Baby Nambu Photos (Early)


            I bought this lovely little Baby on September 20, 2003, but wasnft able to actually pick it up until November 1, 2003 due to our time-consuming registration system here in Canada. Here is the right side.


This is the left side.


            This is a close-up of the serial number and model markings. The characters above the serial number read from right to left and are pronounced gNambu shikih, meaning Nambu Type or Model. The first character on the right, gNam (or nan)h means south, the second gbuh, means part, and the third, gshikih, means type or model. Nambu was the family name of the designer. There were about 6,500 of these guns produced between about 1909 and the early 1930s, so this one is fairly early. No production records exist, but it was probably made around the time of World War I.


This is a top view. You can see the chamber on the left side for the recoil spring and guide. This is a

distinguishing feature of all the early Nambu pistols (Grandpa, Papa and Baby)


This is a close-up of the arsenal marking on the top of the chamber.


This is the bolt lock at the rear of the gun, showing the beautiful pattern machined into it.


            Ever wonder why they call it a Baby? Well, the Japanese often just called it gsmall sizeh, and this comparison with the Baby on top and a Smith & Wesson 5-shot J-frame revolver shows why!


Like all Nambu pistol designs, the Baby has no hold-open device, so the bolt locks back on the magazine follower. Here is the gun with the bolt locked back.


This top view shows the recoil spring guide in its separate chamber on the left side of the gun (top of photo). The Grandpa and Papa were constructed similarly.


            The gun is in great shape with a matching mag. The main flaw is this scratch on the left grip panel. There is also some wear to the bluing on the very tip of the barrel and a couple of tiny spots of pitting on the left side of the frame.


            Ever wonder whatfs inside a Baby? Here is the right side of the main components. The left grip panel didnft want to come out at the top, so rather than force it, this is as far as I went. The trigger assembly slides down to allow removal of the barrel and bolt, a typical Nambu disassembly feature. The inside of the left grip panel is marked with all four digits of the serial number and an inspection marking. The inside of the right grip just has the inspection marking.


This is the left side of the main components.




            Just about every part except the firing pin is serialized with either the full, four-digit serial number or the last three digits. Here is a shot of some of the main parts showing the serial number locations.The barrel is marked on the bottom, the bolt lock & spring guide is marked on the right side , the locking block is marked on the right side, the cocking piece is marked on the bottom of the front face, the guide rod is marked on the top near the front and the bolt is marked on the bottom near the back.


The magazine is serialized to this gun.


            An unusual feature of this pistol is that it has this marking on the left side of the frame just in front of the sear bar retainer pin. It is the kanji ki, meaning device, followed by the number 18. Upon consulting a prominent expert I was told other specimens with this type of marking are known, but the significance of them has not yete been determined.


            Just behind the sear bar retainer pin on the left side is this marking. At first I thought it was the character ishi (stone), but the Derby and Brown book shows an inspection mark on Papas that consists of the character migi (meaning grighth), so it is probably that. The two lines in the upper left should extend further and cross each other, but as often happens the mark was weakly struck.


            Here are the marks on the front of the grip frame and in the recess for the grip safety. The bottom one (slightly out of focus) seems to be the kanji tomi, meaning grichh, or gabundanth. It is the first character in several Japanese family names. I canft decipher the top one.


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Last updated: July 9, 2003. All contents are copyright Teri unless otherwise specified and may not be used elsewhere in any form without prior permission.