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Howa Type 96

40mm Automatic Grenade Launcher (AGL) [ 1996 ]

The Howa Type 96 fulfills the automatic grenade launcher role in the modern Japanese Army inventory.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 10/24/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

All modern major leading military powers of the world have adopted some form of belt-fed Automatic Grenade Launcher (AGL) for the infantry suppression role. For the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) this has come in the form of the Type 96 from Howa. The series was introduced in 1996 and retains an active presence in the JGSDF inventory today (2017).

As with other Western AGLs, the Type 96 makes use of the readily-available (and proven) 40x56mm grenade projectile which is offered with various warheads to suit the mission need. This projectile is fired through a "blow forward" system of operation with feeding done by way of 50-round belts (pulled from a hard case along the left side of the receiver). Sighting is through a flip-up, ladder-style arrangement fitted ahead of the receiver. The weapon is typically fired from a heavy-duty tripod or from a vehicle to better absorb the recoil effects of such a weapon. At the business end of the weapon is a slotted muzzle brake. Handlebar type grips are seated at the weapon's extreme aft end.©MilitaryFactory.com
The Type 96 has a listed maximum range out to 1,500 meters and a rate-of-fire up to 350 rounds-per-minute is possible. Overall weight is 25 kilograms with an overall length of 975mm. The barrel measures 455mm long.

The Howa design was selected by the JGSDF as a indigenous solution that could be produced locally without a need for licensing and has solved an ongoing problem for the JGSDF - mainly bridging the gap between the in-service medium machine guns and heavy machine guns of the day. This it does well as the weapon has since been featured in stationary defensive roles as well as more mobile, vehicle-mounted roles. In the latter, the system provides a much-needed offensive punch for light-armored, high mobility vehicle types. In its general function, the Type 96 serves the same battlefield role as the American SACO Mk 19 AGL series (detailed elsewhere on this site).©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


Service Year

Japan national flag graphic


40mm Automatic Grenade Launcher (AGL)

National flag of modern Japan Japan
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Fire Support
Capable of suppressing enemy elements at range through direct or in-direct fire.
Special Purpose
Special purpose weapon for a specially defined battlefield role.

Overall Length
975 mm
38.39 in
Barrel Length
455 mm
17.91 in
Empty Wgt
55.12 lb
25.00 kg



Blow-Forward Operation

(Material presented above is for historical and entertainment value and should not be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation - always consult official manufacturer sources for such information)



Rounds / Feed

50-round belt.
Cartridge relative size chart
*May not represent an exhuastive list; calibers are model-specific dependent, always consult official manufacturer sources.
**Graphics not to actual size; not all cartridges may be represented visually; graphics intended for general reference only.
Max Eff.Range
4,925 ft
(1,501 m | 1,642 yd)

Type 96 - Base Series Designation

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Images Gallery

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Image of the Howa Type 96
Image from the Japanese Ministry of Defense.

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