A friend of mind brought by a 1917 Colt 1903 hammerless in .32 acp with a strange U S stamping on the side. Anyone else seen one like this, or is this an attempt to fool someone into believing it is a General Officer's Pistol?
It looks like someone had a set of dies and decided to punch US on the frame in hopes of passing the gun off as one that was used by the government. Of course, some US government could have been the source of that US stamping. A Colt Archive letter might help. I certainly would not purchase such a marked gun with the HOPE that it might be legit.
It is in the SN range of 200 pistols bought by the Navy in 1917. However, those serial numbers are known and this one is not on the list. It pre-dates the GO pistols program. So, it is quite unlikely to be anything other than a spurious marking.
Rod, Many government organizations (GO) procured items locally. As a former government employee, I can attest to that. The problem is when the GO 'buys locally', the records of that purchase are with the local vendor and usually can't be traced. A few months ago, I believe BlockIslander had a revolver with NASA markings on it. He asked me about that gun and I checked with a 'old timer' at Kennedy Space Center to see if Astronauts ever carried guns. He said, not to his knowledge. He did say that the guard force at Kennedy used to buy their revolvers at local vendors, therefore there are no 'official records' of such guns.
When I was a federal officer I really would have liked to provide my own sidearm to carry on duty...not that I disliked the S&W .38 Special I was issued...but I would have preferred to carry my own choice of handgun and caliber. Some federal agencies allowed personal sidearms on duty but they had an approved list from which one could choose...and most weren't what I would have chosen.
I even went as far as to research and write a potential firearms policy that would have allowed personal handguns and its restrictions but it went nowhere.