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Early Pistol Cartridges – What, When & Why?


In a recent discussion with a friend the topic of early automatic pistol cartridges came up. Specifically, looking at the context of which cartridges were actually available at which times, and how this might provide helpful context for understanding why particular cartridges were adopted (or commercially successful) or were not.I decided to see if I […]

RIA: Japanese ZH-29 Copy by Tokyo Gas & Electric

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The Japanese military experimented with self-loading rifle designs through the 1930s, and had 4 major rifles in testing during that period. One was a new design by Kijiro Nambu, one was a Pedersen copy made by the Tokyo Army Arsenal, one was a gas operated toggle locking rifle by the Nippon Special Steel company, […]

North China Type 30

When the Japanese invasion of China intensified in 1937, Imperial reliance on Chinese puppet troops for duties like garrisoning cities. Before long an estimated 500,000-900,000 such men were under the command of the Japanese, in both militia and regular army units. These men had to be armed, and Japanese domestic production of Type 38 (and […]

A 75mm Maxim-Nordenfelt Cannon and the Type 30 Arisaka

First up, a 75mm Maxim-Nordenfelt cannon that was on display at the Carabinieri Museum in Rome. Guns like this one were pretty widely used by countries all over the world, with a wide variety of details in the carriages. This particular example is (according to its display tag) an 1886 model gun. The action is […]

Q&A #5: Rollin White and Other (Better) Designers

Questions in part I of today’s Q&A:

1:04 – What was Rollin White’s revolver like? 7:09 – Why did pan magazines disappear? 10:14 – Why no pointed pistol bullets? 13:24 – Funky rounds like Trounds or Gyrojet rockets 17:47 – Current US MHS trials 19:55 – Underappreciated designers

Questions in the part II […]

Detailed Photos: Hamada Pistols (7.65mm and 8mm)


The Hamada pistols were two of the few examples of Japanese military arms made by private companies rather than government arsenals. Hamada ran a shop making sporting arms before the war (and after), and converted his production to a .32ACP blowback pistol of his own design for the military to use. It was a successful […]

Japanese Type 100 Flamethrower

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The Japanese Type 93 and its slightly-improved sister the Type 100 were the standard flame weapons of the Imperial Japanese Army for its fighting in China and the Pacific. They are a smaller and handier design than the American weapons, and less user-friendly. The Type 100 uses a rotating valve to fire, paper incendiary […]

Japanese Type 4 Garand Photos


Towards the end of WWII, in 1944, the Japanese Navy developed a copy of the American M1 Garand rifle, chambered for the 7.7mm cartridge. This followed attempts to simply rebarrel captured US guns, which did not work well because of difficulty getting the en bloc clips to function properly. The newly manufactured Japanese rifles were […]

RIA: Japanese Army Pedersen Copy Trials Rifle

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The Japanese military was interested in finding a new self-loading rifle to adopt in the 1930s. The development project began with a request to retired General Kijiro Nambu who designed a gas-operate,d rotating bolt rifle but could not bring it up to the standards demanded by the military and opted to abandon the project […]

RIA: Nambu 15-Shot Type A Experimental

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Before the Type 14 Nambu pistol was developed to replace the “Papa” Nambu, Kijiro Nambu experimented with a high-capacity design with a 15-round magazine. This pistol was called the Type A Experimental, and was designed around 1920. Only 15 or 20 were made, and they show elements of both the Papa and the Type […]