I’m sure everyone has heard a second or third hand story about someone finding a total steal on a gun at an estate sale or auction. Heck, I’ve had a few great moments that start to get close to that myself – but I’ve not yet actually found a gun at a yard sale, much less a really neat gun at one.

Well, I got an email from reader Tim looking for information about a weird pistol. That he had gotten at a yard sale. For $40. That rotten SOB. 🙂

Chinese mystery pistol

Chinese mystery pistol

It is apparently Chinese, and chambered for 7.63mm Mauser. It’s not a design I know anything about, so I looked it up in Bin Shih’s book on Chinese small arms, where I found photos of two very similar looking pieces, both listed as “unknown”.

Chinese mystery pistol

Chinese mystery pistol and mag

The best I can do is some speculation, so let’s consider what we can tell from these photos (Tim didn’t send any pictures of the internals). First off, I think it’s a save assumption that this was a very limited production piece, if not outright handmade. The crude shaping of the trigger guard, the not-quite-parallel serrations on the slide, and the non-symmetrical grooves in the grip panels suggest that. The gun does have a 5-digit serial number, but that is not necessarily indicative of mass production, particularly in China.

The grip panels bear a lot of resemblance to those of a Mauser C96, which was a very popular pistol in China, and it is chambered for the same 7.63×25 cartridge. This chambering would have been because of the Mauser’s popularity, and it would definitely not be the more powerful 7.62×25 Tokarev. The Tokarev round would be used by the Chinese Communists later on, but this pistol most likely dates from the 1920s or early 1930s, before the Tokarev was in use anywhere.

The barrel and frame layout bear some similarity to the Mauser 1910/1914/1934 (which was also imported and known in China), and the firing mechanism is probably based on the Eibar/Ruby design (which was another very popular type of pistol in China). Those pistols have concealed hammers, but it would be a simple and desirable change to expose them, as on this design. The round-bottomed magazine, of course, if distinctive and quite unusual, probably being made simply to match the contour of the C96 style grip.

If anyone else has more information on this pistol or designs like it, we’d love to hear it!


  1. we called it “鸡腿撸子”,means it looks like a drumstick,and some japanese pistol gun have the same name,like 南部14式(I don’t know how to translate the word)

  2. I’ve actually seem pictures of the same model handgun online so there are multiple examples, no name or exact source has ever been given except it’s Chinese and presumably manufactured by local warlords before WW2. I think I remember reading a comment somewhere in which someone said they found one on a VC in Nam.

  3. Hi Guys;

    RE: who? and his post; I did a quick Bing translate request and got this back (for what it is worth):

    鸡腿撸子 = Chicken Roll

    南部14式 = Southern-14

    Not even sure if that’s close or not. Hope that helps some…

  4. “鸡腿撸子”is Japanese Type.94 semi-automatic pistol.
    The meaning of“南部十四”is Nambu Type-14 semi-automatic pistol.
    “南部”means”Nambu”,”十四”means the number “14”,“式”means”Type”.
    The Chinese nickname of Nambu 14 is“王八盒子”,means“carapax”.
    The holster of Nambu pistol looks like the carapax.

    • Ok,if I have a mistake.I’m just a highschool student,I. Can’t explain something in English very well.
      Ok,I found this information in “baidu”a year ago,now,Baidu have a lot mistakes in the information what about guns And weapons,it’s funny.can you give me some information about this gun,especially some information in Chinese.
      I will post this question on Baidu post bar and discuss it with my friends.

  5. 或者,你是中国人 translates to “Or, you are Chinese” seems some “High School” student is trolling……

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