The Japanese Type 26 revolver,

The Japanese Type 26 revolver,

The the 1890′s Japan had produced an indigenous rifle called the Murata for it’s new modern army. However, the Japanese military was still lacking a proper sidearm, mostly making due with a wide variety of foreign imports. In 1893 Koishikawa Arsenal developed the Type 26 double action revolver, named because it was adopted in the 26th year of Emperor Meiji’s reign. The Type 26 was a break open design similar to the Webley, with an auto ejector which ejected spent cartridge casings upon opening. It fired a 9x22mm rimmed cartridge which was similar in performance to the .38 S&W, which was a bit anemic and underpowered compared to other revolvers. It was double action only, however the Type 26 did have an exposed hammer which could not be cocked, and thus lacked a hammer spur.

The Type 26 was a simple and effective revolver but had one major flaw; the cylinder spun freely until the trigger was pulled. This meant that a Japanese soldier could fire the pistol a few times, and in the midst of combat the cylinder could rotate and rest on an empty chamber.  At first the Type 26 fired black powder cartridges, but was easily converted to smokeless powder. 

The Type 26 became the official sidearm of the Japanese Army and saw action during the First Sino Japanese War, Boxer Rebellion, Russo Japanese War, and World War I. In 1906 famed Japanese gun designer Kijiro Nambu invented the Nambu semi automatic pistol, which slowly began to replaced the Type 26. In 1926 the Type 14 Nambu was officially adopted by the Japanese military and issued to NCO’s and made available to officers. Despite the adoption of the Nambu, the Type 26 continued in production until 1935, being issued alongside the Nambu throughout the Second Sino Japanese War until the end of World War II. Around 60,000 were produced.