SOLD FOR: $1525
Make: Tokyo Artillery Arsenal (Also referred to as the Koishikawa Arsenal because it was located in the Koishikawa district of Tokyo)
Model: Type 26
Serial Number: 548
Year of Manufacture: 1895-1896
Caliber: 9mm Japanese (NOT 9mm Luger)
Action Type: Double Action Only Revolver with Spurless Hammer and Six Shot Cylinder
Markings: The right side of the frame is marked with the stacked cannonball logo of the Tokyo Arsenal, five Japanese characters (“26 Year Type), and “548”. The rear face of the cylinder is marked “548” under the ejector. The bottom face of the hammer, the bottom face of the barrel (behind the hinge), the inside of the frame under the left grip panel, the right of the trigger guard (concealed by the frame when installed) and the inside of each grip panel are marked “548”. .
Barrel Length: 4 3/4″
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a half-round blade pinned into a slotted base atop the barrel. The rear sight is a “U” groove at the back of the top strap.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are two-piece checkered wood with smooth borders. The grips show handling wear with a few scattered light marks. There is a ding at the top-rear of the left panel beneath the sideplate hinge and another at the bottom-rear of the right panel. The checkering is generally well defined. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips are in Fine condition as Antique.
Type of Finish: Blued, some parts are Fire-Blued including the Hammer.
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is mostly bright with sharp rifling. There is infrequent minor erosion, mostly toward the muzzle-end and there are a few light pits.
Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 70% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning at all edges. There is finish wear on each side of the barrel and around the outside of the cylinder with a few other patches of minor wear. There is some scattered minor surface oxidation. There is light erosion on each side of the barrel in the worn areas, on the topstrap around the rear sight groove, the bottom of the trigger guard and around the outside of the cylinder. There are tool marks at the finger-groove for the sideplate and in the checkering on the sideplate. The action shows operational wear and there is handling wear on the trigger and barrel latch. There is wear on the grip cap around the lanyard ring. The screw heads are tool marked with serviceable slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this handgun rates in about Fine condition as Antique.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The cylinder free spins in both directions unless the trigger is pulled back. The barrel locks up with barely perceptible play to the frame. The cylinder lockup shows light-moderate play. We did not fire this handgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance requirements.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: The revolver comes with a brown leather clamshell holster. The holster has brass fittings, a pocket for a cleaning rod, and there is a pouch with its own flap which has loops for 18 cartridges (no cleaning rod or cartridges included). The holster shows scattered wear, scuffs, scrapes and scratches. There is fraying at some edges and a short tear at the front of the clamshell’s hinge. The stitching is intact. There is verdigris at the brass fittings. Overall, the holster is in about Fair-Good condition.
Assessment: The first service revolver used by the Japanese was the Smith & Wesson in .44 Russian. They started designing their own revolver in 1890 and the Type 26 was finished in 1893 and adopted by the military in 1894. It was a double action only revolver with a six-shot cylinder firing a 9mm Japanese cartridge similar to the .38 S&W. The Type 26 revolvers stopped production in 1923 but were still used as secondary weapons even after the Type 14 Nambu was introduced in 1926. Because of their use in the Russo-Japanese War and in WWI, many of the early Type 26 revolvers were arsenal refurbished, with the original bright blue finish replaced by a dull blue and the checkered grips replaced by those with horizontal serrations. This is a very early Type 26 revolver, made in the 2nd or 3rd year of production, and retains its original finish. The serial numbers on the cylinder, frame, hammer, barrel, trigger guard and grips are matching, we were not able to find any other serial markings on the parts. The revolver is in about Fine condition as Antique, with about 70% of its finish remaining. The bore is surprisingly good and the mechanics are still fairly strong. To complete the package for the discerning collector, the revolver comes with a Type 26 holster. This good-looking revolver should make a nice addition to any collection of Japanese martial arms. Please see our photos and good luck!