SOLD FOR: $4250
Make: Tokyo Artillery Arsenal in Koishikawa
Model: The official Japanese model for this pistol was Automatic Pistol Nambu Type B, but it has typically been referred to as the “Baby Nambu” by Western collectors.
Serial Number: 4714
Year of Manufacture: 1909-1923
Caliber: 7x20mm Nambu
Action Type: Striker-Fired, Short-Recoil, Semi-Automatic with 7-Round Removable Magazine
Markings: The right side of the frame is marked with the Japanese symbols for “Nambu” and “Type”, as read from right to left, over the serial number “4714”. The top of the chamber ring is marked with the stacked cannonball symbol for the Tokyo Arsenal in Koishikawa. The rear of the bolt lock/striker guide is knurled to resemble a chrysanthemum. The full serial number “4714” is marked on the right of the frame, the bottom-rear of the bolt, the bottom of the front lug of the barrel assembly, the left of the locking block, the bottom-rear of the magazine body, and the inside of each grip panel. The last three digits “714” are marked on the magazine release, the front face of the cocking knob, the striker spring guide, the recoil spring guide, the trigger guard assembly, and the ejector.
Barrel Length: 3 1/4”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a blade dovetailed into a base fixed to the barrel. The rear sight is a “V” groove in the top of the frame at the rear.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are two-piece checkered wood with smooth borders. The grips have light handling wear with a few light nicks and compressed checkers. There is some minor wear around the magazine release on each side. The checkering is well defined. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips are in Very Good-Fine condition.
Type of Finish: Blue & Strawed
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is mostly bright with well defined rifling. There is a patch of pitting in the top of the bore. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 6 or 7 out of 10.
Many military and C&R-eligible weapons have bores that will show erosion. This is not only due to age but to the fact that corrosive primers were commonly used in ammunition worldwide.
Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 85% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning at most edges. There is scattered light surface oxidation, primarily in the grip areas. There is some erosion, mostly along the edge of the recoil spring housing and on the trigger guard. There are a few light nicks and scratches. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads are tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this handgun rates in Very Good condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. We did not fire this handgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This pistol comes with a single 7-round magazine with an aluminum floorplate and a reproduction ammunition carrier with strap.
Our Assessment: The Nambu Type B pistol, generally referred to in the West as the “Baby Nambu”, was a three-quarter sized scaled-down version of the Model 1902 (“Grandpa Nambu”). Very limited production started in 1903 with full-scale production beginning in 1909. Production continued through 1921 to 1923 (records from this period are incomplete), with all production moving to the Tokyo Gas Electric Company to free up production capacity for the modified 1902 “Papa” Nambu. The “Baby” Nambu were never adopted by any branch of the armed forces but were sold to officers through officer stores. Sales, and thus production, were limited due to the pistol’s high cost when compared to comparable import pistols which tended to not only be less expensive, but also of higher quality.
This example is in quite good condition given its age and the period of Japanese history it survived. It retains much of its original finish, a decent bore and all-matching serialized parts, including its magazine! With approximately 6,500 pistols made between the Tokyo Artillery Arsenal and TGE, this pistol is perfect for a collector of Japanese firearms. It would look great along-side its “Grandpa”, “Papa”, Type 14 and Type 94 cousins. Please see our photos and good luck!
Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud