Did you know that the „worst gun of World War II” was slandered?

A Type 94 Nambu pistol (Photo: thefirearmblog.com)

Ask any World War II buff and they'll probably tell you that the worst small arm of the war was the Japanese Type 94 Nambu pistol, also known as the „suicide special” and the „surrender gun.” The gun had an exposed sear bar – with the safety off, it was possible to hold the gun by the barrel and accidentally (or deliberately) squeeze the bar, causing the gun to fire without touching the trigger. There are numerous war stories of Japanese officers pretending to surrender and hand over their gun only to press the bar at the last moment and shoot their captor. Other stories describe Japanese genuinely trying to surrender but causing the gun to go off by accident and getting shot in return by nervous American soldiers.

The truth, however, is that the Type 94's poor quality is greatly exaggerated. While it was certainly far from a superb weapon, it was actually rather difficult to accidentally discharge it via a sear bar squeeze, and downright impossible if the safety was engaged. In fact, Japanese air and tank crews really liked it for its light weight and compact size.

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