Here’s another example of the inter-war Chinese pistol trade – this one from Roger Papke of Handfuls Of History. It’s interesting to note that this pistol is virtually identical in design to the one recently sold at Rock Island, but has much different markings.
The obvious question is, what was the relationship between the builders of this pistol and the builders of the other one? The mechanical designs are far too similar to be coincidence, but the markings don’t really have much in common. Were then manufactured in the same facility but given over to different people for marking embellishment? Were they made by the same person but at a significant time interval? Was one perhaps just a copy of the other?
I notice it doesn’t have the worthless screw under the barrel like on the auction pistol, and that the sight “markings” are numbers and not complete gibberish, although they still don’t mean anything. I question where those grips came from, but I would say maybe a later pistol since overall it looks a bit more refined than the auction pistol. I don’t know, but I sure do wonder what it would be like to actually shoot it. Still looks more attractive than the Type 94
Note the faked FN HERSTAL BELGIQUE BELGIQUE on the left side of the slide and the MAUSER banner on the right. It looks like the maker (or whoever it was made for) wanted the piece to have as many “prestigious” trademarks as possible.
Once more, my guess is a pistol intended for a “governor” (warlord) or one of his senior underlings. A badge of office more than anything else.
The “1945” is fake serial number or mean the 1945 year?
I expect it’s a serial number.
The thing that fascinates me with these is the combination of translational illiteracy and considerable design an manufacturing skill. While without shooting it I cannot speak for its actual functionality, it certainly appears to be quite well made, considering the time and place it originated. Not polished, perhaps, but polish is an aesthetic concern, not a functional one. Compared to the monstrosities that come out of South America and China today, and the Vietnamese and Philippine workshop guns, this looks absolutely professional… and yet rather than proudly carrying the name of it’s maker or even of it’s political faction, it is covered with faked European markings. I doubt that those markings would have concealed the guns origin if captured, being as it would have to stand up to the scrutiny of better educated command officers who would likely be familiar with real European import guns. Truly they are a product of their place and time.
Just got my copy of the “Handfulls of History” book and saw this pistol in it! I was curious before this instalment, more so now!
To me these Chinese pistols with fake markings are ironically analogous to the Chinese character tattoos which were recently quite popular among young people in the West. Many of them were either gibberish or meant something completely different from what they were supposed to say, but they still looked cool to their owners. Still, at least the Chinese gunsmiths back in the day had the excuse of not having Internet to verify things…