When the Japanese Copied the M1 Garand

    The Type 4 (sometimes also called the Type 5) was a clone of the US M1 Garand rifle developed by the Japanese Navy towards the very end of World War II. It’s a fascinating rifle for its combination of American engineering and Japanese style. Forgotten Weapons released a video yesterday giving an overview of the rifle at Rock Island Auction:

    The Japanese project to create the┬áType 4 was not the first time the M1 Garand would be copied, and it was certainly not the last. As an interesting tie-in, John Pedersen, who developed the first Japanese self-loading rifle to be trialed (today called just the “Japanese Pedersen”), was perhaps the first designer to copy the Garand, with his GX and GY rifles. In the post-war world, the M1 would become perhaps the most influential rifle in the world, and its mechanisms and concepts would be copied numerous times in the late ’40s and early ’50s.

    The Type 4 project was probably doomed to fail, not just because of the impending end of the war, but because the Japanese had none of the manufacturing techniques and machines developed by John Garand during the production engineering phase of development for the M1. Even for the US, and with the help of such a genius as Garand, this engineering took years; that the Japanese could do the same for themselves in a matter of months was probably too much to hope.

    Nathaniel F

    Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. He can be reached via email at [email protected]