressed the notch cannot be brought into line with the front sight.

Farrow, Edward S. American Small Arms; a Veritable Encyclopedia of Knowledge for Sportsmen and Military Men. New York: Bradford, 1904. Print.

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