By E. J. HOFFSCHMIDT
During the 26th year of Emperor Meiji's reign (Christian year 1893), the Japanese Army adopted the Type 26 9 mm. revolver. Designed and produced in Japan, this weapon was the standard Japanese Army handgun until replaced about 1914 by the Nambu automatic pistol. It remained in service as substitute standard after the Nambu was adopted, and was used to some extent during World War II.
The top-break system of the Type 26 is similar to that of several older Smith & Wesson revolvers. To open for loading and unloading, the latch at the top rear of the barrel is lifted, and the barrel is pivoted down. As the barrel pivots down, all 6 cartridges are extracted and ejected automatically and simultaneously.
In lockwork design, the Type 26 closely resembles the Austro-Hungarian Rast & Gasser Model 98 revolver. An excellent feature is that the sideplate can be pivoted open easily to expose the mechanism, and the lock parts can be removed for cleaning and lubrication without use of tools.
Firing requires a long pull of the trigger. The hammer has no full-cock notch and thus lacks a spur for thumb-cocking. This system, satisfactory for military purposes, is also used in the British No. 2 Mark 1° Enfield service revolver. It is, however, not suitable for precision target shooting, even though the trigger action of the Type 26 is extremely smooth.
Simple and well made, this revolver has checkered wood grips and a lanyard swivel. It is marked on the right of the frame with the serial number, symbol of the manufacturing arsenal, and Japanese numerals and letters which stand for 26 Year Type.
The Type 26 was brought to the U.S. by returning servicemen in considerable numbers and is encountered frequently. The 9 mm. cartridge for it, however, is rare. Of straight-case rimmed type, it has a round-nose, lead bullet, propelled by smokeless powder. Other identifying features are the lack of a headstamp and the unusually thin rim.
The takedown of the revolver is illustrated; the assembly is in reverse order.
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