Baby Nambu Photos (Late)


            I bought this Baby, my second, as part of a multi-gun deal in March, 2005. It is in even better condition than my first one. Although this one ois exceptional, most Baby Nambus are in pretty good shape. Since they were never officially adopted by the military, they were all purchased privately by officers, usually at a special counter in the officersf union. Usually only senior officers could afford them, so they led pampered lives. Here is the right side.


            This is the left side. The term Baby Nambu was coined by US collectors. The Japanese referred to these pistols officially as otsu gata (Type B), as distinguished from the 8mm ko gata (Type A). Unofficially they were refered to as the gsmall sizeh Nambu. Today the Japanese have largely adopted the term Baby Nambu (with Baby written in katakana phonetic script) to refer to them.


            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. Although exact records do not exist, from the dating of holsters paired to specific guns, Derby & Brown conclude that they were into the 4600-range by 1917, so this one was probably made around 1918 or so. This gun is one of those whose serial number is listed on page 379 of the Derby & Brown book.


            There were about 6,500 Baby Nambus produced between about 1909 and the early 1930s. 90% of them were made by Tokyo Arsenal, and the rest by Tokyo Gas and Electric (TGE). Tokyo Arsenal production ceased sometime between 1921 and 1923. This gun has the Tokyo Arsenal marking. The overlapping circles are supposed to represent a stack of four cannonballs viewed from above.


This shot shows the strawing (golden colour from heat treatment) on the trigger.


The rear sight is a simple fixed notch, adequate for a gun intended only for close-range, defensive shooting.


The magazine serial number matches. The dot indicates this was originally the spare magazine issued with the pistol.


            The other parts also match. The bolt, barrel and locking block have all four digits, the ejector only the last three. In contrast to my earlier Baby, the bolt lock (lower left) and the striker (upper left) are unserialized.


The cocking knob has the last three digits.


            The left grip panel is marked on the inside with all four digits, although the four is very faint. All the numbers are a little faint, which suggests that perhaps the magazine fit a bit tight and rubbed on the numbers.


            The right grip panel has no serial number, but has this small marking in the front upper corner. It is an old style font that is hard to read, but it appear to be the kanji suge/suga, also pronounced kan. It means sedge (a plant) and is used in family names like Sugawara, Sugano, Sugaya, etc. The Derby and Brown book shows the same character as an inspection mark on Tokyo Arsenal Papas.


The same mark is on the grip frame (right side at the rear)

 Here are the markings in the recess for the grip safet on the front of the grip frame.

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Last updated: July 9, 2005. All contents are copyright Teri unless otherwise specified and may not be used elsewhere in any form without prior permission.