09 Oct

Nambu and Walther PP From Junkyard to Gems!

Steven K. Ledin,


My friend John has a brother with a junkyard as large as some small states. In it are hidden gems of all kinds. A recent walk around the blocks of rubble revealed a shiny tin document safe conspicuously lying on top of detrius, twisted metal. and fiberboard, just waiting for someone to break open. The top picture reveals one piece of the contents inside.  

It's a Japanese Nambu, Type 14, small trigger guard. Caliber 8mm Japanese Nambu. Original and nearly perfect. Upon my research, it was made in 1913 at the Kokura arsenal in Tokyo in the time of the Shoe emperor. I found that most citizens of Japan did not know their emperor's name, they just knew that they were in the time of the Shoe empire. The emperor was actually Hirohito. The grips are excellent, and the wear marks on all other parts show use, but not abuse. Mechanically it is perfect. I schooled myself on disassembly, and it is easy and straightforward, as long as you don't lose a couple of small parts. Like all proper military weapons, it is relatively simple and robust. The cartridge was thought to be adequate for a defensive sidearm. The magazine looks to be original. It is modular in construction and easily repaired with replacement parts, like the whole trigger assembly. It points like a dream. That's probably why Bill Ruger designed his Ruger Standard pistol with a very similar operating system and grip frame from it. If you were to hold a Nambu and any modern Ruger 22 pistol next to each other, you would see the similarities immediately. A great ergonomic design, super-comfortable that points itself. Value well over a grand at this time. Really a beautiful pistol and mechanical work of art.


This second pistol found in the box is a Walther PP in .32 ACP. A rough gun, indeed. Metalwork fairly crude and unpolished. Serial numbers don't match. No proof marks. Grips are not original, nor the Nazi holster. Beware of imitations, they are readily available.

The serial numbers on the slide and receiver don't match on this gun, but they're close, and both are around 1944/1945. The gun is crudely finished because the war was coming to an end. Americans were closing in, and the war was all but lost for Germany. The guns were made functional as quickly as possible, without regard to proof marks, fine polishing, blueing or matching serial numbers. They just had to make functional guns as quickly as possible. Either the gun was assembled by the Germans before the factory was taken over by U.S. troops, or, most likely, put together by U.S. troops from remaining parts after the factory was taken over. Many of these guns were "war souvenirs" brought home by our own G.I.s, like your dad or grandfather.

This particular gun was in a holster which I believe is not original. It's black, and of a different design than I have seen. The grips are absolutely not original. Also in the lock box were a variety of Nazi armbands, which I think from my research and fire testing, are original. Fire testing because the original cotton cloth burns like flash paper. Copies most often have some other materials that melt a bit while burning. The gun has been shot a lot in it's lifetime, and although I have never really liked Walther PPs, PPKs, or PPKs because of the crappy double action first trigger pull, this one is smooth enough for me to feel confident carrying. It's a functional, useable sidearm.

I disassembled and maintained both guns for my friend John, and the research of the history of these two latest junkyard guns was very satisfying and enjoyable for me.

Here's a link from some other Junkyard guns from John's brother:

Fox Model B Shotgun Repair, Junkyard Treasures, and Classes in Session!



About Steven K. Ledin

Steve has never not known guns. Before motorcycles, money, or girls, they have always been part of his life. He was tenured as General Manager of one of the country’s largest gun stores and ranges, a buyer in a big box sporting goods store, and is currently OpticsPlanet’s Director of Product Intelligence. He was a US Navy gunners mate, and is an NRA certified instructor in ten categories, as well as an Illinois CCW instructor. He shoots competitively and has hunted from Alaska to Africa. He thoroughly loves life with his beloved wife, Shirley, and their three wildish dogs Tinker, TranRek (pronounced “Train Wreck”), and Crash Almighty. He is a stubborn stage 4 cancer survivor not yet ready to cash in his chips.

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