By Roy Huntington
Did you guess right? The overused word “iconic” comes into play here regarding the
distinctive slide serrations and the way the hammer peeks out above the top of the slide.
If you know the Model 1907, I’m sure you spotted it right away!
The 1907 (in .32 ACP initially, and later in .380 ACP) was based on the .45 ACP model Savage introduced to compete with Browning’s 1911 during the military trials and tests. Losing out, Savage sold the test guns on the open market (some 181 of them), and wouldn’t you love to find one of those! But a “micro-sized” version in .32 ACP became popular almost instantly. And, it has one of the earliest if not the earliest double-stack magazines, holding 10 rounds of .32 ACP. Early Savage ads show rugged daredevils taking on wild animals and miscreants, winning because the Savage delivered — as touted by Bat Masterson — “Ten shots Quick!”
Advertising for Savage featured some celebrity endorsements. Men like Buffalo Bill Cody, Bat Masterson (of old west fame) and the Pinkerton Agency were regulars. Teddy Roosevelt was presented with an engraved 1907 and reportedly carried it during his long African safari. Savage also appealed to “defenseless” women, offering the 1907 as just the thing to subdue “burglars and tramps!” It gets our vote too!
A Few Features
The “Hammer” isn’t really a hammer but merely a way to cock the striker of the striker-fired pistol. There’s a left-side safety and a loaded chamber indicator. Revolutionary for the time, the 1907 needed no screws and is fast and easy to field strip and clean. The model underwent design changes as time passed, along with being upgraded to chamber the .380 ACP round.
The 1907 had some use in various wars but was only issued in very limited numbers to military units overseas. However, officers around the world purchased them for personal carry using their own funds. The gun in the photo is my own and I confess I enjoy shooting it greatly. In .32 ACP it’s easy to control, is surprisingly accurate and frankly, today’s small pocket pistols don’t really have anything over it. Like the equally classic Remington Model 51 pocket pistol, these old Savage 1907’s have a certain design charm, elegance and truly exhibit that old world-style craftsmanship we hear about so often. In the Savage’s case, it’s all perfectly true. If you find one grab it. They are still very affordable, with very nice examples going for well under $500 and often as low as $350. I think it’s a case of people just not recognizing what they are looking at!
Sid Caesar’s character, Ezra Desire, used a 1907 in the 1970’s film noir comedy The Cheap Detective. In the 2002 drama Road To Perdition, Jude Law’s character Harlan Maguire also used a 1907. So movie fame notwithstanding, the little 1907’s still perform all out of proportion to their size — and distinguished age!