Third Party Press

Japanese T-14, v. German P.38

Bob in OHIO

Senior Member
Let me begin by saying I am a T-14 fan. Also, I realize what someone's likes has little bearing on anyone else. In fact, most folks really don't care, and merrily collect what they like.

Overall Production
  • P.38s had three factories that made ~990K units over ~ 6 yrs.
  • T-14s had five factories that made ~280K units over 20 years
Metal Finish
  • P.38s, Hot salt-blued or in the white parts, late war phosphated
  • T-14,
    • Rust blued (into May '42 for one Arsenal), then HS-blued. Some parts are correctly polished (white)
    • One arsenal continued to "straw" small parts until they ended production (Aug. '44). Crazy, strawed parts in '44!! German's stopped strawing P.08 parts in '37 IIRC.
Numbering
  • P.38s..... grips and mags numbered into 1941, otherwise just the barrel, frame, & lock block
  • T-14
    • Numbered: Sear, cocking piece, lock block, mag release, bolt, magazine, frame, trigger, trigger group, barrel, mag safety
    • Often numbered: firing pin, pin extension, grips (The last arsenal that made T-14s, numbered into June/July 1945)
    • Less often numbered: Pin holding down the sear. Magazine button that connects to the mag follower (** see pic)
Production dates/Serials
  • P.38s... letter block system, but "when" was it made is still an estimate
  • T-14... each Arsenal started w/ 1 and just kept rolling up +1 the number until 99,999, than back to 1 (and added a series symbol). Of course the Japanese T-14 carries a date code. A 19.2 dated gun was made in Feb (2) 1944 (1925 + 19)
Grips
  • P.38 had bakelite or durofoil
  • T-14 had wood (mahogany or beech)
 

Hambone

Community Organizer
Staff member
The T-14 was the inspiration for the most prolific .22 pistol of all time, the Ruger Mk.I. However, the P.38 lived on for many years after 1945 as a service pistol. I have one I like to shoot.
 

mrfarb

No War Eagles For You!
Staff member
Aesthetically the P.38 is miles ahead of the T14. Well, let’s equate them to cars- the P.38 is a Corvette and the T14 looks like a Buick Rendezvous. Most people don’t like them because of that, that’s my reasoning. Japanese firearms aren’t as desirable in general because of how they look, the T94 is the worst looking pistol ever designed.
 

Hambone

Community Organizer
Staff member
Japanese firearms aren’t as desirable in general because of how they look, the T94 is the worst looking pistol ever designed.

I wouldn’t stop at aesthetics on the P.38 vs. T-14 comparison. However, while the T-94 looks terrible, like something designed by someone with no sense of handgun ergonomics or function, it can be fired by slightly pushing on the external sear lever, so there’s that. You don’t have that feature on any other pistol that I’m aware of, through I know the Sig. P320 series did have some sporadic issues with discharge if dropped in a certain way.
 

Hambone

Community Organizer
Staff member
I actually like the T-14s and at one time had several of them. I only have one left, a matching 1943. I was heavy into Japanese collecting at one time and still have a number of the rifles. The workmanship on their firearms, particularly early is very nice. The handgun designs I find to be rather behind their times, as if designed in a vacuum. The T-14 being their best.
 

Fulton bulldog

Well-known member
I own one T-14 and several p38s and a p1. My T -14 was made in Oct 1942 . If you have ever fired a T-14 they are a fun gun to shoot if you can find ammo. I enjoy shooting it as much as my p1
Im looking for a T-94 made in Oct 1942.
 

bigwagon

Senior Member
However, while the T-94 looks terrible, like something designed by someone with no sense of handgun ergonomics or function, it can be fired by slightly pushing on the external sear lever, so there’s that. You don’t have that feature on any other pistol that I’m aware of, through I know the Sig. P320 series did have some sporadic issues with discharge if dropped in a certain way.
A Luger P08 has a similar external sear, although it is much harder and less likely to be tripped by inadvertently pressing on it. However, it is one of the few pistols that can fire a chambered round when the upper receiver and barrel are disassembled from the receiver. This was apparently enough of a problem that a sear safety was developed and retrofitted to many German police pistols in the post-WW1 era.
 

Philip

Forum Newbie
Aesthetically the P.38 is miles ahead of the T14. Well, let’s equate them to cars- the P.38 is a Corvette and the T14 looks like a Buick Rendezvous. Most people don’t like them because of that, that’s my reasoning. Japanese firearms aren’t as desirable in general because of how they look, the T94 is the worst looking pistol ever designed.

Of course it’s all in the eye of the beholder and I’m notorious for not going along with the herd, it’s just more fun, but I generally agree with what you stated. Yes the type is very ugly and so ugly it is beautiful. It is a very under valued for a WWII standard service pistol with a fairly low production total and very high attrition rate. The early guns may have been the most finely finished pistol produced by any country of that period. At the cost of one round you got the capability of a type 14 in a package about 2/3 the size.
 

CRMausr7

Member
Love the P38! It's one of my favorite WW2 handguns, and presently the only one I own. Never handled or shot a Type 14, but I'm looking to pick one up a for my WW2 pistol collection one of these days. First though, I have a Luger project and K98k project to finish up. Does anybody have a recommendation for where to get a Type 14? I'm wanting one at a reasonable price that I can shoot, but that still has some collector value (i.e. matching numbers).
 

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