The Arisaka Rifle

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Hoffman Grink

The Arisaka Rifle

Post by Hoffman Grink »

Why was the Arisaka rifle so long when the Japanese were so short?


I'm surprised it didn't drag on the ground!!!! Why didn't they adopt something like the Mauser Carbine?

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Post by Tanaka »

Well the type 38 was 50.2in long without its bayonet and was designed back in 1905 when alot of rifles were quite long and the Japanese had a hait of copying alot of there designs from European sources, Afterall the Arisakas are copied from Mauser designs.
The Japanese high command knew the rifle was perhaps abit to long for some of there men, but that didn't really mean anything to the Japanese high command so the men just had to put up with it.


The type 99 was an improved weapon alround, shorter length, lighter and heavier calibre, 7.7mm compared to the type 38's 6.5mm. The type 99 was also sometimes fitted with a monopod and the front.


There were carbine versions of both these weapons but these were reserved for specialst troops, like cavalry troopers.

All rifles aprt from the type 44 carbine which had a permanently attacjed spike bayonet could be fitted with the standard Model 30 bayonet which ahd a 16in blade very similar to the WW1 British bayonet. Unlike most other armies the Japanese put bayonet attachments onto the sub-machine guns and there LMG aswell as there rifles.


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Richard Altorfer
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Re: The Arisaka Rifle

Post by Richard Altorfer »

I heard that back in 1937 the Japanese Army was deciding if they should switch to the model 99 as a standard.

You must Remember that the japanese soldier is quite short, so taller enemies had the avantage in hand to hand combat. the Arisakas and its bayonets length evened out the odds, making it possible for the japanese soldier to 'stick' him before the enemy got near (Although it was still quite heavy)

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Hirate Sakimori
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Re: The Arisaka Rifle

Post by Hirate Sakimori »

My grandfather in his diary from the time actually praised the Arisaka type 38. He loved the extra length of the rifle. He died in 1997 but a while before he passed away I recall asking him was the rifle he used ever very awkward. My Grandfather was 5.7 which was fairly tall for a Japanese soldier at the time most other troops under him were a few inches shorter and he was Captain. :D

Some of the good points he said was the rifle has good range and that it was hard to spot in the jungle.

Because the rifle was very long... it did not have as much noticeable muzzle flash... there was no muzzle break granted... but it was still very hard to spot a shot from an Arisaka. The smaller Arisaka bullet also tumbled a lot when it hit the human target... that created terrible wounds that were harder to treat in the tropical climate.

Also he said they would keep the dustcovers when marching but remove them during intense fighting... not because they were noisy... but just out of habit. The noise is not actually that much noticeable.

The only downside he mentioned about his Arisaka was the low capacity when compared to the Enfield Rifle which the British used. The Enfield could hold 10 rounds and so in combat there was a slight edge to the Enfield...

Also the Arisaka was rather revolutionary for its time using a smaller cartridge as it did... it was somewhat like the M16 of its time when compared to the Enfield. Although unlike the M16 it was somewhat more reliable but also a little more awkward due to length it was by no means a bad rifle though. My Grandfather loved the Japanese rifles but had a lot of bad things to say about the pistols... he purchased his own pistol :D

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Re: The Arisaka Rifle

Post by Halle »

Excellent info , thank you . I had always been led to believe the Japanese rifle was an inferior weapon , meant to be a mount for the bayonet .
Jäger Stefan Halle 3./I./Geb.Jag.Reg.100

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