Buying these Guns

            How can you tell if the gun you are looking at has been refinished or faked in some way? This section has tips—some general to buying any old gun, and some specific to these ones.  

General Tips:

            Here are a couple of general tips on spotting refinished (reblued) guns.

(a) If the gun has a really nice blue job but pitting in various places, itfs been reblued (be sure to look under the grip panels; these areas are often neglected when the gun is buffed in preparation for the reblueing).

(b) If the barrel is not immaculate but the overall finish it, it has been reblued (how could a gun get a heavily pitted barrel and not even show normal holster wear?)

(c) Look carefully at the markings, especially the little inspection markings. If the edges are too smooth, this can be a sign of the buffing that often precedes rebluing.


Specific Tips:

            Here are some specific tips:

(a) The Japanese NEVER, EVER put a mum on ANY of their military handguns (a chrysanthemum is the crest of the Imperial Family and was commonly marked on the receiver of Japanese military rifles; collectors call it a gmumh). If a handgun has a mum on it, itfs a fake. Itfs that simple (see Derby, pp. 222-223, Honeycutt, p. 12, and the article by Francis C. Allan on the Banzai website entitled gIn search of the illusive Japanese Lugerh). I had only had an interest in Japanese guns for a few weeks when I was first offered one of these gmum-enhancedh Type 14s for the exorbitant price of C$1,600 (I donft think the collector realized he had a fake). Some Japanese handguns (models?) were acquired by Thailand/Siam and have a Thai symbol that looks vaguely like a mum, except that the Thai symbolfs gpetalsh are wavy rather than straight.

(b) Finding the serial numbers on a Type 14 to see if they all match: (photos to come showing how you can find most of the serial numbers without taking the gun apart, which might distress the current owner, especially if he doesnft know how to strip one or get it back together!).


Pulling back the bolt allows you to see the serial numbers (usually just the last three digits) on the bolt and cocking piece as you can see here.


(c) Check the production figures (available on the Banzai website) before accepting claims about how rare a particular model is. I have had people try to tell me the large trigger guard Type 14 (so-called gKiska modelh) is rare, when they are far from it. In fact, there were lots that reached the US in mint condition after being found unissued in Japanese warehouses in 1945.


Last updated: August 29, 2003. All contents are copyright Teri unless otherwise specified and may not be used elsewhere in any form without prior permission.


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