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Nagoya Army Arsenal Type 14 Nambu Semi Automatic Pistol
Fitted with a manual safety and a magazine safety, the Type 14 pistol was adopted in 1925. SN 8475
The Nambu family of firearms owe their existence to Kijiro Nambu, a Japanese artillery officer who developed these arms while assigned to duty at the Tokyo Artillery Arsenal in 1897. At that time, the Type 26 top-break revolver was in use as the standard sidearm by Japanese officers. The first military Nambu pistol authorized for Japanese military use appeared about 1904 when the Imperial Japanese Army issued an official rescript permitting officers to purchase Nambu pistols as sidearms. These 8mm pistols are referred to by collectors as "Grandpa" Nambus by virtue of their age.
Between the years 1905-1914, the Nambu underwent modifications and improvements. The marking, Shiki Riku, (Army Type) was added to the left side of the frame on the improved pistol and is found on all Nambu pistols produced after 1914. This modified pistol is referred to as the "Papa" Nambu by collectors. Modifications included an aluminum magazine bottom with circular checkered finger piece, swivel-mounted lanyard ring, flat-edge trigger, and no stock slot. Within this period the "second issue" holster was introduced and continued as "standard issue". This holster is identical to the first type except for its hard-molded clamshell flap and flapped cartridge pouch with 16 cartridge loops. The cleaning rod is nickel plated. It has a 90-degree bend at one end and a screwdriver-edged patch slot at the other. The Papa Nambu never actually replaced the Type 26 9mm revolver.
This pistol was never officially adopted as a standard service arm even though thousands were made and issued to troops. The Type 26 continued as standard until adoption of the Type 14 pistol in 1925. The 8mm Type 14 pistol was a commission-designed simplification of the Nambu design. The Papa and Type 26 were issued to non-coms, while officers had to purchase their own sidearms. The 7mm "Baby" Nambu was specifically designed as a side arm for officers, its small size more in keeping with the dignity of rank. The collectors' name of "Baby" obviously refers to size rather than age since the gun was designed in conjunction with the "Grandpa" and production began in 1903. The complex Nambu design made the pistol expensive to produce.
To illustrate this, a 1910 Browning or a 1903 Pocket Model Colt could be bought at the "gun counter" of the officers' "union" for 100 yen while the "Baby" Nambu cost 180 yen at the same counter. Many line officers preferred the Type 26 or Papa over the 7mm "Baby" Nambu and cal. .32 European pistols. However, to many Japanese officers, the pistol was an insignificant piece of equipment. The Samurai Code prescribed the sword as the prime combat weapon.
After World War II, when large stocks of surplus and souvenir military firearms were available cheaply, Japanese pistols were probably in least demand of all because American manufacturers did not produce ammunition for them and the stocks of Japanese-manufactured military ammunition had been destroyed. It is only in recent years that the scarcity, unique design features and historical significance have made the Nambu of great interest to collectors.