Adopted in 1925, the Type 14 became the predominant semi-automatic pistol of the Japanese military and saw action in multiple campaigns until the end of the Second World War. The Type 14 design improves upon the earlier 1902 Nambu Type (“Papa”) and is the product of Gen. Kijiro Nambu, Japan’s preeminent small arms designer and future primary Type 14 manufacturer. As a result, Type 14s are also referred to as the Nambu Type 14. The numeral ‘14’ itself refers to the 14th year of Emperor Taisho’s reign. Over the course of its nearly 20-year production run, the Type 14 was manufactured by several different facilities and underwent several modifications that combine with its historical context to make The Type 14 pistol an interesting target for collectors.
The Type 14 shown here was produced in September of 1930 at the Nagoya Army Arsenal, Chigusa Factory, the first facility to produce this model. Nagoya only produced around 7800 of these arms between 1926 and 1932, when production was moved to other factories. Low production numbers combined with their long service period make Nagoya pistols rare in good condition and with matching serial numbers like this example.
All Chigusa manufactured pistols were part of the 1932 general recall of Type 14s manufactured before this date. The inspection TO mark in position “B” demonstrates that this example was reworked at the Tokyo Arsenal, where it was retrofitted with a 73mm striker, 47mm striker guide, and a magazine safety. The magazines carry the Tokyo Arsenal “TO” inspection mark and both are serialized on the bottom of the magazine with matching numbers to the pistol. This is unusual but not unheard of and is likely the result of the 1932 rework, but it could also be possible that the SN are the result of repair work performed in the field, or post-war modifications. The number style on the magazines matches the style on the firearm, which suggests a war time replacement, as do the early non-frame-spring notched magazines and struck through SN. However, the experts consulted could not confirm an explanation and the marking remain part of the interesting history of this Type 14. To see more, find us at our website by clicking here.