The Type 94 8 mm Pistol (Type 94 Handgun,From the Japanese 九四式拳銃 Kyuuyon-Shiki Kenjuu) was a small and light-weight (1 pound 11 ounces) semi-automatic pistol, produced in large numbers by Japan prior to and during the Second World War.
Designed by Kijiro Nambu, the pistol entered production in 1934 at the Nambu Rifle Manufacturing Company. Originally marketed commercially, it is sometimes said to have been developed as a compact pistol intended for pilots, air crews, and tank crews because it was thought that the Type 14 8 mm Nambu Pistol was too large. Indeed, the Type 14 was more than 14mm longer than Colt 1911 .45 ACP. The pistol, which had plastic grips rather than the horn or wood grips of the Type 14, was developed for cheap mass-production, but modifications increased its cost.
The Type 94 used the same 8x22mm Nambu (.315 caliber) ammunition as the Type 14 and was easier to load, having a much stronger firing mechanism to reduce misfires. The gun became notorious for a design flaw that allowed it to be fired with a round in the chamber by pressing a projecting sear on the left-hand side of the receiver. Some officers told stories of slipping and falling in the mud, inadvertently triggering the pistol and injuring themselves. How often this resulted in accidental discharge is a matter of debate, but the gun was a commercial failure, and is frequently described as the "worst service pistol ever issued" by knowledgeable authors such as Ian V. Hogg.
Large numbers of the Type 94 were produced for military use. Records were lost during World War II, but it is believed that over 72,000 Type 94 pistols were manufactured. Quality diminished greatly during the war.