POTD: The Japanese Howa Type 89, and the mythical modernized version

Steve Johnson
by Steve Johnson

Akaitama sent in this photo taken at Iron Fist 2015, an amphibious training exercise undertaken by the Japan Ground Self Defense Force and the US Marines. The JDF troops are using the standard issue Howa Type 89 rifle: with its 420mm barrel, screwed-on top rail, old-style selector switch and a Trijicon ACOG TA31RMR.

Last year, unbeknown to us until now, a new modernized model of the Type 89 was exhibited at a Japanese Defense expo last year. The rifle featured a full length rail, side rails and a new selector switch. What is really surprising is it appeared to have been made by non other than Tokyo Marui, a large airsoft manufacturer. Given Japan’s ban on military exports (recently removed) and the fact that very few people are allowed to own guns, Tokyo Marui probably has more experience in designing firearms (or at least the look and feel) than any other Japanese company.

Thanks Akaitama for sharing.

Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson

I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!

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  • Chi Wai Shum Chi Wai Shum on Nov 24, 2015

    The sighting system shown in the picture is real. It is likely they think they do not need a real gun to demo the sight in the expo where the picture is taken.

  • Evan Evan on Nov 27, 2015

    That's the US Army in that picture, not the Marines. We never wore those ridiculous blue cammies.