Japanese Light Machine Guns: The Type 99 LMG

    The Japanese 7.7mm Type 99 took after its predecessor the 6.5mm Type 96, both machine guns forming the basis of mobile fire support during the Second World War. Type 99 was a magazine fed, gas operated, light machine gun with a removable barrel that began production in 1941 and continuing until the end of the war. Interestingly it probably was one of the first few light machine gun designs that saw a mass issue with an optical sight, something that small arms design wouldn’t see again until the SUSAT on the SA80’s LSW.

    The Type 99 had a number of very good features such as the operating mechanism, the finned barrel, a robust and fixed carrying handle, top feed magazine, a safety that also locked the charging handle, and two separate dust covers for the magazine well and the ejection port that were actuated by the bolt carrier’s movement.

    But it also had its fair share of issues. The bipods were much too tall, the buttstock was very awkwardly designed, the monopod wasn’t adjustable, and the optic was very delicate, prone to parts breakage.

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    Miles

    Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

    Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at [email protected]


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