Originally produced in 1929 by the Taiyuan Arsenal for the army of Yan Xishan, this pistol is now a relic of the Sino-American War. The Shanxi Type 17 was a mass-produced sidearm before the Great War. It shares a strong resemblance with the late 19th century Mauser C96 pistol, with the addition of the manufacturer's stamps and the text on the sides, but using 10mm instead of the original Mauser's 7.63mm, or Shanxi's .45 calibers.
The Chinese pistol is quickly compared to the superior 10mm pistol, which is also obtained quite early in the game (before the Chinese pistol), uses the same ammunition, and is also quite common, yet does more damage, fires faster and more predictably, and is more accurate. A fully repaired Chinese pistol, however, can fire more than twice as many rounds before breaking, though it is still too weak to be used as a primary weapon. While not very useful as a weapon, they are relatively lightweight and can be collected, repaired, and sold to provide an early source of caps, or simply saved to repair the Zhu-Rong v418 Chinese pistol.
Zhu-Rong v418 Chinese pistol - While the Zhu-Rong does the same base amount of damage, it is unique due to the fact that it fires incendiary rounds, which deal fire damage over time.
Sim version Operation: Anchorage (add-on) - A simulation-only version of the weapon which differs primarily in health, with item HP so high that it is essentially non-degrading. This version also has a slightly different appearance, lacking the rust found on various parts of the standard weapon.
The following is based on Fallout 3 cut content and has not been confirmed by canon sources.
Chinese Dragoon Pistol - A cut version of the weapon is included in Operation: Anchorage, apparently intended for use in the normal game after completion of the simulation. This version has identical stats to the Fallout 3 version, but has the same appearance as the simulation version of the weapon. This version is not used anywhere within the add-on and can only be acquired through the use of console commands.
End of information based on Fallout 3 cut content.
The full name of the weapon in ancient Chinese characters can be seen in the texture file. They are inscribed "Type 17" on the left hand side of the pistol, while the right side is marked "民國十八年晉造; Republic Year Eighteen, Made in Shanxi." A number "1861" also appears but it can't be the date of manufacture since the Shanxi Type 17 was produced in 1929 and the Mauser C96 in 1896. The Republic year/民國 on the pistol is actually the abbreviation of Republic of China/中華民國, which is the Nationalist Chinese government that retreated to Taiwan after they lost the civil war in 1949. It's most unlikely that is should appear on a Communist Chinese weapon.
The weapon model has no firing pin.
Fallout: New Vegas includes a brief appearance of the Chinese pistol, seen on the far wall of the "hidden" weapons room in Mick & Ralph's. This version of the weapon is a non-interactive static mesh (i.e. a decoration) rather than a working weapon. Most of the other resources for this weapon remain in the game's files, but no actual, working version of the weapon exists within the game itself.