Type 4 rifle
|Type 4 Rifle|
Type 4 Semi-automatic Rifle
|Type||Experimental Semi-automatic rifle|
|Place of origin||Empire of Japan|
|Used by||Imperial Japanese Army|
|Manufacturer||Yokosuka Naval Arsenal|
|Weight||4,097 g (144.5 oz)|
|Length||1,073 mm (42.2 in)|
|Barrel length||590 mm|
|Action||Gas-operated, rotating bolt|
|Muzzle velocity||840 m/s (2,800 ft/s)|
|Feed system||10-round internal box magazine loaded via two 5-round stripper clips|
The Type 4 Rifle, often referred to as the Type 5 Rifle, (Japanese: 四式自動小銃 Yon-shiki jidousyoujyuu) was a Japanese experimental semi-automatic rifle. It was a copy of the American M1 Garand but with an integral 10-round magazine and chambered for the Japanese 7.7×58mm Arisaka cartridge. Where the Garand used an en-bloc clip, the Type 4's integral magazine was charged with two 5-round stripper clips and the rifle also used Japanese-style tangent sights. The Type 4 had been developed alongside several other experimental semi-automatic rifles. However, none of the rifles entered into service before the end of World War II, with only 250 being made, and many others were never assembled. There were several problems with jamming and feed systems, which also delayed its testing.
During the Second World War, Japanese soldiers relied on high-quality bolt-action type rifles. However, guns were getting scarce and the enemy (Americans and British) had replaced their weapons with modern repeat-fire rifles. Germans and Russians were also developing their own prototypes which would give them great advantage on the battlefield. This pressured Japan to find a quick way to cope with their military disadvantage. Instead of designing and investing in a new weapon from scratch, they opted to copy the American M1 Garand. Initially, the Japanese experimented with rechambering captured American M1 rifles, since the 7.7 Japanese cartridge is dimensionally similar to the .30-06. They found that while the Garand could chamber, fire, and cycle with the 7.7 ammunition, the en-bloc clip system was incompatible with the cartridge and would not feed reliably. Instead the Japanese designers reverse engineered the M1 and discarded the en-bloc clip, replacing it with a fixed internal 10 round magazine charged by two 5 round Arisaka Type 99 stripper clips. 
Japan had previously developed semi-automatic service rifles, but none of them has been viewed as successful or of trustworthy quality. The design work for the Type 4 began in 1944. The rifle was meant to be mass-produced in 1945. Unfortunately, the Japanese defeat in the war in August halted its manufacturing. At the time, only 100 guns were completed out of the 250 in the workshop. Twenty of them were taken by the Allies at the Yokosuka Naval Arsenal on Honshu after the end of the war.
Today, the Japanese Garand is a rarity. An example of this rifle can be found in the US National Firearms Museum, in the World War II section.
According to the Japanese version of this article there was a Navy variant and an Army variant, the differences are not listed.
In popular culture
- It appears in the Battlefield video game franchise as the "Type 5". It is featured in Battlefield 1942, Battlefield 1943 and briefly in Battlefield Bad Company 2.
- The Complete Encyclopedia of Guns. p. 435. ISBN 1-57215-441-1.
- Walter, John (2006). Rifles of the World (3rd ed.). Iola, WI: Krause Publications. p. 146. ISBN 0-89689-241-7.
- "Arisaka Type 4 / Type 5 (Japanese Garand) Experimental Self-Loading / Semi-Automatic Service Rifle (1944)". militaryfactory.com. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
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