by Mishaco (June 14th, 2012)
Now that I have rounded out the Type 94 section of my WWII Japanese
collection, I thought I would do a relatively detailed write-up on the
design and its history. Its rather difficult to uncover accurate and
reliable information on the Type 94 and much of what you read is based
on second hand information or hearsay. Most of what is in this thread is
from my own personal observations or is information I have varified
with at least a few sources. I have an acquaintance who is a long time
and highly advanced Japanese collector. This gentleman has over 400 Type
94s alone and i would love to examine what he has, but unfortunately
like many collectors on his level, most of his collection is not readily
accessable at the moment. Perhaps one day I will be fortunate enough to
handle a few hundred of his pieces and can add to my knowledge of this
design and how it changed over the course of its production. Then i
could add to this thread more detailed information, but for now I will
discuss what I know to date. For whatever reason, i find this Nambu to
be particularly interesting. I have a few Type 14s and even a Type 04
M1902 Modified 'Papa', but there is just something about the usually
overlooked and often ridiculed Type 94 that really intrigues me.
(Generic pictures from Max's site)
Military Designation: kyu-yon-shiki
Designer: Kijiro Nambu
Development: 2594 (i.e. 1934)
Numbers Produced: Approximately 71,000-72,000
Weight: 720g (25.4 oz) (unloaded without magazine)
Length: 180mm (7.1 inches)
Barrel length: 95mm (3.74 inches)
Cartridge: 8x22mm Nambu (standard high pressure variant developed for the Type 14)
Action: recoil operated, locked breech with floating block
Muzzle velocity: 290m/s (950 ft/s)
Feed system: 6 round detachable box magazine
Sights: Fixed Iron front blade, rear notch
In the mid 1920s, famous Japanese arms designer Kijiro Nambu retired
from active military service at the rank of Lieutenant General. In 1927,
General Nambu along with his partners organized the Nambu Ju Seizosho
or Nambu Rifle Manufacturing Company, to produce the Type 14 automatic
pistol, which had recently been accepted into military service as the
standard issue sidearm. The Type 14 was Nambu's most successful handgun
and was a highly improved replacement for his older Model 1902 Type 04
'Papa Nambu' pistol. The Type 14 was stronger than previous models, less
expensive and time consuming to produce, and fired a more powerfully
loaded version of the 8x22mm cartridge. It was a notable step forward
for Japanese handgun design, but it was still rather long and had a
relatively brittle firing pin. Type 14 production would continue until
Japan's surrender at the end of World War II, however even before the
war many in the military felt a more compact design was called for.
In 1934, former colleagues and friends in the Japanese military
approached General Nambu and requested that he design a new service
pistol, not to replace the Type 14 but to suppliment it. It was desired
that the new design would be smaller and lighter than the Type 14, as
well as having a stronger, more reliable firing system. It was also
hoped that the new weapon could be produced in less time and would
require fewer resources. Mr. Nambu wasted little time in preparing
schematics for the new weapon, and by the end of 1934, the prototype
model was ready. The military quickly adopted the new design as the
kyu-yon-shiki or Year Type 94 pistol.
During the first half of 1935, the Type 94 production line was
established and the first pistols came off the assembly line with the
date code of 10.6. This date refers to the 6th month of the 10th year of
the Showa era; the name for the reighn of Emperor Hirohito. In December
of the following year, the Nambu Ju Seizosho factory merged with
another firm to form the Chuo Kogyo company at Kokubunji. In turn Chuo
Kogyo's manufacturing was supervised by the Nagoya Arsenal who would
later contract out with workers from the Tokyo Arsenal to perform final
inspection and approval of Type 94 pistols. As a result, stamps from all
three institutions can be found on these pistols. In the beginning,
production numbers were quite low. My own early pistol for example, has a
date code of 12.11 or November of 1937, and its serial is just shy of
4,100. It wasn't until roughly 1940, that the assembly line really
started to turn out quantity. Production was once again increased at the
beginning of 1942, after Japan declared war on the United States. Type
94 output would remain high until the final year of the war. The last
pistols to be manufactured would have the date code of 20.6 or June of
1945. This means that the Type 94 pistol was in production for exactly
10 years. In one decade, between 71,000 and 72,000 examples were
constructed. Exact numbers are unknown as many of the records were lost
during or after the war. All pistols were produced in the same series
and all were built under the supervision of the Nagoya Arsenal. Most
came from the Chuo Kogyo factory, though some were worked on at other
locations during the war.
The Type 94 is a locked breech pistol, firing the standard bottlenecked
8mm Nambu service round. It is mechanically quite interesting and
unique. After the cartridge is ignited the barrel, slide, and bolt
recoil together for a short time. At the end of this travel, a locking
block under the barrel falls and moves rearward a short distance and
stops the barrel's motion. The slide moves back enough to open the
ejection port and then is haulted by the frame. The bolt continues to
move back, extracting the spent round, ejecting it upwards, and on its
return to battery; strips a fresh cartridge from the magazine and slides
it into the chamber. At which point the barrel and slide again move
forward and the pistol is ready to fire again. The return spring is
housed around the barrel and there is a small roller in the back of the
frame to insure smooth movement of the bolt.
To pull back the Type 94's bolt, one places a finger on each side of the
ridged knob located at the top-rear of the weapon and simply pulls
back. The pistol is fired by a hammer which is released by a long sear
when the trigger is pulled. It is a Single Action Only design with
concealed hammer. The firing pin has a return spring surrounding it to
prevent slam fires. This Nambu has two safety systems. The first is a
manual safety located on the rear left side, Browning style. This safety
physically blocks the sear when engaged. The other safety is a magazine
disconnect, which does not allow the trigger to be pulled if there is
no magazine in the grip. The magazine release is a button located midway
down the grip on the left side, again very similar to a Browning
design. The magazines themselves are of an angled style, somewhat
similar to that of the Luger magazine. Each magazine holds 6 rounds and
has a follower on the right side to aid in loading. The Type 94 does not
have an internal bolt-hold-open device. Rather, the bolt is held back
on an empty magazine by a tab on the magazine follower itself. This
means once the empty magazine is removed, the bolt will slam closed
under its own force. Both the front blade sight and rear notch are metal
and fixed. There is a relatively large lanyard ring located on the
back, just above the grip. The grip panels are made of two separate
pieces. Disassembly of the Type 94 is very different from other military
pistols. There are several guides online, including some on youtube,
that show one how to do it. It does become easier with practice. To
begin the process one pulls the bolt back with an empty magazine in the
gun. There is a small tab located in the middle of the bolt. The firing
pin must be pressed in all the way and at the same time this tab must be
driven out. The tab should come out with light pressure, do not force
it or use anything stronger than a wooden rod or soft bullet tip. I like
to use a q-tip cut in half myself. The tab moves right-to-left only.
This detail is very important. You start from the right side, the side
opposite the safety, and you gently press leftwards. Remember to keep
the firing pin pressed in with your finger during the process. Once this
pin is removed, a light tap on the bolt will cause the whole gun to
self-disassemble, so be prepared. Reassembly can be tricky at first, but
a person can get good at it with practice. I find it easiest to
assemble the frame, barrel, spring, and slide and then press back on the
slide until the ejection port is open. I put a finger wrapped in a
cloth (usually the one I have been using to whipe down the parts with
oil) inside the port. This holds the slide back and makes inserting the
bolt from the rear much easier. Once the bolt is back in place, put the
tab back in the hole, pinning the bolt and slide together again.
Remember to have the firing pin pressed in when reinstalling the tab.
(The beginning of disassembly, with the tab removed. I have the end of
the q-tip in the hole to keep the pistol from auto-disassembling..)
(The pistol fully field stripped. As you can see, there are several
parts; some rather small, but only 1 large spring to deal with at
The Type 94 was designed with tank crews and aircraft pilots in mind. It
was from the outset intended for use in the Japanese military, though
some sources claim it was first destined for export sales to South
America. All of the hard evidence and logic prooves this assertion
simply wrong. As has been written, why would Japan try to export an
unremarkable handgun in an odd caliber to South America? Especially
during a time of war (in China) when Japanese industry could barely
manufacture enough weapons for the nation's military as it was.
Originally, in the Imperial Japanese military, officers were authorised
and expected to purchase their own sidearms at officers' unions. The
Type 94 was added to the approved list of pistols in 1935, and officers
had the option of purchasing a foreign built pistol, or of taking a
domestic design. It seems that both the Type 14 and the Type 94 were
subsidised by the government to promote the use of Japanese weapons.
Both were either free or sold at a reduced price, it is unclear. On the
otherhand, both the 'Papa' and the 'Baby' Type A/Model 1902 Nambus were
not. This is because they were not officially accepted into military
service like the T14 and T94. Comparatively few Type 94s were produced
in the 1930s, thus not all that many went into combat. Many of the early
pistols were used in mainland Asia, in China and Korea.
As has previously been mentioned, in 1940 there was a production
increase. So Showa 16th year pistols are relatively common. After
December of 1941, even more Type 94 pistols were being turned out, and
it became quite a common Imperial sidearm in the war with the United
States in the Pacific.
Though it was initially designed for soldiers operating in cramped
vehicles, by WWII the T94 could be found in the hands of just about
anyone. Because it was a subsidised pistol, the T94 was more often
carried by low ranking officers and NCOs. Many higher ranking and/or
wealthy officers still preferred imported sidearms such as the FN
M1910/22. Despite this slight preceived stigma, the T94 was very popular
with the troops for several reasons. First of all, it was cheaper to
purchase than most of the other pistols offered at the time. Second, its
small grip and overall size was a good fit to the average Japanese of
the day. Third, any soldier can appreciate a pistol that is more
reliable and durable. It was well suited to the close-in warfare of the
In 1943, after the tides of war had begun to turn against the Japanese,
pistols became a military issued rather than privately purchased item.
This was due to the fact that the supply of foreign built pistols had
been cutoff by the allies. Thus most soldiers lost the choice of which
sidearm they would carry and Type 94s were handed out as fast as they
could be shipped to the frontlines. 1943 and 1944 were still high
production years, but it was during this time that quality control and
fit and finish began to seriously decline. Most examples manufactured in
1945 did not even leave the Home Islands as Japan was fighting a purely
defensive war at that point.
Soldiers generally speaking liked the T94, but it should be kept in mind
that the role of the pistol in the Japanese military was as a
self-defense or secondary weapon. It was usually carried, but seldom
fired. When one was fired, it was normally at a close range target. It
was often little more than a badge of office and many still preferred to
use the sword in hand to hand combat. Thus a pistol was mostly valued
for its lightweight and small size.
During the long war in Asia, many of these pistols were captured by
enemy combatents and reissued to be used against those who originally
made them. Type 94s could be found in military and police arsenals as
late as 1960, in China, Korea, and Thailand. The Japanese themselves
officially retired it in 1945 with the end of hostilities. It was never a
prolific firearm and its design had little to no influence on future
Many small design changes were made to the Type 94 during its production
run. Most all were aimed at time and cost savings. The most well known
alteration to the design was the switch from bakelite grips to walnut
near the end of the war, but there were others as well. Here is a
timeline of changes, given in Showa dates. The first two digits
represent the year starting with 10 = 1935 and ending with 20 = 1945.
The second number(s) after the dot indicate the month: 1- 12 = January
10.6 - serial production began.
11.12 - Nambu Ju Seizosho became Chuo Kogyo at Kokubunji, manufacturer's markings changed accordingly.
12.7 - Magazines received a reinforcing ridge stamped into the bottum of their floorplates to add strength.
12.11 - The checkering on the bakelite grips was changed. Originally,
the checkering consisted of many small diamonds in a fine pattern. The
pattern was changed to one with quite large diamonds in a coarse
pattern, to make a better gripping surface and to strengthen the panels
14.4 - Sometime during the early to mid part of the 14th year, the
checkering's pattern was again changed to something in between the fine
and coarse styles. this pattern would remain the standard for the
15.xx - First Type 94 production increase in preparation for possible war with more nations.
15.4 - First round of major changes to the design. The front of the
frame and front lower part of the slide ceased to be machined round and
thin. The portion of the frame under the barrel went from 15mm wide to
18mm. This change eliminated several milling steps, saving time and
labor. It in no way impacted the pistol's performance as the machined
undersection was only a cosmetic feature.
15.4 - At roughly the same time, the rear portion of the searbar was
changed. The original design had a raised triangular section on the end,
which was flush with the raised part of the frame in the back. After
this time, the raised area on the sear would disappear. It is not known
exactly why this change took place, but most likely to save on machining
16.xx - In a nationalistic gesture, the government declared that no
longer would Latin (i.e. English) characters be allowed on military
firearms. Only Japanese Kanji was to be used from that point onward.
17.xx - The second Type 94 production increase went into effect after open war with the United States began.
17.1 - The finish used on magazines was changed. Up until this point, all were nickled and after it, all were blued.
18.10 - This is a highly estimated date, as there was no exact time when
the change went into effect, but by the end of the 18th year, the small
parts such as trigger, safety, and magazine release were being blued.
Previously, these parts were a golden straw colour from the heat
treating process. This was really only a cosmetic change, but again did
save a bit of time during the manufacturing process.
19.7 - This is the change that is most commonly known about the Type 94.
Around this time, the checkered bakelite grip panels were replaced by
simple plain slab-sided wooden ones made from lightly lackered walnut.
19.8 - The lanyard ring was made slightly larger. It is uncertain why this change was implemented.
19.8 - The follower on the side of the magazine used to assist in
loading was changed from a ridged rectangle with a slot at the bottum,
to a simple round checkered button.
20.1 - Towards the end of the month, the 'squareback' cocking knob was
introduced. Basically this was a bolt that did not have the rounded and
indented part of it's rear fully machined. Instead, it was left square
and with simple vertical ridges on the sides.
20.2 - The rear sight was simplified going from a pair of L shaped raised sections facing each other, to two simple squares.
20.4 - Starting around this time, some pistols were produced with 'short
grips.' The grip screw was moved higher on the frame to allow for
smaller pieces of wood to be used as grip panels. The actual length of
the grip frame and magazine well did not change.
20.6 - Type 94s produced during this month were assembled from
previously rejected and random leftover parts. These pistols are
commonly referred to today as 'last-ditch' models.
20.6 - All Type 94 production ended, as Japan no longer had enough resources to continue building them.
20.8 - Type 14 production did continue until the very end of the war.
(Please note that most all of these dates are estimates and from
observations. Since production records were lost, it is impossible to
know for sure when certain changes went into effect.)
(2nd variation coarse checkered grip)
(Medium coarse/fine checkering found on bakelite grips until mid 1944)
(Standard 'slab' walnut grip with very light lacker from the factory)
(Original style searbar with rear raised section)
(Standard sear found on all pistols after mid 1940, is straight from end to end with no raised portion at the rear)
(Late style square cocking knob found on the last 5,000-6,000 pistols)
(Original rear sight style found on all pistols built before 1945)
(Simplified rear sights found on the final pistols made in 1945)
(Original thin frame with rounded slide found on pistols before 1940)
(Standard square bottum front end with wide frame and non-rounded slide)
(Three variations of magazines, from left to right: later nickled, early blued, late blued)
Some other changes to the design did not happen at once or even over a
short period of time. For example, early T94s had rich deep rust bluing,
and by the end a thin uneven salt bluing was being used. The quality of
bluing seems to have slowly degraded from the middle of the 18th year
through the 19th.
Though I have covered major and note worthy changes in how the parts
were machined, many small machining shortcuts began to be taken starting
in the 18th year. One can especially view this in the trigger guard and
grip strap areas. Also as the war progressed, less time was taken
polishing surfaces and removing tool marks.
Before the switch to wooden grips, one can also observe poorer molding of the bakelite grips.
Not surprisingly fit also began to suffer, with later made pistols
having more rattle and parts that do not exactly lineup with each other.
The safety in particular became quite loose in some late war Type 94s.
Magazine bodies too began to look cruder with uneven surfaces and
hastier bluing, though the reinforcing ridge on the baseplate would
remain until the end.
It should be acknowledged, that no matter how rough some of these
pistols made during the last year might look, the internal surfaces were
still polished and properly heat treated. The Type 94 never became
truely dangerous to fire due to manufacturing shortcuts and material
Finally, it should be kept in mind, that the decline of fit and finish
was not a steady downhill slope. Different factories and workers had
different standards. For instance I have handled many examples produced
in late and even mid 1944, that actually have rougher finishes and more
tool marks, than ones from early 1945. I have whitnessed this enough
that I wonder if perhaps there was a concerted effort to improve quality
after the end of 1944, if only a small bit and for a brief time?
Mechanically, the Type 94 was not altered from the first to the last pistols produced.
Pros & Cons or "Is it really the worst military pistol ever?"
If one searches for information regarding the Type 94, the accusation
that it was the worst pistol issued by any military during WWII or even
ever, will quickly be found. The pistol was definitely not without its
flaws and shortcomings, but most who claim it is the 'worst' ever made
are simply viewing it from a biast American point of view. It should be
taken in context with when and where it was made. Now, the pistols'
strengths and weaknesses will be highlighted.
1) For the time in which it was adopted, the pistol was very small,
compact, and lightweight; for a sidearm firing its nation's standard
2) It did fire the standard service round, not a reduced power version
of the 8x22mm round. As a result logistics were not further complicated
when it was issued.
3) For a pistol with such a short barrel, it was surprisingly accurate.
4) The small grip was well suited to its intended users.
5) The pistol had 2 safety systems; 3 if you also count the spring loaded firing pin.
6) The controls are laid out in a user friendly manner.
1) The 8mm cartridge, while more powerful than 7.65mm (.32) was still not as hard hitting as 9mm Parabellum.
2) The pistol only held 6 rounds, where as most of the service pistols
of the day held 8. Still, it should be remembered that many nations
still issued revolvers during WWII, such as Britain and Russia.
3) The pistol's disassembly and reassembly procedures can not be considered anything but Cons.
4) The last-round hold open follower in the magazine caused magazine
changes to be unnecessarily slow. The bolt would hold back and exert
pressure on the magazine, which made it more difficult to remove. Once
the magazine was worked free, the bolt would snap forward, forcing the
operator to retract it again once a fresh magazine was inserted, in
order to chamber a new round.
5) Not really the design's fault, but pistols made in the last 2 years of the war can have many specific/individual issues.
The Type 14 vs. The Type 94;
1) The T94 required fewer resources and man hours to build than did the T14.
2) The T94 is significantly shorter than the T14, which could be a
valuable asset to some. On the other hand, due to its longer barrel, the
t14 was capable of better mechanical accuracy.
3) The T14 held 8 rounds in the magazine, compared to the T94's 6, so a clear advantage to the T14.
4) Although, the T94 magazine requires less force to load fully than does the T14 magazine.
5) The T14 had a very crisp trigger for a military sidearm. It wasn't match-grade but wasn't that far off from it either. The T94 on the other
hand had a mushy trigger pull even early on, and late war examples could
be truly awful.
6) On the other hand, the T94's safety was placed in a location where
the shooter's thumb could manipulate it easily, while the T14's was
located far forward on the frame and basically required the shooter to
use his off-hand to toggle it on or off.
7) The T94's hammer firing system was more reliable than the T14's striker system.
8) The T94 was less likely to break its firing pin than the T14.
9) Both pistols had fixed sights, but because of its intended role, the T94's sights were smaller and simpler than the T14's.
10) When comparing late war T14s and T94s from the same year & month
of production, normally the T14 will have a bit better fit and
11) The T94 is much rarer than the T14. For every 1 T94 produced, 4 T14s were built.
12) The T94 has spawned more colorful stories than the T14.
...And finally, the infamous exposed sear bar;
By this point, perhaps you thought I would not even bring this part up?
Honestly, I would rather not as its been done to death. Yes, the Type 94
has a long exposed sear bar running much of the length of the left side.
If the front tip is pressed, the pistol will fire without having the
trigger pulled. However, one can only press in on this bar if the manual
safety is disengaged. Also of course, the pistol would need to be
cocked and have a live round in the chamber, in order for anything to
happen. Then one must wonder why someone is pressing around on the side
of a loaded firearm, with the safety off? The sear bar is not protected,
but at the same time, it is flush with the frame and must be pressed
inward a goodly bit to release the hammer. This means just laying the
pistol down on its side could not make it go off and again, why would
someone lay a loaded gun down with the safety off?
The sear bar was not a design oversight or mistake. General Nambu knew
what he was doing and chose to use such a system in order to keep the
pistol compact and maintain a reasonably low production cost. Japanese
soldiers of the day were to carry their pistols with a loaded magazine
in the grip, but uncocked and without a round in the chamber. Today's
tactical operators scoff at such a notion, but it should be remembered,
that American soldiers were also instructed to carry their M1911A1s in
the same manner during WWII.
The Type 94 was a reasonably safe firearm when properly maintained, and
when handled by a trained operator. It was primarily carried by soldiers
who only needed a pistol infrequently, such as pilots, tank crews,
armored transport drivers, radio operators, and military staff officers.
In those situations, and when carried either without a round in the
chamber or with the safety firmly engaged, the Type 94 fulfilled its
purpose and did so without endangering its owner. Honestly, Mr. Nambu
was accustom to trained shooters, probably could not even conceive of
someone so ignorant or careless, who could actually make an exposed sear bar a liability, using one of his firearms. Keep in mind, this was a
military pistol carried in a full flap holster as a backup weapon; not a
civilian CCW piece carried in a quick-draw holster or pocket. In other words, the Japanese soldiers who used the Type 94 actually did have
more than a half dozen functioning brain cells, and cases of negligent
discharge were very uncommon. In fact, more cases of unintended firing
of, and even injuries from, the M1911A1 in the hands of Americans were
reported in WWII, than cases of such misuse of the Type 94 by Japanese
soldiers. Of course, we have records today from the US military and very
few from that of the Imperial Japanese, but nevertheless, no evidence
has ever surfaced to illustrate that the sear bar was ever responsible
for the death or injury of a Japanese soldier.
As to stories about sneaky Japanese using the sear bar to trick and kill
American soldiers, or to commit suicide while pretending to surrender;
pure and complete fiction. These stories were probably dreamed up by
American soldiers 20 years after their time in the Pacific to entertain
their children or grandkids. They do sound like the kinds of stories a
long winded grandfather or uncle would bestow upon young and
impressionable minds, eager for stories of glory and adventure. Pulling
out a bring back Type 94 and saying, "I took this off the body of a dead
Jap," as we all know, all bring back stories start with the weapon in
question being removed from a corpse during the heat of battle, "but
before I did that, you know what that sneaky yellow slant tried to do?
He tried to pretend to surrender to me with this here pistol out in his
hand with no fingers near the trigger. He was gonna press it right here
and and shoot me dead. I was too smart for him though and dropped him
right between the eyes with my good ol' American Colt .45!" Definitely
makes for a better story than, "After the war, there were boxes of
Japanese guns from the factories and we were supposed to dump them into
the ocean, but we all stole one because Captain Johnson said that'd be
Usually the guys who liked to spread those outlandish stories about
their time in the army, actually spent most of it as a mess cook or
secretary. Anyway, the stories you can sometimes find about the Type 94
as a 'suicide' pistol are just that..stories. Not a single one has ever
been documented or verified as true.
After weighing of the pros and cons of the design, the Type 94, comes up
as adequate in my judgment. It had both benefits and shortcomings, but
it did what General Nambu and the military intended for it to do. No
major design changes were required during its production, so one may
conclude that it performed acceptably in the eyes of the Japanese. It
would definitely not be allowed in the current safety driven atmosphere
of the United States today, but back 70 years ago in Japan, it was
assumed that anyone who picked up a firearm would have a modicum of
common sense and caution when handling it.
As to the small size of the Type 94 and relatively low power of the 8mm
round, these are cases of the weapon fitting its intended user.
Americans might find this pistol uncomfortable and weak, but one can
imagine that a Japanese from 1940, might find the 1911 unnecessarily
long and heavy, and the .45 ACP round laughably overkill and difficult
to get on target. Actually, looking at military issued firearms around
the world, the Nambu and the 8mm round were more in keeping with most of
the others; more so than the Colt 1911A1 and .45 cartridge would have
been during WWII. Many nations still issued pistols in 9mm Kurz (.380)
and even 7.65mm (.32 Auto) at that time. 8mm Nambu was just a hair more
powerful than .380 and had more force than Japan's previous standard
service round: 9mm rimmed. The old 9mm round was used in the Type 26
revolver and was about as powerful as .38S&W, which Britain still
issued as .38/200 in WWII. My point? the round and even the pistol were
really no better or worse than others of the day. So that is why in the
end, i feel the Type 94 was simply adequate for its intended role.
My Type 94s:
My goal in picking up these pistols for my collection was to try and map
the changes introduced to the design over its 10 year run. Of course, a
person could have 20 of these pistols and still not have every minor
variation and configuration. For example, i do not have a late war
'short grip' and have never seen one for sale at a price i could afford.
Still, I feel the 4 I do have do a reasonably good job of illustrating
the Type 94.
Early 12.11 Date;
This is one i recently picked up. It is the earliest Type 94 I have
found for sale. It is also actually one of the better condition ones.
There are a few mint examples out there, but many have most of their
finish missing and 1 or more broken or replaced parts. This one has
honest wear, but is mechanically sound and still very tight. It is all
matching, including the proper nickled magazine. Its serial is just shy
of 4100, which tells one that in nearly 2 and a half years of
production, not many Type 94s had been built.
Pre War 16.7 Date;
This is probably my nicest T94 and is also all matching, including the
nickled magazine. It was built just a few months before Japan attacked
the United States and war brokeout. It has very nice bluing still and
straw coloured parts. It has only a few of the early manufacturing
shortcuts and has the medium sized checkered grips. Its quite tight,
though maybe not as much so as the 12.11.
Late-Mid War 19.5 Date;
This is my most recent T94. After chasing down an early and a late war
model, i realised something, i didn't have just a common midwar one. So i
started looking for a pistol made sometime between mid 1943 and mid
1944. I wanted one after the strawing was done away with and that had
some of the rough machining. At the same time i wanted something made
before the switch to wooden grips. This 19.5 kind of fell into my lap
and i took it as the price was right. Its mechanically
sound, with just normal holster wear. It has pretty crude machining, but
is still perfectly functional. It is all matching, except the magazine.
The mag is a proper mid-war blued type though. The safety is very loose
on this one; a very common thing for some late guns. This one will be my
'shooter' if i ever decide to take a T94 out for a spin.
Late War 20.2 Date;
This one i was very excited to get. Not only is it in good shape and all
correct, the price was very fair and it came with 2 late war magazines.
It is all matching, again except for the magazine which is a proper
late war style. It has the square cocking knob, wooden grips, and
simplified rear sights found on pistols made after the middle of
January, 1945. This one was made in February of that year and has a
serial of over 67000, which means it was one of the last 4,000 or so
Type 94s ever produced. The only late feature it does not have is the
'short grips.' Surprisingly, this pistol has a better trigger and
smoother metal finish than does my 19.5. I've had a 19.9 at one time,
and it too seemed rougher than this 20.2 even though the 19.9 had the
standard cocking knob and rear sights.
So there you have it, my attempt to set at least some of the record
straight on the Type 94 and to view it from the perspective of the
Japanese who designed and fielded it. Probably a lot above that you
might find a bit dull or overly detailed, but as i said in the
beginning, i find this design strangely intriguing. At any rate this is
the Type 94 pistol.