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Old November 28, 2009, 08:35 AM   #1
SWoj
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JAPANESE Pistol - WWII Question

Hi All!!! First time post. I am sure you all have seen this kind of post before, but I would appreciate any help you could give me.
My gun expertise is limited to enjoying shooting of a rifle in the woods at some homemade targets. My Daddy died awhile back and left this girl a Japanese pistol which I have no idea a. what to do with or b. how much it is worth. He has the certificates from the Army that authorized him to keep the side arm, the called it a carbine(??). It has the #s 30209 on the body of the gun and 12-0 at the top of the handle. On the opposite side of the gun are Japanese characters.
It comes with a heavy leather case. I can send pics to anyone if they are curious. I have a friend who was a sharpshooter in the US Marine Corp and he said it is empty, safe and complete.
Thanks all!
SWOJ
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Old November 28, 2009, 08:36 AM   #2
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Correction....to # on side of gun

The number 12 printed as 12-3...Sorry!
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Old November 28, 2009, 08:46 AM   #3
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pictures, pictures, pictures, please! There are more than one type of Japanese guns returned from WWII. Type 34, Nambo, Baby Nambo, etc. Value and interest is dependent upon which it is.
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Old November 28, 2009, 08:50 AM   #4
dances with guns
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is this it? this is a japanese nambu pistol. (i wouldn't fire it--they were known for blowing up in your hands).
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Old November 28, 2009, 11:25 AM   #5
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Type 14 versus Type 94 Japanese Pistols

Friends,

"dances with guns" suggests that Type 14 Nambu pistols are "...known for blowing up in your hands."

Perhaps "dances with guns" conflates the Type 14 with the Type 94, image below.

Wikipedia states this about the Type 94: "The gun became notorious for a design flaw that allowed it to be fired with a round in the chamber by pressing an exposed sear on the left-hand side of the receiver. ... How often the described peculiarity really resulted in an accidental discharge in the field, is doubtful; while some officers allegedly told stories of slipping and falling in the mud, inadvertently triggering the pistol and injuring themselves, it seems to be more of a much-copied "gunwriters' legend", transferred from one author to the other." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_94_8_mm_Pistol

Q
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 300px-Type_94_1835.jpg (14.9 KB, 128 views)

Last edited by MQP; November 28, 2009 at 11:26 AM. Reason: typo
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Old November 28, 2009, 11:33 AM   #6
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If you can post a picture, it would help ID it and judge condition. And the holster is valuable too. Take a picture of the whole rig. You might be looking at well over 600$, as the value of those guns has risen quite alot in the last 10 years. Used to be affordable for collectors. Now the Japanese pistols are getting to be priced the same as nice P-38 pistols. Of course if the condition is not great, like with notable rust or pits or something, it devaluates to some degree. They can fire, if you find ammo somewhere. Not easy.
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Old November 28, 2009, 12:39 PM   #7
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The Japanese generally used 4 handguns during World War II:

Type 26 revolver. Double action only, break top, chambering a 9mm round very similar in size and power to the .38 S&W.

Type 04 Nambu. Semi-automatic, usually pretty well made, 8mm.

Type 14 Nambu. Seim-automatic, an updated version of the 04.

Type 94. Semi-automatic, 8mm, usually considered to be the worst military pistol ever adopted.

You can google those and see if they match what you have.

Some general officers purchased what is generally known as the "Baby Nambu," a scaled down 7mm version of the Type 04. These are VERY rare and very expensive when found.

There are some reports of late in the war the Japanese also issuing old Smith & Wesson revolvers that had been purchased in the 1870s.
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Old November 28, 2009, 01:34 PM   #8
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It's actually the Japanese Type 26 revolver that was known to blow up in one's hand. Poor production practices sometimes resulted the in the chambers of the cylinder not lining up properly with the barrel. Recipe for kaboom.
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Old November 28, 2009, 02:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
It's actually the Japanese Type 26 revolver that was known to blow up in one's hand.
Quote:
(i wouldn't fire it--they were known for blowing up in your hands).
Classic arguments for almost every weapon brought back from a war.

The biggest problem with these 'dangerous' weapons, was the GI holding it. Between not knowing (or being able to read) what the thing was chambered in, and not knowing how to operate it... many unfortunate accidents happened.
Then, of course, there was also the minuscule number of booby-trapped weapons that claimed lives, limbs, or sight.

Even American and British weapons have suffered from bad reputations. A good example is the Springfield M1903. I cannot even count the number of times I have seen some one assume the magazine cutoff is actually a safety lever. I've read or heard of several instances that follow the same path: The uneducated operator flips the lever to "ON", assumes the rifle is now safe, does something stupid, and has a negligent discharge. (Same thing happened with American and British GIs in WWII. They didn't know how to operate the Luger, and had a lot of NDs while handling them; labeling it an 'unsafe' pistol.)



SWoj:
Pictures will be the quickest way for us to identify your firearm. (Along with descriptions of what is in the picture: characters, numbers, crests, etc.)
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Last edited by FrankenMauser; November 28, 2009 at 02:32 PM.
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Old November 28, 2009, 03:17 PM   #10
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I sincerely doubt that the 9mm Japanese revolver would blow up in one's hand.

Yes, they were known to have cylinder to barrel alignment problems, but the low power of the round and the lead bullet made it rather to extremely unlikely that the gun would have blown up.

Many American-made, inexpensive guns from around the same time frame had the same cylinder to bore alignment issue and didn't turn into grenades.
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Old November 28, 2009, 03:57 PM   #11
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The cylinder of the 26 will revolve when the hammer is down, as the latter always is since the gun is DAO, but a primer still must be in line with the firing pin for the gun to fire. If the cylinder did become misaligned between shots, which is a distinct possibility, I still think it would lock up and fire properly the next time the trigger was pulled.
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Old November 28, 2009, 07:09 PM   #12
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If the Japanese pistols were quite that bad, half of the Japanese officers would be nicknamed "Lefty". Don't see alot of one handed guys in the pictures. My early 99 rifle was dissed alot also. It is a good rifle, regardless. Compare it to one of the beloved late war Mosin Nagants that everyone is buying and shooting with no concern about headspace check, etc. The stock of nice WW2 Japanese weapons is rising. Not ideal or perfect, they did conquer alot of Asia with them.
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Old November 28, 2009, 07:19 PM   #13
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My Jap 26 is a rather well made firearm. Insides exposed.

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Old November 28, 2009, 11:21 PM   #14
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Pictures are valuable...and it may not even be Japanese!

I know a fellow, who has 3 "brought back Japanese pistols", and he is the guy who brought them back. One is a Colt, and the other 2 are S&W! I don't remember the others, but one is a .32. It has a beautifully made flap holster, complete with six cartridge loops under the flap, and a pouch for a cleaning rod.

It has been a number of years since I saw them, and cannot remember if there were any Japanese markings, or not. Sorry.

Japanese officers were allowed a fair amount of latitude about some things, and apparently a number of them carried privately purchased pistols.

Your gun is probably a Japanese made gun, but might be something else, it is not beyond possibility. If possible, please post some pictures, clear ones will gop a long way to id the gun, and estimate its value.
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Old November 29, 2009, 12:04 AM   #15
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Quote:
Not ideal or perfect, they did conquer alot of Asia with them.
Yeah, but for the most part they weren't exactly up against massive, modern armies until engaging in the USA in war. Their opponents were decades behind them, but the Japanese themselves were decades behind too. They lost the war for a number of reasons, one of them being inferior weapons.
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Old November 29, 2009, 12:11 AM   #16
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None of the Japanese handguns mentioned are going to "blow up" in anyone's hands with anything like the correct ammunition. They are odd looking and in some ways not user friendly, but they are strong and safe. The mistake made with the Type 26 revolver was that they used a rebounding hammer, necessary with a swing cylinder but not with a top break. Top breaks usually depended on the firing pin resting in the primer indent of the fired round to keep the cylinder from rotating and keep it lined up for the next shot.

The Type 94 pistol is probably the most given to myths. The most common is that it was designed as a "suicide pistol". The story went that a Japanese officer would approach an American with his pistol in his hand but finger off the trigger. Then when the American was close, the sneaky Jap would press the trigger bar and fire the gun, committing suicide or, in an alternate version, killing the American.

A great story if you think 1) Japanese officers surrendered and 2) that an American would let a Japanese officer approach with a pistol in hand no matter where his finger was. Complete nonsense, of course; someone discovered the odd trigger bar and invented a story to go with it.

Advising folks not to shoot Japanese pistols is not really necessary, even if they won't blow up. AFAIK, there is no ammunition available at reasonable prices and no plans for anyone to make it. (9mm revolver ammo can be made from .38 S&W by thinning the rims from the front, but there is no easy source of 8mm or 7mm Nambu.)

Jim
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Old November 29, 2009, 11:30 AM   #17
SWoj
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Japanese Nambu

Thank you all for not only your comments but a great education on Japanese firearms. It is a Nambu, the first pic is it exactly. It comes with the leather case. If I wish to sell this, is there a preffered way? Private dealer, gun store? Thank you again for all of your expertise. I don't seem to be able to access the private mssgs on this board even with a log in. Thank you
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Old November 29, 2009, 03:29 PM   #18
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Yeah, but for the most part they weren't exactly up against massive, modern armies until engaging in the USA in war.
Well except for the British Empire.
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Old November 29, 2009, 04:43 PM   #19
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Chinese had Mausers, artillery, etc. Just did not have a good enough air force and that is where the AVG came in, to even up the odds. I presume you don't have access to the online gun auction sites. That might be the place to get the most money possibly. But you could also sell it at a good gunstore on consignment. That way the paperwork etc. is out of your hands and all you do is collect the cash after the gun dealer gets their cut, determine what that is up front. Might be the best to find the largest gunshop in the area to put in consignment, some hole in the wall place will not get the exposure and you will end up selling for less there. You can try it at a close to market value price and see if it sells, then come off that price later on if you get tired of waiting for a sale. You can come down in price but not go up!
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Old November 29, 2009, 04:46 PM   #20
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Quote:
Well except for the British Empire.
Britain didn't declare war on Japan until 12/8/41. That isn't to say the British weren't doing anything in the Pacific up to that point, but they certainly weren't applying their own massive military might to its full potential.
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Old November 29, 2009, 07:14 PM   #21
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Nambu

Couple of notes on your Nambu. There is a date code on the right rear side of he receiver. It will be a number, a period, and a number. It dates the pistol from the beginning of the year of the Sun, January 1, 1925. Mine is dated 9.9. manufactured in September, 1934. Mine has the original silk shoulder lanyard attached to the pistol. The original lanyards are worth almost as much as the pistol. The magazines (2) should be serial numbered to the pistol, mine isn't.
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Old November 29, 2009, 07:45 PM   #22
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One way to sell a gun is to locate a dealer you can trust, and put the gun on consignment. You and the dealer agree in advance what you want out of the gun, then he sells it for whatever he can get over that. This works well, and is better than just selling it to him since he will always have to give a lot less than the gun is worth, but some trust is needed. If you know about what the gun is worth (and remember the books and most folks here will give you a retail price) and will accept less, a consignment sale is one way to go and keep things local. Of course, don't expect an instant sale. I have put guns on consignment and sale time varied from 1 day to 2 years.

Jim
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Old November 29, 2009, 08:34 PM   #23
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Im willing to buy it! Have sent you a PM.
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Old November 30, 2009, 06:16 PM   #24
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A place to learn more

Teri's website has a lot of great info, pictures and ideas.
http://www.members.shaw.ca/tju/jhg.htm
As to selling your Nambu, they're frequently listed on Gunbroker.
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Old December 1, 2009, 04:39 PM   #25
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Doing a quick look over at gunbroker.com, I would anticipate a sale price around $375.

That being said, your best bet (unless legal complications don't allow it) is to hold on to the gun and sell it later. With the economy the way it is, people just aren't buying. Especially around Christmas time.

Wait until the 75th anniversiary of World War II, THEN sell.
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