Original Japanese WWII Imperial Navy Nambu Type 90 Three Barrel Flare Signal Pistol - Serial 1746
Original Item: One of a Kind. Now this is something we do not see every day. Made by the KAYABA SEISAKUSHO (Factory) between 1930 and 1945, only 5,100 of these very scarce three barreled flare pistols were made, most all for the Imperial Japanese Navy. Twice as many of the double barreled versions were made. This example is marked on the top of the top barrel with the Kayaba logo which is followed by a cherry blossom and the Imperial Japanese Navy's Anchor proof. PAT. 93006 is stamped on left side of the frame, and the right side is marked with serial number 1746. This number is also stamped on the ejector, grip frame, underside of the barrel assembly, and on the breech latch handle. This definitely looks to be an "all matching" example, never messed with.
The 26.5mm barrels are each 3" in length, the pistol 7" in overall length and because of its large grip 8" tall. The pistol is really in good shape, and may have been arsenal re-finished during the war. There is a bit of green paint on one barrel, which looks to be the remnants of the color marking for that barrels. These pistols were usually loaded with several different types of flares, so that the appropriate color would always be at the ready.
The bakelite grip panels are in very good condition, with some small cracks and cihps in places. The pistol breaks open, cocks, and dry fires correctly, with all three barrels able to hold cock and dry fire based on where the selector is set. There is a just a bit of wobble in the grip, due to a lose securing bolt under the grip scales.
Imperial Japanese Navy three barrel flare pistols are extremely rare, especially in this fine condition. Ready to display!
The Nambu Type 90 was a flare gun of Japanese origin and manufactured by Nambu. It was used by the Imperial Japanese Navy and came with two or three barrels.
The Type 90 designation is from the last two digits of its year of adoption, which was 2590 (or 1930 AD) on the Japanese Kōki calendar. It first came with three barrels with just less than 6,000 were manufactured. The First Model (made in the early 1930s during peacetime) was highly polished and finished, while the Second Model (dating from the mid-1930s to the mid-1940s during wartime) was less polished to speed production. The Third Model (dating from late in World War 2) was simplified and manufactured with two barrels for ease of production.
The barrels were made from blued steel and the body of the weapon was painted with a black lacquer. A two-position safety lever was just above the grip on the left side: up for Fire and down for Safe. The barrel was selected by a lever above the grip backstrap: left for the left barrel, right for the right barrel and center for the center barrel; on the double-barrel model the center position acted as a second safety.
The barrels had rectangular decals on them indicating which flare was loaded as standard. The three-barreled version's barrels were marked one green decal on the right-hand barrel, one white decal on the top barrel, and one red with a yellow center stripe decal (to indicate red or yellow flares) on the left-hand barrel. White flares were used for illumination at twilight and night, black smoke was used for concealment, and the colored flares were used for signaling. The shells had cardboard hulls with a brass or steel base.
The Imperial Navy's Type 90 is rarer than the Imperial Army's Type 10 for a few good reasons. First, they were made in lower numbers than the Army type. Second, they were usually issued to ships and Naval aircraft and were lost when they were destroyed or sank. Third, Soldiers and Marines who found flare guns on the battlefield often threw them away, as they were not seen as collectable as pistols, rifles, or knives.
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