A better look inside the Nambu Type 14

I covered a number of WWII handguns in my last article and the associated poster project has been very successful.  So as a “thank you” to the community I finally sat down and mastered the basics of some more advanced animation.  This is my first attempt so be kind!

The Nambu is often mocked for its weak cartridge and unusual layout, but internally it wasn’t all that far behind the times when it was invented.  Remember, the Type 14 here is just a simplification of the older “Papa Nambu” which seemed to be the military’s only Japanese-made option.  The locking bar arrangement we see here would have been suitable for a more powerful cartridge and the steep angle, large size, and clear sights make it a natural single-hand shooter.  The real failing of the Nambu is in the weak springs and brittle firing pin. It’s unfortunate the Japanese officials did not push the gun further.


Othais is practically useless with modern firearms. That’s OK though, because he specializes in Curio and Relic military pieces and has agreed to decorate The Firearm Blog with a little history. He maintains his own site, C&Rsenal, with the help of his friends and the collector community.


  • Zebra Dun

    I’ve always heard the pistol was crap.
    I held one, a non shooter once long ago at a store it was dainty and handled strangely.

  • Lance

    As with most Japanese weapons they where great war trophies…. Not to shoot but to ridicule.

  • DiverEngrSL17K

    Excellent work, Othais, and many thanks. This animation not only helps us to understand how the weapon’s mechanism worked, but may also assist in dispensing with some of the long-held myths — or confirming certain assumptions, as the case may be — about the Type 14 and its functionality.

  • Ya know what, I wouldn’t mind if I had one. I mean, I’ve always been a fan of pistols in uncommon calibers in the first place, and WW1/WW2 guns too. Plus, no matter how bad this gun is, it will NEVER be as bad as the one that replaced it.

  • BattleshipGrey

    I finally got to play with a Nambu (non-functioning since it was missing some pieces). I’ve always loved the look of them. I thought it actually handled quite nicely. I was also able to play with the action enough to see how it worked, though not as clearly as the vid above. I love the simplicity of the trigger bar mechanism.

  • Rich Guy

    I got one sitting on my desk next to my computer now; 1994 model with 6′ taper barrel and nice wood grips…

    I have shot a real nambu once, not that pleasant to shoot. Mk2? All day long.

  • Anonymoose

    iirc, you can make 8mm Nambu brass from .40S&W brass. Any chance a modern-manufactured one could be rechambered in .40S&W or would it become the Japanese analog to the Glocknade?
    Also, for those that didn’t know, the Ruger Standard .22s are based on the aesthetics of the Nambu.

  • percynjpn

    “It’s unfortunate the Japanese officials did not push the gun further”

    You’re serious?