Showa 16.2 Type 94 Photos

            This Showa 16.2 (February, 1941) T-94 came to me as part of a deal with a Quebec collector that included a Showa 17.9 Type 14 and 30 rounds of original WWII Japanese ammo. The finish on this gun shows much more polishing of the metal prior to bluing than is evident on my later ones, and also shows an earlier style of arsenal markings.


Here is the left side.


            This is a close-up of the main markings. The symbol before the numbers 16.2 is the character for “Sho”, short for Showa, the name of the era of Emperor Hirohito’s reign. To convert the number to a Western date, add 1925. Thus, 16 becomes 1925+16=1941. The number after the decimal place is the month of manufacture (2=the second month, i.e. February). The markings below this are in reverse order compared to later pistols. The symbol on the left is the character for south. It is pronounced Nan or Nam, and is the first character in “Nambu”. Lt. General Kijiro Nambu was the designer of many Japanese firearms and after retiring early started the Nambu Rifle Company, which later merged and became Chuo Kogyo (“Central Industries”), the manufacturer of all Type 94s. The symbol “Nan” (Nam before a “b”), is the marking of that company. To the right of that mark is a symbol consisting of a large circle with two circles inside it, a large one balanced on a small one. This is the Nagoya arsenal symbol, which is based on the shachi, or dolphins, which adorn the ends of the roof of Nagoya castle (the horn-shaped bits on the right and left sides of the symbol allude to the curved bodies of the dolphins as portrayed on the castle’s roof ornaments). Nagoya Arsenal supervised production by Chuo Kogyo. On later guns the Nagoya Arsenal symbol comes first.


            The serial number is further to the right, above the trigger guard. Off to the left of the serial number is a small symbol. This is the kanji character to (as in Tokyo), which was used by Chuo Kogyo as an inspection mark.


            All the numbers on the gun match except the magazine. However, although the number does not match, the magazine is the correct type for this pistol. Nickel-plated magazines were standard until Showa 17.1 (January, 1942). After that they were blued. The earliest mags had flat floor plates (until Showa 12.7, or July, 1939). After that the floor plates were ribbed like this one. The magazine held six rounds of 8mm Nambu ammunition.


            Here is the serial number on the lower part of the back of the mag. It should match the last three digits of the gun’s serial number. Below the first five is the kanji to again, used as an inspection mark as noted above.


            All Type 94s were equipped with a magazine safety. The next two shots, both taken with the grips removed, show how it works. The first one, immediately below, shows it with the magazine removed in the safe position. You can see the large round magazine release button in the centre. The metal projection to the left of that keeps the trigger from being depressed enough to fire the gun. You can see the back of the magazine safety above and to the right of the magazine release button. It is that very small triangular bit just above the sort of bite-shaped cut in the frame.


            When the magazine is inserted it makes contact with that little triangular rear bit of the magazine safety and moves it upwards, causing the front part to rotate downwards and out of the way of the trigger.


            For ease of machining there were three cuts made in the frame (one on each side and one at the back) whch were then covered with panels that were peened into place. The peen marks are the little dot-sized indentations in the next two photos. Here the polishing job after installation of the panels was pretty good and they are not very noticeable. Less attention was devoted to polishing as time went on and they became very noticeable on later guns. Note that they didn’t bother to polish the area at the top of the slide, however. This is the right side.


This is the left side. The panel can just be seen to the left of the front tip of the sear bar (the bit with the rounded end on the right).


            The right side of the grip frame has this N marking, which was another inspection mark used by Chuo Kogyo (the company was formed when the Nambu Rifle Mfg. Co. merged with two other companies, so the N probably stood for Nambu). Once Japan attacked the USA, Japanese armaments manufacturers were told to stop using Roman letters (the kind we use in English) on weapons, and use of the N was stopped.


On the left side under the grip panels are these two inspection marks, the kanji to on top and the katakana phonetic symbol to in a circle below it (both are pronounded toe, as in “my big toe is sore”.


            The Japanese were big on the use of lanyards, but they were used much less often with Type 94s than other models. However, from the pitting on the lanyard loop of this one, it is obvious it must have been one of those that was used with a lanyard (the cotton rope used in the lanyard would hold moisture against the lanyard loop, resulting in this kind of pitting, which is very common on Type 14s, less so on Type 94s).


            The grips have a chip on each side. The chip on the left side reveals another inspection mark, the katakana phonetic symbol na, as in Nagoya (looks like a plus sign).


The right side has some chipping on the bit that projects forward where the bottom of the trigger guard meets the grip frame.


            Mechanically the only problem seems to be the safety. The lever (the visible part of the safety, here shown in the horizontal, “fire” position) seems to have been bent outwards a bit from the part that holds it into the frame, so that it swings freely rather than engaging in the detents that are supposed to make it stay in the chosen position. This can probably be fixed with a careful bending back to restore the necessary tension. That will require more detailed stripping than I had time for when I took these pictures, so I had to leave it for another day. When I do get around to it I will add pictures of the process of getting the safety out and (hopefully) fixing it. I will have to be very careful, however, as the safety is a fairly fragile part and easily broken.


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Last updated: August 21, 2005. All contents are copyright Teri unless otherwise specified and may not be used elsewhere in any form without prior permission.