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January 24, 2004

Okay, here we go with the Type 94.

I'm late, but cut me some slack. I'm busy, I've hurt myself, and this isn't costing you anything anyway... Good news is, while doing this, I did the pics for the next pistol, the Langenhan, so I'll have fewer excuses for that one.

Back to that piece of crap, the Japanese Type 94. This particular pistol is an early production one - when the quality was better. Can't say good. Japanese officers had to purchase their own sidearms, and this chromed pistol was produced specifically for that market. Some people conjecture that these plated pistols were produced for naval officers, but I remain unconvinced of that (any having a source that says otherwise, pass it on!)

This thing is a real pain to take apart and put back together, too.

Officially known as the Type 94, it's an 8mm caliber semi-auto designed by COL Nambu, the same gentleman who designed the other series of Nambu pistols, which were much better weapons, if still no replacement for the .45!

This thing is 7 inches long and weighs about 2 pounds, and has a 6-round magazine. The design is right up there as almost universally characterized as simply the worst semi-auto pistol design and execution to make it out of the workshop and into the hands of anyone. Colonel Kirijo Nambu (or more correctly in Japanese usage Col. Nambu Kirijo) had already produced the 8mm 4th Year Type A pistol, which didn't sell well as officers considered it too bulky. So he came out with the 7mm Type B (also known as the Baby Nambu) which wasn't much more successful.

His best pistol was the 14th Year pistol, and is the pistol most of us would recognize. Also in 8mm, it is a simplified version of his previous pistols. At this time the Japanese Army was moving over to issuing pistols to NCOs and was looking for ever cheaper models. So, the good Colonel tried to oblige. And then, like the shadow of the US Ordnance Corps over the development of the M16, the Japanese army 'helped' Col Nambu with his pistol.

The slide covers the entire top of the frame and barrel. The pistol is cocked by pulling back on the milled ears at the rear (which until I actually got one of these I always thought that was the hammer). Doing this forced the designer to put the sear bar (which releases the trigger in an exposed position. That long bar on the side that terminates just above the trigger is the sear. Light pressure on that bar - fires the pistol. You could fire it putting it in your holster. You could fire it by flopping down on your holster. So - you didn't carry it with anything up the spout... meaning you gave the other guy the second or so it took to cycle the slide. A second or so in combat can literally be a lifetime.

Well, so what you say? The Luger has the same problem, right? It's true, the sear bar is exposed on the Luger. It is the horizontal bit that runs under the circular knuckle at the rear to then run under the big square bit above the trigger. The big square bit is a shield that prevents just that sort of problem.

The trigger really sucks - it's possible to fire the pistol before the breech is fully locked. The magazine disconnect doesn't work worth a damn - you can still fire the pistol with no magazine in it - it just takes a little more effort... and if you do you run the risk of making if difficult or impossible to get the magazine back in. All problems I want while in the midst of infantry combat. And this is on one of the early, comparatively well built pistols. That late war pistols were just complete dreck.

To make it worse - the intent was to make a pistol cheaper than the other Nambus. It cost more.

No - this is NOT the home defense weapon of choice at Castle Argghhh! The Remington-Rand M1911A1 and Winchester M97 trench gun still hold sway in that arena!

John | Permalink | Comments (0) | Pistols
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