Showa 12.10 Kokubunji Type 14 Photos (A) 

            This Showa 12.10 (October, 1942) Type 14 was my second with that date. I bought it from a dealer in Quebec who contacted me because his partner had once sold me my first Type 94 (an 18.7 off-date) in an on-line auction. Although the condition is not that great, I have only got a few small trigger guard Type 14s so it was an easy decision to make.


Here is the left side.


            This photo shows the markings on the right side of the frame. The first symbol means Nagoya Arsenal. The second symbol is the kanji character nan (or nam), the first character in the name of the designer, Lt. General Kijiro Nambu. Nambu had taken early retirement and founded the Nambu Rifle Manufacturing Company, which later merged with two other companies to become Chuo Kogyo, the largest private small arms manufacturer in Japan. This character indicates the pistol was made by Chuo Kogyo under Nagoya Arsenal’s supervision. The production date 12.10 is explained in the next photo.


           The production date 12.10 in the photo below means the tenth month of the twelfth year of Emperor Hirohito’s reign, which translates to October, 1937. The character in front of the date is Sho, short for Showa, the name for Emperor Hirohito’s reign.  The small character stamped below the decimal point in the date is the kanji to as in Tokyo, which serves as a final inspection mark.


            The magazine number does not match. What struck me is how smooth the normally crisp edges of the finger grip on the magazine base had been worn. I had not seen one with that much wear on the edges before. It seems to work fine, though.


            The number on the cocking knob that came with the gun did not match (it should have had the last three digits of the gun’s serial number on it). More importantly, however, it was not quite the right kind of knob. The one on the right is the one that came with the gun. The one on the left is the one that I put on it to bring it back into correct configuration. You will notice that the knurling on the cocking knob on the right is finer than on the one on the left. The finer knurling was introduced in Showa 13.12 (December, 1938), for no apparent reaason.


            Here is the front face of those two knobs. The earlier one with the coarse knurling that is now on the gun is on top, the later one with the finer knurling that came on it when I got it is on the bottom.


            A closer look at the bottom one shows that it has the kanji sha, as in kaisha (=company) used as an inspection mark. This mark was not used until 1941, and then continued to be used until Chuo Kogyo ceased production of Type 14s in 1944. The sha mark was another sign the knob was not the right one for this pistol.


            The earlier knob I installed on the pistol has the kanji to (as in Tokyo) used an inspection mark, which is correct for that year. In fact, I bought this knob from someone who was parting out a 12-dated gun, so it is from the same year and factory as the gun.


           Under the barrel there are the remains of an English inscription that someone has tried to remove. It is mostly illegible, but the last word in the second line seems to be “JAPAN”, and that line may begin with “TYPE 14”. These markings are probably US import markings. Most of the Japanese handguns that ended up in the US and were not war trophies were imported from China and had to be marked this way, so this gun probably served in China.


            Under the grips on the frame of many Type 14s there is often a lot of pitting and corrosion from the salty sweat of the user’s hand being held against the metal by the wood. This one has probably the worst corrosion of this type that I have seen. Fortunately it does not show once the grips are installed.


            The grips are somewhat loose due to shrinkage of the wood, among other factors. Someone obviously tried to remedy this by applying epoxy to keep them from jiggling, but unsurprisingly glue could not permanently bond corroded metal to oil-soaked wood. I removed the residue of this failed effort quite easily with a soft brass tool I made. It came off in nice little chunks.


            Another typical corrosion spot is the lanyard loop area, where the cotton cord also held moisture against the metal. This pistol has a typical amount of corrosion in this area.


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Last updated: September 19, 2005. All contents are copyright Teri unless otherwise specified and may not be used elsewhere in any form without prior permission.