How to Read Colt Serial Number? | Beginners Guide

Reading colt serial numbers can be hard for people who are not experienced. These codes have a slight impact on the firearms, but they are the best way to trace down the origin of guns.

Colt serial numbers contain the history of every gun, but detecting them accurately is a bit hard.

If you are looking forward to learn reading colt serial numbers for the first time, then this article may have something beneficial to offer you. Read below to know more!

Reading Colt Serial Numbers – Here’s How!

There are many techniques that you can follow to find the meaning of a colt serial number. However, some are damn easy and quick, and some are freaking hard. In this written piece, we talk about the comparatively easier ones, okay?

The Quick Method

This one is the easiest way to read colt serial numbers, and all the credits go to the advanced technology. Just head over to the “Colt” homepage and click on the “Customer Service”.

Right after clicking, you will see an option appearing as “Serial Number Lookup”. Click it, and enter your serial numbers. Wait for it, and Bingo!

It is the easiest and quickest possible way you can read a serial number.

However, I don’t prefer this way; the best way is learning to read the numbers manually. Because this easiest way often doesn’t show the accurate result.

The Reliable Method

This method will cost you few dollars, but guess what? It’s the most trusted one – the reliable method. Colt offers a research service to their customers which provides the brand’s official archive letter as a proof of the gun's history.

The letter will have all details of the firearms including genuine features, and specs along with delivery address as well.

Mainly, the archive letter carries essential historical information which can enhance the collective value of that firearm.

Though some custom modifications like the barrel, changed caliber, aftermarket engravings, and finish would not come included in the letter.

As I said earlier, to get this service, you will need to spend few bucks. For your information, the fee is around a hundred dollars in most cases, but again, it depends on the guns.

For example; stuff like the 1851 Navy, you may need to spend couple hundred dollars but it will worth the greens.

Prefix & Suffix

Don't run for a grammar book.! This method has nothing to deal with your Oxford's Dictionary. Mostly, colt numbers contain abbreviations of the firearms’ name. Therefore, you may find some of them are easy to understand.

For example;

  • NF means New Frontier.
  • MT means Match Target.
  • SA means Single Action.
  • SP means Sporter.

Capital “C” prefix or suffix on the gun means that is for commercial use, but sometimes these characters indicate the manufacturing year. Confusing, isn’t it?

Model Codes

Checking colt model code is worth the time and effort as they hold lots of information about a particular gun’s history.

The ability to understand these codes will let you know some important features of your gun inside the holster.

Like, the Single Action model of a colt usually has one prefix character and four digits, where prefix shows the frame type and digit indicates the barrel, stock, version, caliber, etc.

The first digit of your gun’s model code “1” means, a basic frame with the first model, and “2” “3” “4” are the later versions of the gun.

The second digit of the model code refers to the weapon’s caliber, like;

  • 4 means 32 to 20
  • 6 means .357
  • 7 means .44
  • 8 means .45
  • 9 means .44 to 40

The third digit shows the caliber of the gun, such as;

  • 1 means 12 inches
  • 3 mean 3 or 4 inches
  • 4 mean 4.75 or 5 inches
  • 5 mean 5.5 inches
  • 7 mean 7.5 inches

The fourth and last digit shows information about the weapon’s finish or stock. For nickel and blue finish, “1” and “2” means nickel or blue casehardened finish and 6 specifies nickel finish.

To conclude, reading colt serial number can seem tricky and little tough. This article will give you a basic sense of reading colt serial numbers. And, let’s face it, wordy articles won’t help much than any visuals in learning to read colt serial number.

Consider watching at least a couple of videos on YouTube, or meet your fellow gun geek friend or neighbor next door. This way, you will have lessons that are prone to engrave in your brain easily.

2 thoughts on “How to Read Colt Serial Number? | Beginners Guide”

  1. Purchased Colt Cobra 38 special 2”. Serial RA 558907. Cannot find the serial number on colts web site. I fear I may have purchased a knock off, though from a reputable gun shop. Can someone help me confirm this revolver?

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