Nambu World: Showa 16.7 Kokubunji Type 14 Pistol
In the spring of 2007 I made one of my biggest purchases, a group of seven Japanese handguns. Five were Type 14s and two were Type 94s. This was one of the better Type 14. Although not as good as the 15.6 I got at the same time, it is still a pretty good example.
The left side view shows the usual arc scribed through the upper part of the left grip from excessive clockwise rotation of the safety lever. This is visible on almost all Type 14s that have seen any significant amount of service. Other than that, the grips are pretty good.
The identifying marks are on the right rear part of the receiver. The top line starts with the Nagoya Arsenal logo. The second mark from the left is the kanji nan/nam (as in Nambu), which was the logo of the firm which made the gun under Nagoya Arsenal supervision, Chuo Kogyo. These guns are often called "Kokubunji" because Chuo Kogyo's factory was located in the Tokyo suburb of that name. The rest of the top line is the serial number. The lower line starts with the kanji character sho as in Showa, indicating it was made in the reign of the Showa Emperor, i.e. Hirohito. The digits 16.7 indicate it was made in the 7th month of the 16th year of his reign, i.e. July, 1941 (to convert a Showa date to the Western system, add 1925, i.e. Showa 16=1925+16=1941. The small mark at the bottom is the kanji to as in Tokyo, used as a final inspection mark. It is thought that Tokyo Arsenal inspectors did the actual inspections since Kokubunji is a lot closer to Tokyo Arsenal than Nagoya Arsenal (which is a couple of hours away by bullet train even today).
The nice thing about this gun is that it is all matching, including the magazine. That means that all the parts that are serialized bear the last three digits of the gun's serial number, i.e. 972 in this case. Here you can see that the nickel-plated magazine, probably the most commonly mismatched part, does indeed match on this gun. You can also see that small kanji character to, an inspection mark, below the serial number.
The bolt has this number at the back, where the cocking knob screws on. The numbers on the knob and bolt can be checked just by drawing the bolt back.
Kokubunji did not always serialize its grips, but when they did, it was usually in pencil. Sixty year old pencil marks on wood can be hard to make out, but these are reasonably clear as these things go.
Apart from minor pitting here and there, the gun's main defect is that there is some corrosion that has eaten away at the magazine retention spring (this is found on the lower part of the front of the grip). Here are two views that show the affected areas. Before buying a Type 14 you should always examine this spring on any gun equipped with one (all those made after December, 1939, i.e. Showa 14.12). Some corrosion like this is not that serious if the gun is primarily a display piece, but if you are going to shoot it a lot, and therefore insert and remove the magazine a lot, all that flexing of the spring might cause a weakened spring to break. You can get a replacement, but they are really hard to install since you have to hammer on rivets inside the magazine well (awkward at best).
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Last updated: May 24, 2008. All contents are copyright Teri unless otherwise specified and may not be used elsewhere in any form without prior permission.