Papa Nambu Photos (Tokyo Arsenal, pistol 4084)

††††††††††† This gun came from a US dealer. It is pretty rough, but I got it for not much more than a spare magazine is worth. I mostly wanted it so I could have a specimen to show disassembled in my display. I always like to show a disassembled example of each type so people can see how it works. Besides overall pitting, there is a crack in the right grip. The bare spot on the frame above the trigger guard is from someone attempting to remove the US import markings (see below). There are traces of a painted number visible on the grips. These were usually unit or rack numbers assigned to pistols to keep track of them.


††††††††††† The left side shows the usual heavier pitting and a chip out of the grip in the lower rear area. The grip screws were very badly rusted, especially the left one, so they were replaced by a set of reproductions made by Don Schlickman (my section on Parts has a link to his price list). Still, the grips are very loose.


The right side has the usual Nam-bu-shiki (Nambu-type) marking above the serial number.


††††††††††† This symbol on the top of the frame indicates Tokyo Arsenal manufacture. While it looks a bit like a cloverleaf, it is intended to represent a stack of four cannonballs viewed from above. It looks a lot like a Krupp logo from the 1800s that I saw once. I donít know whether the similarity is intentional.


††††††††††† When I decided to purchase this gun I knew about this large area where the bluing was gone, but I didnít know why. When I got the gun and gave it a close examination, I discovered the reason; a US importerís stamp had been there and someone had tried to obliterate it. I had to work at getting a photo where this would show up. It is still faint, but the most obvious part is IN about half way down the photo and a little to the right of centre. You can also make out a V in the second line near the front edge of the frame (right side of the photo). I suspected the first line was INTERARMS. If you look at the second line very closely in person, you can see ALEX. VA. (Virginia is abbreviated VA for postal purposes).


Here is an extreme close-up where you can see it a bit better, though even in person this is very hard to make out.


††††††††††† I always give my guns a good cleaning and very close examination when I get them. Doing so revealed another very faint mark on the rear of the grip frame near the bottom, in a very pitted area (grip frames are often pitted due to exposure to the salty sweat of the hand). This can be read fairly easily once you see it, and confirms that the importer was INTERARMS (first line), ALEXANDRIA VA (second line). Guns that were vet bring-backs to the USA did not get marked this way. The requirement for such markings came in well after the war. Guns that were brought in at that time usually came from China or Taiwan, and most were not in very good condition. This marking at least gives a hint as to the pistolís history. I wish the person who tried to obliterate the marking on the side had not done so. It just made the gun look worse. The value of a gun in this poor condition isnít going to change much whether it has the import markings or not. Non-import- marked guns are more desirable to collectors, but one this bad has little collector value.


As is often the case, under the grips, where the wood holds the sweaty moisture against the metal, has the worst pitting.


The striker is numbered to the gun, but the tip has either broken off or been clipped off. It looks to me more like the latter.


††††††††††† The pins in this gun were looser than one might desire, so I took it apart further than I would if they had been tight (my rule is not to take a gun apart further than necessary, especially if there are pins peened in place, etc., so as to avoid damage or breakage). Here you can see the serial number on the rear edge of the trigger guard, which is not visible without disassembly. The parts on this one have either three or four digits of the serial number, rather than all four on everything as on my TGE gun.


This is a side view of the trigger. It slides out somewhat awkwardly through a curved hole in the top of the trigger guard.


The serial number is on the back of it.


My close examination revealed that the tip of the grip safety spring is broken off, so the grip safety (the only safety the Papa has) does not function reliably.


††††††††††† The bolt lock/striker spring guide on a Papa serves two other purposes. One is that the tip is used to push the outer tip of the magazine latch spring down so the button can be removed from the body (the magazine latch is a two-part item rather than one-piece as on a Type 14). Unfortunately on this pistol the two pieces seem to have rusted together. There is some slight damage around the bottom of the outer edge of the button from where someone has tried unsuccessfully to get it off.


††††††††††† The other way the bolt lock can be used as a tool is that it fits into the front end of the recoil spring guide rod. This enables you to push the rod back so that you can unscrew the cocking knob from the back end of the rod without damaging the finish on the knob or the rear of the frame. Surprisingly, given the poor condition of this specimen, all the parts seem to match except the magazine. Well, I am not 100% certain about this bolt lock. The first number could be either a zero stamped twice due to a poor first impression, or a 6. However, the chances of someone spending the energy to find 684 and put it on (4)084 when the gun is this poor are slim, so I think it is probably 084. One grip panel might also be 4081 rather than 4084, although it is hard to tell due to a poor stamping.


††††††††††† Here is the basic procedure for field-stripping a Papa Nambu:

1. When handling any gun, treat it as if it was loaded. Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction and keep your finger off the trigger and outside the trigger guard unless you intend to fire it. Remember that even a low-powered handgun bullet can easily penetrate several walls and still have enough power to kill someone.

2. Make sure the gun is empty by removing the magazine and visually checking the chamber. If you donít know what this means, do not go any further. Find someone who knows.

3. Push the bolt lock/striker spring guide in slightly, give it a quarter turn counter-clockwise and pull it out.

4. Put the muzzle on a firm but non-marring surface like wood. Push down so the barrel moves back as far as it can (about 3mm, 0.125 inches).

5. While holding the gun in this position, push in on the magazine latch button and slide the trigger guard down.

6. When the trigger guard is down, the barrel assembly with bolt, striker, etc. can be removed from the front.

7. I provide this information for interest only. I accept no liability for any damage, injury or death you may cause to anyone or anything while handling a gun. If you donít know what you are doing, find someone who does.


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Last updated: June 4, 2006. All contents are copyright Teri unless otherwise specified and may not be used elsewhere in any form without prior permission.