Showa 16.3 Type 94 Photos

            I was given this Showa 16.3 (March, 1941) Type 94 by an advanced collector who wanted to find a good home for it.


            As is typical, the left side is a bit rougher than the right, since this was the side closest to the body and hence the one most subject to moisture (i.e. sweat)-induced corrosion. There are also a couple of light gouges or abrasions in the left grip, especially up top. The safety at the rear just above the grip works more smoothly and positively than most of my other Type 94s.


            This is a close-up of the main markings. The symbol before the numbers 16.3 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 (3=the third month, i.e. March). 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. Note the lack of polishing of the machining marks above the date.


            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. The magazine should have the last three digits of the gun’s serial number (907 in this case,rather than 500). The magazine is also not the correct type for this pistol. Nickel-plated magazines were standard until Showa 17.1 (January, 1942). After that they were blued, like this one. 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. The dot above the serial number on the magazine indicates this was the spare for the gun with which it was issued. Below the last zero in the date is the kanji symbol “sha”, as in kaisha, or company. This was an inspection mark used by Chuo Kogyo. It had used N (short for Nambu) until 1941, when the Japanese military instructed firearms manufacturers to stop using Roman (i.e. English) letters.


            When I got the gun the action was very sluggish and the exterior finish rather dull. Upon stripping it down, I could see that the problem was a very minor one: the entire interior and some of the exterior was covered in very light surface rust and was completely dry (i.e. no lubrication). Fortunately the problem was in a very early stage, so a light brushing with ultra-fine 0000 steel wool took almost all of it off. Then I saturated everything with G-96 gun treatment, which loosed up the rest and got into all the little cracks and crevices. I prefer the use of light hand methods like 0000 steel wool to chemical rust removers, as the latter may keep working longer than you want. Bluing is in effect a type of oxidization like rust, so anything that will remove rust will also remove bluing. This photo shows the upper part of the magazine well from the left side, with the gun upside down. In the lower right corner you can just make out the model number markings: kyu-yon-shiki, or Type 94. In the upper-centre of the photo is part of the magazine safety, with the back of the trigger itself off to the right. This was one of the spots where the rust was most visible, although it was everywhere.


            Here is the bolt. The dull, dirty look was also due to that light rust. The oval-shaped hole is for the crossbolt. It fits into a recess in the bottom of the firing pin and holds the bolt to the slide. The bolt looks much better now.


There is some pitting on the left side of the barrel housing (“slide”), both right near the muzzle and a little further back.


            There is also some towards the rear on the left side. This shot shows the front of the bridge in the frame into which the barrel housing (“slide”) fits. Here you can see the other side of the crossbolt, which has a little tab on it so it can be removed from the left, but not from the right.



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Last updated: November 9, 2005. All contents are copyright Teri unless otherwise specified and may not be used elsewhere in any form without prior permission.