The Japanese Attempt To Copy The M1 Garand


A pretty neat little article on the Japanese attempt to recreate the M1 Garand

By the beginning of 1944, Japan’s situation in the Pacific became more dire as the U.S. pushed closer to the home islands. Japanese designers turned their attention to copying the M1 Garand. At first the Japanese experimented with the M1 Garand rechambered to their 7.7x58mm cartridge, which is dimensionally similar to .30-06.

The Yokosuka Type 4 was a later Japanese attempt near the end of World War II to replicate the U.S. M1 Garand. Image: Institute of Military Technology

They found that the M1 could fire the 7.7mm, but encountered feeding issues as a result of the en-bloc clip feeding system. As a result, the en-bloc clip was deleted from their design in favor of a 10-round internal magazine fed by two Arisaka five round stripper clips. This new Japanese adaptation of the M1 was called the Type 4 rifle, but also known as the Type 5, and manufacturing shops for it were set up at the Yokosuka Naval Arsenal in Tokyo Bay.

The Type 4 featured a strong resemblance to the M1 Garand rifle. Image: Institute of Military Technology

The Type 4 was intended for mass production by 1945. Some 250 parts sets for these rifles had been produced with little more than 100 rifles completed by the time that Japan surrendered in September 1945. After the war, Allied personal discovered the parts and assembled rifles at Yokosuka Naval Arsenal.

A side profile view of a Yokosuka Type 4 (top) with a Springfield Armory M1 Garand below it.

Twenty of these rifles were taken for study or as trophies, with few making their way into the United States and fewer still on display to the public today. Little is known about the performance of the Type 4 other than reported reliability issues — there were no known cases of the rifles being used in combat. Internally and externally, the Type 4 is very similar to the M1 from which it was copied.

Read the rest at the link below.


  1. The Japanese never quite got their shit together with regards to their small arms. If they’d had their weapons procurement in alignment with their tactics/operational intent? They’d have equipped most of their troops with submachineguns, a few DMRs, and light machineguns.

    Instead, they relied on bolt-action rifles and bayonets, even sticking a pig-sticker onto their LMG.

    Pure delusion and wishful thinking, that.

    Personally, I’d love to see the effect of taking a time machine back, and handing off the blueprints for the Claymore mine to the US military establishment within enough time for them to see the merits of the design, and spool up mass production. I just wonder how long the “Banzai!” charge would have been a thing, after encountering staggered and sequenced daisy-chained Claymore mines…

    ‘Twould have been a thing of wonder, I think.

    • I often wondered why we didn’t have something like canister or grape for field guns once we had seen the tactic of the massed charge a couple of times.

      The other weapon that would have proven useful would have been a mini-gun. One can imagine the psychological impression that a mini-gun could have left on any survivors.

          • An artilleryman of my acquaintance just pointed me at something called Killer Junior and Killer Senior, which more-or-less replaced Beehive for the Artillery in Vietnam…

            “Killers Junior and Senior were developed as alternatives to the Beehive flechette rounds previously used against nearby enemy troops. The advantage of the Killer techniques over Beehive is that the airburst projects fragments in all directions, and is able to wound enemies crawling or lying in defilade, whereas the flechettes of a Beehive round would simply fly harmlessly over a low target.”

            If you’d like to learn more, a search engine can help you find that “more”. Apparently the newer Variable Time radar fuses are more versatile than I thought…

          • DAd said they used Beehive several times when nearly being over run . I’ve never understood how Killer SR/Jr would be all that useful when you are down to bayonet range and FPF. Then you need to be able to depress a tube to shoot POA like a rifle.

            probably why Dad’s 105s where still using beehive in 1968

      • That was another question I had about WWII weapons. Why did it take until Vietnam for us to develop Beehive rounds?

        As well, why did the Germans fail to develop such obvious measures, given the mass infantry attacks on the Eastern Front? I can’t even find where the hell they made use of fougasse to any real degree, and that’s something that I’d think was obvious. Not to mention, there aren’t any German canister rounds that I can find in the literature available to me. Which seems a little, y’know… Unserious? I mean, were I a German WWII artilleryman, I think I’d have had some thoughts about including some such thing in my loadout. As well, were I a German Engineer sort of person, I would think that a factory-produced portable fougasse would be a Really Good Thing ™ to have along on Barbarossa…

  2. Regarding canister; I worked at the fire dept. w/ a Vietnam Marine assigned to 8″ mobile guns on a firebase. He said they had berms behind each gun to back up onto to depress muzzle to fire at the perimeter for the inevitable night attack. He stated ” Grapeshot made some true believers.”He also said “I’ll give them little f**kers credit, after a round of canister some of them would try again.”

  3. Considering the extensive use of canister during the Civil War, you’d think the institution would have retained some memory of the usefulness thereof.

  4. It says a great deal about the foolishness of Japanese arms development and procurement that they would start developing a semi-auto infantry rifle while they were losing the war. The Japanese actually had a prewar semi-auto rifle development program using a mix of native and foreign designs but dropped it in 1937 to invade China. Then again we are talking about a military run and fielding 7 different nominally 7.7mm machine guns between ground, armor and air some of which used incompatible ammunition. In contrast the British only had 5 types of .303 machine gun all of which could use the same ammunition and the US had 4 issue .30 cal. guns, 3 of which were variations of the same design.
    The Japanese would have been better served by accelerating the type 100 SMG or developing a cheap stamped construction carbine like the Germans.


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