Recently, I wrote an article/thread that went into detail regarding the Type 94 Nambu 8mm pistol. That pistol was produced in only one series over a 10 year time period, and the majority of pistols were built by a single factory. This thread is a continuation of the theme and will examine the Type 14 Nambu pistol in detail as well, though perhaps not in quite as much for the simple fact that the Type 14 was manufactured for nearly 20 years in 4 series, by 5 separate factories. Still, I hope to provide an indepth look at the most iconic Japanese pistol of WWII.
The Predecessor of the Type 14, the Type 26 Revolver:
Official Name: ni-ju-roku-nen-shiki (Two Ten Six Year Type)
Weight: (2.25 lb) 927 g unloaded
Length: 8.5 in (230 mm)
Barrel length: 4.7 in (120 mm)
Cartridge: 9mm Japanese revolver (9x22mm)
Action: Double-action Only, Top-Break with Automatic Ejection
Feed system: 6 round cylinder
Sights: Iron, Fixed Front Blade, V-notch Rear
Muzzle Velocity: 500-634 feet per sec
History & Use;
The Type 26 revolver was Japan's first domestically designed and
produced modern sidearm. It was adopted during a period of rapid
modernization, specifically during the 26th year of the reighn of the
Meiji Emperor. Though it was officially adopted and classified in 1893,
actual production did not begin until 1894 and initially output was low.
These revolvers were built by the Tokyo Artillery Arsenal at Koishikawa
until roughly 1923, though it is possible some revolvers were assembled
from parts as late as 1928. In total approximately 59,000-60,000 Type
26 revolvers were produced; not an especially high number considering it
was the standard issue sidearm in most of the Imperial military for
over three decades.
This revolver has a unique Japanese design, but it did borrow heavily
from foreign revolvers. For example, the henged side plate was copied
from the Austrian Rast-Gasser and the top-break frame with automatic
ejection was taken from Smith & Wesson. The Type 26 had a
double-action only trigger and the hammer did not have a spur of any
kind. The sights were fixed and basic, but adequate for the relatively
low powered 9x22mm cartridge. This cartridge was very similar to a
contemporary one; the .38 S&W, though the Japanese round was
slightly less powerful. One design aspect that has earned the Type 26
criticism is the fact that its cylinder can easily be rotated in either
direction, as it only locksup when the trigger is pulled. This is not a
desirable feature to be sure, but it was quite common in late 19th
century DAO revolvers, such as the Swedish 1887 Nagant.
The Type 26 would be manufactured throughout World War I and would see
use in several conflicts including the Russo-Japanese War and the
Invasion of China. By the 1930s, many older revolvers were in need of
referbishment and thus were sent back into various arsenals to be
rebuilt. Originally, the revolver had a high-grade charcoal blued finish
to the metal parts, but parts that needed refinishing during the
referbishment process received a more standard rust-bluing. Also, if a
revolver's grips were damaged or missing, they would be replaced.
Original grips were wooden with a checkered pattern and replacement
grips were also made of wood, though with a more simplistic horizontally
ridged pattern somewhat similar to that found on the Type 14 automatic.
Its also worth noting that Type 26s that were rebuilt during the 1930s
can often be found with a mix of charcoal and rust blued parts as both
original and reblued parts were used.
The Type 26 would be a substitute standard issue weapon in the Imperial
military during World War II, right up until the end in 1945. So some
revolvers were in active service for nearly 50 years.
The First Nambu Pistols:
Model 1902 'Grandpa' Nambu;
The Model 1902 was Kijiro Nambu's first automatic pistol design. It has
also been called the 'Type A' or more often by the nickname of 'Grandpa
Nambu.' It was never officially adopted by the Japanese military,
however its design would directly influence all later Nambu pistols
including the Type 14.
The concept of the Model 1902 can be traced back to 1897, when Captain
Kijiro Nambu was transfered to the Tokyo Arsenal. He was briefly
assigned to work on the Type 30 Arisaka series, which would shortly
there after go into production. Next Nambu received a promotion to the
rank of Major and was put in charge of the '30 Year Automatic Pistol
Plan.' This was a commission charged with developing a self-loading
pistol for Japan's military. It should be noted that this plan was given
low priority, but nevertheless, Major Nambu took his assignment
seriously and was dedicated to developing a self-loading handgun.
Its impossible to say which, if any, European automatic pistols
influenced Nambu around the turn of the century. Japanese military
officials had been exposed to several early automatic designs such as
the Austrian Steyr 1894 and both the German C96 'broomhandle' Mauser and
the Luger 1900 model. The Nambu design did use a locking system similar
to that of the C96 and had a grip angle reminisceent of the Luger, but
it was in many other ways very much its own unique construction.
Furthermore, there is no hard historical evidence that Nambu based his
pistol on any other designer's firearm.
In 1902, Mr. Nambu unvailed his first self-loading automatic handgun
prototype. He simply called it the Model 1902 and some others gave it
the name of 'Type A.' This pistol was also the very first to be
chambered in the bottle necked 8x22mm cartridge, which would go on to
become the standard service round of the Japanese military for nearly
half a century. The M1902 was a locked breech pistol with a single
recoil/return spring contained in its own housing, a rear cocking bolt,
and fed from 8 round magazines with wooden (or in some rare cases horn)
base plates. This model also featured tangent rear sights adjustable
from 50 to 500 meters, a grip safety located below the trigger guard,
and a fixed welded lanyard loop. All original M1902s were manufactured
with a slotted grip to allow the use of a shoulder stock.
In 1903 serial production of the first Nambu design began at Koishikawa,
Tokyo Arsenal. Most were practically handbuilt. Two different sizes of
shoulder stock were also developed for the M1902; one of which was
telescoping allowing its length to be fitted to the user. A leather belt
holster was also created for this pistol for those not wishing to have
the bulk of a stock-holster. In 1904 and 1905, various military
officials tested Nambu's pistols and several design improvements were
suggested. As a result, production was haulted in 1906, after only about
2,400 examples had been produced. Today the M1902 is commonly referred
to by collectors as the 'Grandpa Nambu,' as it never received an actual
military name or designation. Surviving pistols are exceedingly rare and
highly valuable, especially with an original shoulder stock.
Model 1902 Modified 'Papa Nambu;
As its name suggests, the next Nambu pistol to come along was an
improved or modified version of the M1902. This pistol has been known by
various names including: Type A (ko gata in Japanese), Model 1902
Modified, Type 04 (or just Type 4), and Nambu Type (Nam-bu-shiki). Its
official name however was just riku-shiki or Army Type; and today
collectors call it the 'Papa Nambu.'
The Papa incorporated several improvements suggested during military
testing of the M1902. Both designs were internally very similar, with
most of the changes being cosmetic or ergonomic. Differences between the
1) The Papa featured an enlarged trigger guard from the Grandpa as many felt the size of the original's was far too small.
2) The cocking piece was reshaped to make it easier to grip.
3) The magazines' base plates were changed to ones made of aluminium to both make them stronger and easier to manufacture.
4) The Grandpa's fixed welded lanyard loop was changed to one that could swivel on the Papa.
5) The Papa's trigger was made larger and thicker than the one found on the Grandpa.
The changes of the Papa did not appear all at once, though it can be
said that the first improved Nambu prototype appeared in 1904, with
fullscale production commencing in 1906. Also at this time, the Japanese
Army held trials featuring Nambu's latest design. Ironically, though
the pistol was officially named the Army Type, it was never actually
adopted by that military branch, though many Army officers did privately
purchase the 'Type 04' as it became known. The Japanese Navy on the
otherhand did accept it in 1909 and placed an initial order for 1,500
Koishikawa Tokyo was the first manufacturer of the Type 04, starting
production in 1906. Tokyo Gas & Electric (TGE) was given the first
Navy contract, so it also tooled up for production a short time later.
The first Koishikawa pistols were made available for Army officers to
purchase at Officers' Unions and the next runs were sold as foreign
contracts to China and Siam. After the Navy's first contract was
completed, a second run was ordered in 1915, for 2,500 pistols, which
would also be built by TGE. It should be noted that the first Naval
order called for pistols to be slotted for a shoulder stock, but before
the first units were delivered, the Navy changed its mind and asked to
have the slots filled. All subsequent Type 4s would be manufactured
without the slot. TGE pistols were nearly identical to Koishikawa
examples, except that TGE used a frame made from two pieces, which
required fewer machining steps to create. Koishikawa would continue to
use the original 1 piece frame however.
The Tokyo Arsenal would continue to build Papa Nambus until the Great
Kanto earthquake damaged the Koishikawa factory in 1923. After this
time, a few more pistols were built from previously manufactured parts,
but no new frames would be constructed by the arsenal. In total, it
seems that about 4,600 pistols were built by Tokyo Arsenal. On the other
hand, its less certain exactly how many Type 04s were built by TGE. The
two Navy contracts called for a total of 4,000 pistols, however some
sources seem to indicate that only 3,600 were actually delivered.
Furthermore in 1925, leftover parts from Koishikawa were shipped to TGE
for assembly. About 700 pistols were manufactured during this final run,
built witha mix of TA and TGE parts. It appears most all of these
final Papa Nambus went to Army officers. So in total, approximately
8,900 to 9,300 Model 1902 Modified Nambus were produced from 1906
through the late 1920s.
The Type 4 Nambu served along side the Type 26 revolver in the Japanese
military during the First World War. Naturally, it also saw heavy use
during the invasion of China in the early 1930s. By WWII however, most
of these pistols were showing signs of age and often hard use. as a
result, they were rebuilt and referbished to keep them going. Pistols
that were reworked early on received forced matched or unnumbered
replacement parts, but as spare parts dwindled and more and more Papas
brokedown, some pistols were salvaged for their parts. As a result, late
referbs would often come out with mismatched parts. Nevertheless, many
thousands would serve as substitute standard pistols throughout the
entirity of WWII.
The development & Early History of the Type 14:
The ju-yon-nen-shiki (Ten Four Year Type) pistol was the single most
widely produced Nambu or for that matter, Japanese designed pistol ever.
It is commonly referred to today as the Type 14 and was produced from
1926, until the final day of WWII in 1945. More than 280,000 of these
pistols were manufactured during this time period; more than all of
Nambu's other designs put together and even combined with Type 26
production. The Type 14 was a highly product-improved version of the
Model 1902 Modified (Papa/Type 04) and its roots can be traced back to WWI.
Many were quite happy with the Type 04 Nambu, but it still had some
glaring short-comings. For one it was expensive and time-consuming to
produce, requiring rather highly skilled labor. For another it was
relatively delicate for a military sidearm, firing a relatively weak
cartridge. Thus starting around 1916, after the second Navy contract,
Kijiro Nambu began looking into ways to improve his design.
He did come up with several updates and may have even produced some
toolroom prototypes, but in 1924, he retired from his final post;
overseeing General of the Tokyo Artillery Arsenal. He left behind
several drawings and plans and for the next 2 years a military committee
made of engineers, machinists, and some of Nambu's own understudies
worked together on completing the next generation automatic pistol. It
seems that it was during this time period that the Type 14's rather
awkward manual safety was incorporated into the design. In late 1925,
the recently constructed prototype Nambu was accepted by the Japanese
military as the 14 Year Type pistol. It received this designation as
1925 was the 14th year of the reign of the Taisho Emperor.
During 1926, the Nagoya Arsenal's factory at Chigusa was setup to begin
serial production of the Type 14. Previously only prototypes had
beenbuilt, but the first production pistols came off the assembly line
in November of that year. Manufacturing was briefly haulted during the
next month upon the death of the Emperor. Taisho died on December 25th
and his son Hirohito assended to the thrown at the same time. Thus 1926
was both Year 15 of the Taisho reighn and Year 1 of the Showa era (the
name given to Hirohito's reign). No Type 14s were produced during Year
1, but production did resume in January of 1927, or Year 2.
Later in 1927, the first pistols were delivered to the Army for field
testing and general issue. Mostly they were carried by NCOs, who
received issued weapons. Officers on the other hand were expected to
purchase their own sidearms at their local Officer's Union. There they
could purchase both domestic Japanese pistols and several foreign
designs which were approved for military use. Most high ranking or
wealthy officers continued to buy foreign designs from such makers as
Colt and FNH, leaving the Type 14 for young, low ranking, and often
less well-off officers. Nevertheless, the new Nambu design began to work
its way into every unit and level of the Japanese military during the
During the middle part of 1928, Tokyo Arsenal's Koishikawa factory
became the second manufacturer of Type 14 pistols; having previously
built all of Nambu's earlier automatic pistols and also the Type 26
revolver series. One might speculate that Koishikawa started production
of the Type 14 two years later than Chigusa, as the factory was still
rebuilding after the destruction it suffered during the Great Kanto
earthquake, but this is only a theory. So by the end of the decade, two
major arsenals were turning out the new pistols and many were made
available for use during Japan's invasion of China.
In 1929, the 8x22mm cartridge itself was improved slightly. Its muzzle
velocity was increased from 950-980 fps, to 1,035-1,065 fps, by
increasing the powder charge fractionally. The bullet's weight would
remain the same at between 100 and 102 grains. The original 1902 Nambu
design relied on a single relatively small many
recoil/return spring located on the left side of the bolt inside a
separate housing, which meant it was not especially strong. The Type 14
though was designed with a dual recoil/return spring arrangement with
one spring on each side of the bolt, fitted inside a groove. The Type
14's system meant it was easier to produce and more reliable, but it had
the added benefit of allowing for a more powerful powder charge to be
fired. The 1929 8mm loading wasn't hugely more powerful than the older
one, but every bit does help. In fact, the improved loading could be
fired in older pistols safely but only a few times before the strain
would start to show on key parts. The Type 14 could fire it indefinitely
As more and more pistols were purchased and issued; and as they saw use
and combat, a few problems were uncovered. For one, the Type 14 suffered
from light primer strikes. The firing pin, or striker as it is
sometimes known, did not always impact a cartridge with enough force to
ignite it. This was clearly a design flaw. Another important issue had more to do with the soldiers themselves and their
training. The Type 14 was the first automatic pistol that most of them
had ever operated and many thought simply removing the magazine emptied
the pistol. They did not always understand that it was still possible
for a round to remain in the chamber. This misunderstanding lead to
several accidental discharges. Its unclear if anyone actually died, but
several injuries were reported. In response to these two issues, three
upgrades were developed. To implement the changes, the Japanese military
issued the 'Great Recall of 1932.'
The recall ordered that all Type 14 pistols be turned in to unit armorers, and from there they were to be shipped back to various
national arsenals for retrofitting. There pistols received a new safety
feature; a magazine disconnect. This new unit would not allow the
trigger to be pulled, if a magazine were not inserted, thus lowering the
likelihood of an accident. Next a new firing pin/striker and firing pin
extension/striker guide assembly was installed. It was determined that
the cause of the light strikes was due to a too heavy firing pin that
was not being given enough force by a too short spring and extension.
The original firing pin was 87mm long and quite heavy. The upgraded part
was shortened to 73mm and as a result was lighter. Inversely the firing
pin extension was lengthened from 35mm to 47mm. It is unclear if the
striker spring itself was altered though it appears not to have been.
The new parts did improve the Type 14's reliability, though the design
would continue to suffer from a less than 100% track record throughout
its service life. The firing pins themselves were prone to a relatively
high rate of breakage as well. So much so that starting in the early
1930s, all pistols were issued with at least one spare firing pin.
During the second half of 1932, Type 14 manufacturing began to see some
changes as well. In August of that year, the Kokura Arsenal began
assembling pistols using Koishikawa produced parts, under Tokyo Arsenal
supervision. Three months later, Nagoya's Chigusa factory would stop
manufacturing the pistols altogether. Only about 7,800 examples came out
of Chigusa from 1926 through 1932. However, a year later, the Nagoya
Arsenal would contract with Nambu Ju Seizosho, a private firm owned in
part by Kijiro Nambu himself, to build Type 14s for the military. By
December of 1933,Nambu Ju Seizosho had its new assembly line up and
running. These pistols were being built at the Kokubunji factory, under
Nagoya Arsenal's supervision. The serials would pick up where Chigusa's
left off, at just over 7800.
In October of 1934, the Kokura Arsenal was given inspection rights and
Tokyo Koishikawa haulted production. Kokura pistols would keep the old
Tokyo 'stacked cannon balls' proof marking and for about six months,
pistols built there would have a mix of both Kokura and Koishikawa made
parts. By April of 1935, all of the old Koishikawa parts were used up,
and purely Kokura Arsenal pistols are found after serial 31900 or so.
At some point during this time period, Kokura would introduce a further
improved firing pin extension/striker guide. The old 35mm short and
updated 47mm guides were both round where they telescoped inside the
hollow round area of the firing pin/striker. This proved to be
problematic during Chinese and Korean winters. The two round metal
surfaces would lock together when very cold, causing the firing pin to
loose force or for it not to even move at all. Thus the pistol would not
function properly. To prevent the two parts from seizing up, Kokura
started making the firing pin extension with flat sides for most of its
length, which diminished the surface contact area between the two parts.
It was a simple solution, which nevertheless improved the Type 14's
reliability in the cold a great deal. The new extension was soon copied
by Kokubunji and would become standard specification.
1936 was not without further events in the pistol's history either. In
June of that year, at roughly serial 35400, Kokura Arsenal too
discontinued production. In December, Nambu Ju Seizosho merged with two
other firms to form the Chuo Kogyo corporation, whose factory would
remain located at Kokubunji. Also in 1936, Type 14 dating would become
disorganized for a time. Most pistols produced between Showa 11.3
(March, 1936) and Showa 11.9 (September, 1936) would have the date of
11.3 stamped on their frames, regardless of the actual month of their
manufacture. Specifically, Kokubunji would do a normal run with the 11.3
date and then a normal run of 11.4 dated pistols, but afterwards there
was a very large run of pistols, all with the 11.3 date again. The next
date to appear would be 11.9, with no pistols found with 11.5-11.8
dates. It is unknown why this lapse happened, but with Kokura's Type 14
line closing and Chuo Kogyo's formation, perhaps it was just a very
hectic time. By the year's end though, production seems to have returned
to normal. Kokubunji would remain the sole Type 14 producer until the
beginning of the Second World War.
The Type 14 In WWII:
Shortly before the outbreak of WWII in Europe and Japan's increased
presence in Mainland Asia, the Type 14 received another round of changes
and improvements. First, at the end of 1938, a new style of cocking
knob with more finely machined knurling was introduced. It is not known
why this switch occurred and honestly, only the very observent would
notice it most likely. The next year however, three other changes would
appear that just about anyone could recognize.
In September of 1939, the famous 'large' trigger guard was introduced,
also known as the 'Manchurian' or 'Kiska' trigger guard. This design
change was implemented to allow the Type 14 to more easily be fired
while the user was wearing thick winter gloves. It would become
specification standard and appear on all pistols, even very late war
ones, manufactured after its introduction. The next change was in the
grip panels. Specifically Kokubunji switched from using grips with 25
horizontal grooves, to ones with 17, with the last grooves just below
the magazine release. This change left the top third of the panels
smooth wood and saved a bit of machining time. This was a cosmetic
change which did not impact the weapon's function or handling. In fact, I
personally feel these 17 grooved grips to be more aesthetically
appealing. Finally, in December of the same year, a secondary magazine
retaining spring was introduced located at the base of the front grip
strap. The original Type 14 design had a more or less drop-free
magazine, but this lead to many soldiers loosing magazines in the field.
The retaining spring was added to prevent the magazine from coming out,
without direct downward pressure from the user. To allow the magazine
to engage the new spring, a slot was cut in its front. As with the
enlarged trigger guard, this feature would become standard on all later
pistols. In October of 1941, The Kokubunji factory would reach serial
99999 and thus the end of the original non-series production run.
This was a problem as the Japanese military was insistent that serial
numbers not exceed five digits. So as had already been done with rifle
production, a series mark analogous to the letter A was added to a new
serial block, which started over with serial 0 at Kokubunji. This became
known as the First Series and began in October of 1941. At the same
time, with war with the United States on the horizon, the Nagoya Arsenal
decided to begin Type 14 production at a new branch factory located at
Toriimatsu. The first Toriimatsu pistols were manufactured in December,
just as the war with the USA began. As both Kokubunji and Toriimatsu
were officially under Nagoya control, both produced pistols in the First
Series, with Toriimatsu beginning with serial 50000. Around this time,
at the same factory, a further shortened and lightened firing
pin/striker appeared too. This third size of pin was 65mm long and used
an even longer extension/guide. This was yet another attempt to make the
Type 14 more reliable and the firing pin more durable. Even at the end
of the war, the pistol's striker system was really never completely
perfected, and spare firing pins continued to be issued with every
In 1942, production shortcuts and expediencies began to show up in Nambu
pistols. Sometime during the middle of the year, the mahogany grip
panels went from being finished with a highly refined lacker made from
the sap of the Urushi tree, to having a simple lacquer applied with a
four brush stroke method. This change did not make the grips less
durable, but did make them less attractive to feel and look at. Near the
start of 1943, the Toriimatsu factory began to machine the ends of the
trigger henge pin flush with the rest of the trigger frame. Previously,
all Type 14s had a trigger pin with rounded ends protruding above the
trigger. Its worth noting that the Kokubunji factory continued to build
trigger frames in the original manner. Also during 1943, Toriimatsu
began bluing most of the small parts, rather than leaving them with a
straw coloring which resulted from the heat treatment process. Again,
Kokubunji continued to manufacture pistols with strawed parts; all
except the bolt that is. In late 1942, Kokubunji started bluing their
bolts. In November of 1943, Toriimatsu finished serial 99999 in the
First Series, and moved on to the Second series, starting with serial 0.
Kokubunji on the other hand was still producing pistols in the First
series at this time. In fact, Kokubunji would never get even close to
completing its assigned half of the First Series.
In January of 1944, after a few thousand pistols had been built in the
Second Series, Toriimatsu introduced some design changes aimed at
reducing machining steps and increasing output. First, a new perfectly
round cocking knob was introduced with simple checkering running all
around it. This knob would replace the original style with machined
grooves, flat top and bottum sections, and finely knurled rounded sides.
The new knob did save a good bit of time and was basically just the
blank metal part with checkering added. Next, the rear sight base or
bridge was shortened and the rear notch itself went from the undercut
inverted V shape, to a simple square notch. Kokubunji on the other hand
would continue to stick to the original design and would not adopt the
simplifications. Pistols made during early to mid 1944 were still made
with a high degree of surface finishing and exhibited good machining. As
the year progressed though, and as the war with the USA continued to
deplete Japan's resources, the quality of all small arms began to
suffer, including the Nambu pistol. Also, as more and more soldiers were
lost in the Pacific, many of the skilled workers at both Toriimatsu and
Kokubunji were conscripted as soldiers; leaving new and untrained
laborers to take their places at the factories. In August, Kokubunji
ceased all Type 14 production at roughly serial 20300, in the First
Series. The factory had decided to focus soly on producing the Nambu
type 94 pistol and would remain in operation through June of the next
year. Toriimatsu continued to build Type 14 pistols and in November of
1944, would begin using simplified 'slab sided' wooden grips. This was
another manufacturing shortcut, which eliminated machining the 24
grooves into the grip panels that Toriimatsu had previously been doing.
Instead, simple smooth sided grips were used, which unfortunately
proved to be much weaker than the older grooved style. That or perhaps
just the quality of the wood itself degraded around this time.
Regardless, slab grips cracked at much higher rates than grooved ones.
This type of grip would remain standard until the final weeks of the
war. Pistols made during and after late 1944 often exhibit rougher
machining and less attention to external polishing and fitting.
Toriimatsu would continue building pistols from newly manufactured and
matching parts until mid 1945, despite material and labor shortages; and
the ever increasing frequency of Allied bombing missions over Japan.
However, by July of 1945, things came to ahead. By this time, the
factory was simply unable to make many required Type 14 parts, including
grips, bolts, and magazines. This was due in part to lack of new
supplies, and in part to damage inflicted during recent B29 raids. All
Toriimatsu could do was to assemble pistols from any and all available
parts. Some of these parts were leftovers shipped over from Kokubunji
when that factory closed down its Type 14 assembly line, and these were
often the best parts used. Other parts were ones that had been
previously rejected at Toriimatsu, because of some flaw in the metal or a
machining error. Finally, some parts were even salvaged from damaged
pistols returned to the factory for repair or disposal. Pistols
assembled from these mixed bags of second rate parts often were not
serial matched, or even serialized at all. Most did have the date code
and a serial on the frame, but otherwise markings were not consistent.
Often these late Toriimatsu pistols were built with leftover 17 grooved
Kokubunji grips too. Nambus made in July and August of the final year of
the war have become known as 'last ditch pistols' by modern collectors.
Type 14 pistols would continue to be assembled from parts right up
until Japan's official surrender. The highest serial that has been
recorded in the Second Series is 73291, however a few pistols with out
of sequence serials in the 75000 block have also surfaced.
The Type 14 Nambu was in serial production from November of 1926,
continuously until August of 1945. During this nearly 19 year production
run, over 280,000 pistols were built by 5 different factories, under 3
different Arsenals. It was the standard sidearm of the Imperial Japanese
Navy and Army during both the war in Asia and in the Pacific. It was
issued to NCOs and purchased by many officers, until 1943. During that
year, the supply of foreign pistols dried up in Officers Unions and as a
result, the military began issuing pistols rather than allowing
officers to buy their own. So the Type 14 became even more widespread
during the final two years of WWII. After the war, it was officially
retired from Japanese service; however, many continued to be used in
China where they had been captured by the communists, along with other
Japanese small arms. Many more migrated to the USA in the hands of
returning GIs, as a pistol was a much more convenient war trophy than a
rifle or machine gun.
Type 14 Technical Specifications:
The Type 14 Nambu pistol is a locked breech, automatic/self-loading
pistol, that is striker fired and that feeds from a single column box
magazine. Its design and operation are quite simple but interesting.
When the trigger is pulled, it presses up on the front of the searbar,
which pivits and its back end lowers. This releases the tail of the
firing pin (or striker), which is pushed forward by a thin but long
spring, to strike the primer of a round in the chamber. When the bottle
necked 8mm round is ignited, its pressure pushes the barrel and bolt
back together; while the bullet itself exits the barrel. The barrel has a
large machined extension at its rear that includes the ejection port
and bolt housing. Under the barrel extension, there is a lug that holds a
hammer shaped locking block. Once the barrel and bolt travel rearward
together for a short time, a lever on the locking block is turned by the
frame, which stops the barrel's travel against the frame. The
boltcontinues to travel backwards until it fully clears the ejection
port. Two return springs, one on each side of the bolt, then prepell the
bolt back forward. This action strips a fresh round from the magazine
and pushes it back towards the chamber. When the bolt meets the barrel
again, both move forward together after the locking block pivits back to
its original position. Also at the same time, the rear end of the
searbar catches the tab on the underside of the firing pin; holding it
back and cocking the weapon. Magazines made until 1941 had a nickled
finish and afterwards were blued. The magazine is angled like that of
the German P.08 Luger and also like the Luger, it holds 8 rounds. There
is a button on the right side that can be used to assist in loading. A
finger can be used or the tip of a cleaning rod. The magazine's
baseplate is made of stamped aluminium and should not be removed unless
repairs are required. The grips are made of lackered mahogany wood,
which is quite thin and light. Early panels from Chigusa had 26 grooves,
later ones from both Tokyo and Kokura had 25. Originally Kokubunji also
used 25 grooved grips, but switched to a 17 line pattern in 1939. When
Toriimatsu opened in 1941, it used a 24 line pattern, but switched to
simple smooth sided grips in late 1944, to save time.
Three different types of firing pins were used: the original heavy 87mm,
the improved lightened 73mm, and the late wartime short 65mm. Four
types of firing pin extensions were used: the original round short 35mm,
the improved round medium 47mm, the further improved flat-sided medium
47mm, and the extended round late wartime 55mm. There were a total of 5
variations of the cocking knob, but the two major types are the original
machined with grooves and flat top and bottum, and the late wartime
simplified round with checkering. The other variations have to do with
patterns on the sides and back. A few different shaped safeties appear
as well. Mostly they are the same except for a slightly narrower or
wider tab. Finally, three different sizes of lanyard loop seem to exist:
the original small loop for the 5mm lanyard, a medium sized loop for
the 6mm lanyard, and a 7mm loop which appeared later and was for the
largest 7mm lanyard. Though many of the small parts of the Type 14 were
changed, upgraded, or just manufactured differently by different
factories; the core design itself was altered very little from the
beginning in 1925, til the end in 1945.
The Type 14 breaks down into: frame with safety, rear sight, and grip.
Trigger frame, which is a sealed unit. Barrel with front sight and
extension. Bolt with extractor, and magazine. Small parts include the
cocking knob, firing pin, firing pin spring, firing pin extension,
locking block, and both equally sized return springs. Disassembly is
quite easy and can be done without tools. Simply press the muzzle down
on a firm surface (or a leg) and at the same time press in on the
magazine catch and pull the trigger frame down and off the weapon. Then
while keeping the muzzle pressed down and the barrel slightly back,
press in on the end of the firing pin extension that protrudes from the
back of the cocking knob. While doing this, unscrew the cocking knob and
remove it along with the firing pin assembly, which will slide out of
the bolt. With the trigger frame and cocking piece removed, the barrel
and bolt will slide out of the frame. From there the parts just fall
apart and fit back together easily. There is no need to remove the
safety, magazine catch, grips, or magazine disconnect. If you do remove
the grips with the trigger frame off, the magazine release will come out
as only the trigger frame and left grip hold it in place.
Frame mostly stripped down, you should not go further unless required.
Bolt with return springs
The underbarrel lug and locking block unit
the magazine disconnect safety (it is not advisable to remove this part,
but I had it out of my father's T14 performing a repair).
Official Designation: Ju-Yon-Nen-Shiki
Weight: 900 g (1.98 lb) unloaded
Length: 230mm (9.06 inches)
Barrel length: 117mm (4.61 inches)
Sights: Iron, front drift adjustable in dovetail, rear fixed notch (early inverted V, late simple square)
Operating System: Recoil operated with locked breech
Return Spring: Dual (identical springs located on each side of the bolt)
Trigger: Single Action Only
Firing System: Striker fired with 2 piece firing pin assembly
Safety Systems: Manual safety lever and Automatic magazine disconnect
safety (in all models built after 1932 and retrofitted into most all
Cartridge: 8x22mm Nambu
Bullet Weight: both 100 grain and 102 grain in military loads
Muzzle velocity: 950-984 ft/s (289.6 m/s) (original 8mm loading)
Alternate: 1,039-1066 fps ((post-1929 increased load for Type 14 specifically)
Effective range: 50 m
Feed system: 8 round box magazine
Introduction: 1925 (Taisho 14)
Serial Production: 1926 (Taisho 15th)
Final Production: 1945 (Showa 20th)
Approximate Number Manufactured: 279,000-282,000
Variants: None (All had same length barrel, grip, sights, caliber, and finish)
Production Timeline & Changes To The Design;
As in the Type 94 Nambu article, below is a timeline for the production
of the Type 14, with most of the major changes to the design outlined.
The dates are given as they appear on the pistols, which would be Showa,
meaning the reighn of Emperor Hirohito. The first number is the year of
his reighn and the second is the month. 1926 was Year 1, 1927, Year 2,
and so on. January is the 1st month and December the 12th.
14.xx (Taisho reighn) - The Type 14 was officially accepted as an
Imperial sidearm, however serial production did not begin during this
15.11 - The first Type 14s came off the assembly line at the Chigusa factory, a branch of the Nagoya Arsenal.
15.12 - Emperor Taisho died.
2.1 - First pistols produced during the Showa era. It does not seem that
any were produced in the 1st year, which was only a few days at the end
2.xx - The first pistols were delivered to the Japanese military.
3.xx - Manufacturing at Tokyo Artillery Arsenal's Koishikawa factory was established.
3.5 - Serial #1 pistol came off the Koishikawa assembly line.
4.xx - A new more powerful loading of the 8x22mm cartridge was
introduced. This loading was specifically designed for the Type 14 with
its dual recoil spring arrangement.
5.xx - Late in the year, the Showa character was added before the production/date code.
7.xx - 'The Great Recall of 1932' was issued. All pistols in the field
were ordered returned to the arsenals for mandatory refits.
1) Pistols received the magazine disconnect safety unit.
2) A new shorter/lighter firing pin (striker) was fitted. Original part was 87mm long; improved one was 73mm.
3) A new longer firing pin extension (STriker guide) was also installed. Original was 35mm; improved was 47mm.
7.8 - The Kokura factory began assembling pistols from Koishikawa manufactured parts, under Tokyo Arsenal supervision.
7.11 - Nagoya's Chigusa factory haulted production at roughly serial #7830.
8.xx - The privately owned Nambu Ju Seizosho factory at Kokubunji tooled up for Type 14 production.
8.12 - The first Kokubunji pistol produced under Nagoya supervision came
off the assembly line with the approximate serial of #7831.
9.10 - Koishikawa would stop manufacturing complete pistols, and Kokura
would continue to build them from leftover Koishikawa parts.
10.xx - An improved striker guide with flat sides would be introduced by Kokura.
10.3 - Kokura would use up the last of the Koishikawa manufactured parts.
10.4 - Kokura would begin producing pistols using all of their own parts, at roughly serial 31900.
11.3 - Strange production dating from the Kokubunji factory, sometimes
called off dating. Would jump from 11.3 to 11.9, with only a few 11.4
pistols in between. seems pistols would receive the 11.3 date regardless
of which month they were manufactured in for a 6 month period.
11.6 - Kokura would cease production at roughly serial 35400.
11.12 - Nambu Ju Seizosho would merge with 2 other firms to become Chuo Kogyo. Would remain at the Kokubunji location.
13.12 - More finely knurled cocking knob would be introduced by Kokubunji.
14.9 - The trigger guard would be enlarged in order to allow the pistol to be operated while wearing winter gloves.
14.10 - Kokubunji would switch from grips with 25 grooves, to ones with 17.
14.12 - The secondary magazine retaining spring was introduced.
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.
16.8 - Magazines would go from a nickled finish to a blued finish.
16.10 - Kokubunji would use up the final serial of 99999.
16.10 - Kokubunji would add a series mark before the serial and begin the 'First Series' at # 0.
16.10 - The Nagoya Arsenal would setup Type 14 production at a new branch located at Toriimatsu.
16.12 - The first pistol would come off the Toriimatsu assembly line with serial number 50000, as part of the First series.
17.xx - Toriimatsu pistols would introduce a further shortened and
lightened firing pin (striker) of 65mm, and a longer firing pin
extension (guide) of 55mm. Kokubunji would retain the older style.
17.xx - Grips went from having an ornate Urushi lacker finish, to a simplified 4 brush coat lacker finish.
17.6 - Kokubunji switched from straw coloured, to blued bolts.
18.2 - The trigger henge pins, which had previously been left rounded,
began to be machined flush with the rest of the trigger frame at
18.11 - Toriimatsu reached serial 99999 in the First Series and started over with # 0 in the SEcond Series.
19.1 - Toriimatsu introduced a simplified checkered round cocking knob,
though Kokubunji continued to use the original machined style.
19.1 - The rear sight was simplified from the original inverted V
undercut style, to a basic squared off notch. Also the base/bridge was
made slightly shorter.
19.xx - By this time, Toriimatsu was no longer using straw coloured parts, though Kokubunji continued to use them.
19.8 - Kokubunji discontinued Type 14 production at roughly serial 20300
First Series, to focus exclusively on Type 94 production.
19.11 - Toriimatsu, now the sole producer, introduced ungrooved slab-sided wooden grips; previously had 24 grooves.
20.7 - Toriimatsu lost the ability to manufacture many parts and began
assembling pistols from leftovers from Kokubunji, rejects, and take-offs
from damaged pistols. 20.7-20.8 - These pistols called Last-Ditch.
Often parts were not serial matching or were not serialed at all.
20.8 - Production ended with Japan's surrender. Last recorded Type 14
serial was 73291, though some were made out of order with serials in the
75000 range, so exact total production is unknown.
Checkered 1902 Modified Type 4 Grip
Early 25 groove used by Koishikawa, Kokura, and Kokubunji
Later 17 groove used only by Kokubunji
Later 24 groove used by Toriimatsu
Late war slab sided grip used by Toriimatsu
Both variations of Type 26 revolver grips for comparison
There was also a 26 grooved grip used by Chigusa only, that is not pictured here.
(From left to right: 1902, early Type 14, transitional Type 14, and wartime Type 14)
Papa mags were similar to Type 14s but had less powerful springs and
checkered finger plates at their bases. Type 14 mags made during the
1930s were all nickled, and when the secondary retaining spring was
added, the early mags with notches for it were also nickled. By late
1941 however, all magazines were being blued and the design would remain
more or less unchanged for the rest of production.
Not all changes happened at an exact time or all at once. For example,
it is unknown exactly when the improved flat-sided Kokura firing pin
extension came into use, so the given date is an estimation. Likewise,
the Great Recall of 1932 took months or even a year to be carried out. I
do not know why so many of the early factories produced Type 14s for
such short times. All together, Chigusa, Koishikawa, and Kokura produced
just over 43,200 pistols.
After Japan declared war on the USA, the quality of the fit and finish
found on Type 14s remained quite high for about two years. In late 1943,
the bluing started to decline a bit, becoming a thinner; darker type.
Likewise, the edges of the grips began to receive less attention and
thus were more squared off, rather than nicely rounded.
As the timeline shows, Toriimatsu was the factory that started most of
the design shortcuts aimed at decreasing production time and expenses.
Kokubunji maintained quite good fit and finish right up until its final
summer of production. Pistols made as late as April still looked quite
good. Of course, the numbers also show Toriimatsu's shortcuts allowed
them to produce far more pistols than Kokubunji. From the end of 1933,
until the middle of 1944, Kokubunji built approximately 112,500 Type
14s. In comparison, from late 1941, until the middle of 1945, Toriimatsu
built approximately 123,300 pistols.
Other Pistols Used By Imperial Officers:
The three most common Japanese sidearms used during the Chinese and
Pacific campeigns were the Type 14, Type 94, and Type 26. Though these
pistols made up the vast majority, others were also issued to or
purchased by Japanese soldiers. Here is a brief accounting of some of
these 'other' pistols encountered by GIs during WWII.
otsu gata Nambu;
Official Designation: (none)
Weight: 650g (23 oz) Unloaded
Length: 171mm (6.75 in)
Barrel length: 83mm (3.25 in)
Cartridge: 7mm Nambu (7x20)
Action: Short recoil, locked breech with single return spring
Bullet Weight: 55 grains
Muzzle velocity: 800-950 fps
Magazine Capacity: 7 rounds
Sights: Fixed Iron front blade, simple notch rear
This might just be the most collectable of Nambu's designs and is
commonly referred to today as the 'Baby Nambu.' Originally it was called
the otsu gata (Type B), small size pistol, or just the small Nambu. It
never had an official name as it was never accepted into military
service, though hundreds of high ranking and/or wealthy officers did
privately purchase it. The pistol itself was just marked N for Nambu
along witha serial and the logo of the arsenal that built it.
The Baby was developed shortly after the Grandpa Nambu went into serial
production in 1903. From this time until 1909, a few hundred Babies were
built, mostly by hand as one-off examples, nearly prototypes. In 1909,
the Koishikawa Tokyo Arsenal did put the small pistol into standard
production, and continued to build it until the Great Kanto earthquake
disrupted all manufacturing in 1923. After the earthquake, leftover Baby
parts were shipped to Tokyo Gas & Electric for assembly. In total,
about 6,000 examples were made by Koishikawa and roughly 500-550 by TGE.
Technically, the Baby Nambu was a very close copy of the full-sized 1902,
but made to a 3/4th scale. It had a single return spring located in a
separate housing on the left side, used a locked breech, and had a small
grip safety under the trigger frame. It fired a smaller 7mm (7x20mm)
round that was similar to 7.65mm / .32 ACP. It is doubtful that this
cartridge actually required a locked breech, but perhaps it was a wise
choice given the Nambu's relatively weak return system, delicate frame,
and small size. Still, the fact that this small pistol did operate with
such a system, did mean it was far more complicated to manufacture and
thus more expensive.
The Baby did not change much during its 20+ year production run. When
the 1902 Grandpa was replaced by the 1902 Modified Papa, some of the
Papa's new features did carry over to the Baby though. For example, the
first 450-500 pistols produced had a single diameter firing pin, concave
(Grandpa) style cocking knob, and magazines with wooden base plates. All
later Babies had a multiple diameter firing pin which was stronger, a
cocking piece shaped like the Papa's, and magazines with metal bases.
Unlike the 1902 though, this model just had a simple rear notch sight,
which was more than adequate for the small caliber.
The Baby Nambu was popular for its small size and ergonomic design. It
was also quite accurate and comfortable to fire. On the other hand, it
was very expensive. While many other 7.65mm pistols at the Officer's
Union were priced at around 100 Yen, the Baby was much more expensive at
180 Yen. This put the pistol out of the reach of most soldiers and thus
it was usually only carried by high ranking officers. This also meant
that the Baby did not see much actual combat at all, which is probably
for the best given its low power cartridge.
Interestingly, Nambu's later Type 94 pistol was not all that much larger
than the Baby, and it fired the standard 8mm round. The T94 weighed
only 2 oz more than the Baby, was only a quarter of an inch longer, and
its barrel was a half inch longer than the Baby's. The T94 had a more
reliable firing system than the Baby, but the Baby's trigger was markedly better. An interesting comparison I feel.
The Type 94 was another of Nambu's designs that was built as a smaller,
lighter, and cheaper alternative to the Type 14. It was in a way a
successor to the Baby in terms of its size and intended role. For more
information on this pistol series, please refer to the link below.
The Hino-Komuro was another early Japanese automatic pistol design. The
first prototype appeared in 1903, right after serial production of
Nambu's first model. The Hino-Komuro did not enter into production
itself until 1908 and was made for only a short time. About 1,100
pistols were built before manufacturing ended in 1912. These pistols
were chambered in both 7.65mm (.32 Browning) and 6.35mm (.25 ACP). The
pistol was also tested in 8mm Nambu, but it was discovered that its
unique blow-forward action was not strong enough to handle the more
powerful cartridge. Only a very few of these pistols survived to be used
in WWII, but a few did. Some even came home with American soldiers,
though very few are known to exist today.
HAMADA Shiki & Hake shiki;
The Hamada was a 7.65mm Japanese design, that saw limited production
during WWII. It was inspired by the FN Browning 1910, but had several
features all its own. Production began in 1941 and ran through 1944. In
total some 5,000 Hamadas were manufactured. The pistol was well thought
of and liked by the soldiers that used it; however, limited wartime
resources would force the end of its production.
A slightly larger version of the design named the Hake or Type 2 was
developed in 1942. The Hake had a slightly longer barrel and was
chambered for the standard 8mm Nambu cartridge. It was well made and
some sources indicate it was marketed as a possible replacement for the
Type 94. Though it was perhaps a better design than the Nambu, it was
also more expensive to manufacture and with Kokubunji already producing
thousands of Type 94s every month, the Hake really never stood a chance.
About 1,500 were built before production was haulted in 1944.
The Sugiura was another wartime 7.65mm caliber pistol design. It was a
relatively close copy of the Colt (Browning) 1903 Pocket Hammerless and
was created in occupied China. By 1942, Japanese soldiers stationed in
East Asia were starting to experience supply shortages, including the
lack of new sidearms, which were important pieces of hardware for an
occupying army. So the Sugiura pistol was developed and put into
production in Japanese held Manchuria. These pistols were issued to
Japanese soldiers serving in China exclusively, but later some were
transfered to fight in battles with the Americans in the Pacific. This
is how a few ended up as US GI war trophies. Just over 3,000 examples
were produced under Japanese supervision, and later after Chinese
communists captured the factory another 3,000 or so were produced under
their control. This means there are two distinct variants of the Sugiura
that differ mostly in their markings. Today these pistols are quite
rare, but not as rare as some other pistols.
Foreign Manufactured Pistols Used By Imperial Soldiers;
As has been mentioned, up until 1943, Japanese officers had the option
and responsibility of purchasing their personal sidearms at an Officer's
Union. Naturally domestic designs were made available such as the Baby
Nambu and Type 14, but foreign designs were also sold. These designs
usually had to be approved for service and were most often in 7.65mm,
with a lesser number in 6.35mm. This was because the soldiers themselves
preferred smaller pistols firing a manageable cartridge. Some of the
most popular pistols included: Colt 1903 Pocket Hammerless, FN 1910, FN
1922, Mauser 1914, Mauser 1934, and even some inexpensive small
revolvers. The Mauser 1914 and FN 1910 seemed to have been the two best
sellers. Mauser's C96 'Broomhandle' was also quite popular, usually with
NCOs who were actually more likely to need a sidearm in combat. Many
C96s were captured in China during the 1930s and carried by Imperial
soldiers during WWII. Japanese factories also manufactured ammunition
for various foreign pistols, with 7.65mm being the most highly produced
caliber. Contrary to what some might say, there is no evidence that
Japanese soldiers wanted a larger caliber such as .45 ACP. Even 9mm
Parabellum did not seem to be a popular caliber. Its impossible to know
how many foreign pistols supplimented those produced in Japan, but it
seems the number might have been somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 at
an educated guess.
Pros & Cons And Thoughts on the Type 14:
One can read many opinions and ideas about the Type 14. Some stuck in a
Western mindset often ridicule it, while others very much into Japanese
weapons perhaps give it a bit too much undue praise. It was a service
pistol like any other, with benefits and shortcomings.
1) It was very accurate for a service pistol. This was due in part to
the 8mm round itself, and also because the pistol's barrel was fixed in
the vertical plain.
2) It had a very smooth and light trigger for a service weapon as well.
This helped with accuracy too and made for a comfortable shooting
3) Its sights were more than adequate too, with a drift adjustable front
blade and an inverted V notch rear. These sights were quite easy to
acquire and use.
4) The pistol had a comfortable grip angle and a relatively thin grip, which was well suited to the average Japanese soldier.
5) Though the T14 was longer than the Colt 1911, its layout meant it was
well balanced in the hand and thus it felt lighter than it actually
6) It was easy to field strip and most all of the major parts could be removed without tools or at most witha screw driver.
7) Up until the end of the war and production, Type 14s were manufactured with a high degree of fit and finish.
1) The Type 14 was not particularly well suited to mass production. It
was costly and timeconsuming to make when compared to other WWII era
sidearms. The barrel with its 1 piece extension was particuarly complex.
2) The safety was awkward to operate and required using the off hand to disengage and engage.
3) The firing pin was prone to creating light primer strikes. though the
problem was lessoned with the adoption of first the 73mm and later the
65mm sizes, it never completely disappeared. The firing pin spring
itself was not changed and thus occasional light strikes continued.
4) The firing pin was also quite brittle and its tip was easily damaged
or broken. This is why pistols were issued with at least 1 spare firing
5) The grips too were relatively weak; being made of high quality but
thin wooden panels. They could easily be chipped and even could crack
down the middle.
6) The last-round bolt hold open follower in the magazines slowed down
reloads. It made the magazine more difficult to pull out and once the
soldier did so, the bolt would slam forward, requiring it to be
retracted again to load a fresh round.
After the secondary magazine retaining spring was added, magazine
changes were further slowed as it required even more force to remove the
magazine. Though it must be added that this spring did greatly decrease
the instances of lost magazines in the field.
7) The 8mm round itself was somewhat weak for a fullpower service round.
The original loading performed about as well as .380 ACP, with the 1929
improved loading delivering a bit more power.
The Type 14 is quite an ergonomic pistol design, with the exception of
its safety. I find it fits my hand well, especially the earlier version
without the magazine retaining spring. Its bolt retracts smoothly and
its trigger is excellent. The 8mm round has a light recoil and does not
have excessive muzzle flash. The Japanese soldiers of the era did not
prefer larger calibers, usually going with 7.65mm, if not 8mm Nambu.
About the largest pistol cartridge in Imperial service that gained any
kind of following was the 7.63x25mm Mauser round and it was usually
popular with NCOs operating in the field. The Nambu on the other hand
was carried as a badge of office or as a short-range defensive weapon
only. On the otherhand, one can tell the Japanese did not really have a
firm grasp of mass-production with the Type 14. It was overly
complicated to manufacture and much time went into external polishing
and finishing. Also, the fact that its striker system was never
perfected can not be ignored. I would say its single biggest flaw was
this striker system; from weak primer strikes, to broken firing pin
As with the Type 94 and Type 26 sidearms, the Type 14 was quite well
suited for its intended role. It began life as an improved version of a
design dating back to the turn of the century, which can be said for
both the Colt Model 1911A1 and the DWM P.08 Luger. It remained in
service for a respectable period of time, about as long as many of its
contemporaries. After the war, the Type 14 design, like the Type 94
mostly died out and did not heavily influence any future firearms, save
one, the Ruger Standard. The story is famous now of how Bill Ruger
purchased two Nambus from a returning marine. Some sources say these
were Type 14s and others claim they were Baby Nambus. Regardless, the
Nambu layout and basic operating principles would influence the best
selling .22LR handgun line ever. Quite a strange turn of fate; a wholely
Japanese design's spiritual successor would be a true American classic
at home in most deer camps, fishing boats, and cabins all across the
nation. A weapon of war, would become a sporting firearm, and I believe
Kijiro Nambu would have been rather pleased with that. In 1945, he
declared that his company Chuo Kogyo would no longer ever produce
weapons for any military. Instead it would focus on custom high-end
sporting firearms. Mr. Nambu would live another 4 years and die quietly
My Japanese Sidearms Gallery:
Here are all of my Japanese handguns that I have at this time. I have
reposted my Type 94s here too to make it a complete list. The 19.4
pistol pictured earlier is actually my father's. It had a broken
magazine disconnect and I had it apart repairing it. It seemed like a
good chance to take some disassembled pictures, so I did. Anyway, here
we go with my gallery;
Tokyo Arsenal, Koishikawa factory Type 26;
This revolver was made during WWI most likely. It appears to have the
original bluing on the metal parts and does have the original grips. Its
mechanically very sound with a tight action. The collector I purchased
it from told me it had been featured in the book 'Hand Cannons of
Japan.' It is all matching.
Tokyo Arsenal/Tokyo Gas & Electric late production M1902 Modified / Type 4;
This Papa Nambu was built in the 1920s by TGE, using a Tokyo Arsenal
made 1 piece frame. It was one of the first of the last production run
of the 1902. It is surprisingly mechanically not bad with solid grips
and a tight action too. The tangent sight spring is a bit weak and its
not all matching, but is complete. Honestly, I am just happy I have a
Papa of any kind at all.
Tokyo Arsenal, Koishikawa factory 5.2 dated Type 14;
This is my earliest Type 14 and it is all matching, except for the
magazine. It was referbished in 1932 so it does have the improved firing
pin and disconnect safety. Note the small lanyard loop.
Tokyo Arsenal, unknown factory referbished Type 26;
This T26 was actually made earlier than my other and was referbished in
the late 1920s or 1930s. It has the rust blued finish to the metal parts
and is missing the lanyard ring. It does have the less common
horizontally grooved grips though.
Nagoya Arsenal, Kokubunji factory 11.3 dated Type 14;
This is quite a nice example of an early small trigger guard Nambu. It
is all matching, except for the magazine. It is probably an 'off date'
11.3 but I haven't checked.
Nagoya Arsenal, Kokubunji factory 12.11 dated Type 94;
This is a repost of my earliest Type 94 Nambu made with the fully
machined frame and slide. It is all matching, including the magazine.
FN Browning 1910 with Tokyo Arsenal acceptance stamp;
This is an FN 1910 that was accepted into Japanese service. It's serial
is within the range for those sent to Japan and it does have a Tokyo
Arsenal proof mark. Condition is so-so, but it saw honest use in the
Nagoya Arsenal, Kokubunji factory 15.7 dated Type 14;
This is an early example of a Nambu with the large trigger guard,
secondary retaining spring, and 17 grooved grips. It is all matching and
in decent shape for a pistol that went through the war, except there is
a large spot of tarnish on one side of the magazine. Still, the
magazine does match, so I will keep it.
Nagoya Arsenal, Kokubunji factory 16.7 dated Type 94;
This is my nicest Type 94 and was made just a few months before Japan
declared war on the USA. It is all matching and has been fired very
Nagoya Arsenal, Toriimatsu factory 19.1 dated Type 14;
This is maybe my favorite Type 14. I specifically looked for a 19.1 so I could get a pistol made in the first month after the introduction of
the simplified cocking knob. The machining is still quite good, though
the grips do look a bit cruder than on my earlier T14s. Note how the pin
above the trigger has been machined smooth with the frame and how the
small parts are now blued.
Nagoya Arsenal, Kokubunji factory 19.5 dated Type 14;
This is my newest Type 14 and I wanted it as it was one of the last 500
to be manufactured at Kokubunji. Also its kind of neat that I have a
19.5 dated Type 94 from the same factory. The machining is still quite
nice with this one and you can see how Kokubunji did not adopt most of
the manufacturing shortcuts like Toriimatsu did. It is all matching
except for the magazine.
Nagoya Arsenal, Kokubunji factory 19.5 dated Type 94;
Here is my Type 94 made at Kokubunji at the same time as one of my Type
14s. Comparing the two side-by-side, the quality of fit and finish is
much higher with the Type 14, for some reason. This is my mid-war
production T94 piece.
Nagoya Arsenal, Kokubunji factory 20.2 dated Type 94;
This is my most recent Type 94 and my latest war. It has the slab wooden
grips and square cocking knob. Its in good shape, but fit and finish
were really suffering at this point you can tell.
Nagoya Arsenal, Toriimatsu factory 20.4 dated Type 14;
This is my latest war Type 14, made within 2 months of when Toriimatsu
would end standard production and switch to 'last ditch' assembly. It
has been used very little if at all, but has typical late war fit and
finish. When I got it, the left grip panel was very loose and the tip of
the firing pin had been snapped off; probably by an American GI. Still,
its hard enough to find 1945 Type 14s for a decent price and the firing
pin has been retipped now by a professional. How I fixed the grip was a
bit more guetto but hey it works.