Aviation & Aerospace - Airpower 2024 - Aircraft by Country - Aircraft Manufacturers Vehicles & Artillery - Armor 2024 - Armor by Country - Armor Manufacturers Infantry Small Arms - Warfighter 2024 - Small Arms by Country - Arms Manufacturers Warships & Submarines - Navies 2024 - Ships by Country - Shipbuilders U.S. Military Pay 2024 Military Ranks Special Forces by Country

Type 99

Light Machine Gun (LMG)

Imperial Japan | 1939

"The Type 99 Light Machine Gun was developed to coincide with the arrival of the new Type 99 rifle using the 7.7x58mm Arisaka cartridge."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 02/17/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The Type 99 served the Imperial Japanese Army during most of World War 2. It was designed to take advantage of the newer and more powerful 7.7x58mm Arisaka rifle cartridge and replace the Type 96 Light Machine Gun of similar scope. However, production of the latter unit was such that both weapon types were fielded side-by-side for the duration of the war. The Type 99 proved an improvement over the previous form and lent itself quite well in the squad support role for which it was intended.

Origins of the Type 99 stemmed from the previous Type 96 Light Machine Gun, which itself was developed to replace the Type 11 series. The Type 11 and Type 96 both utilized the 6.5x50mm Arisaka cartridge which was the same ammunition used in the standard issue Type 38 infantry rifle series. The use of universal ammunition lent itself well for operations in the field where a soldiers of any class could supply one another with ammunition if need be. The modernized Type 96 was brought online in 1936 and proved successful once in the field. However, by this time, the IJA was interested in a more powerful rifle utilizing the more powerful 7.7x58mm Arisaka cartridge and developed the more modern Type 99 infantry rifle as a result. This now made the Type 96 a moot product and forced the development of a new light machine gun to support the new cartridge round.

The Type 99 was designed under the guidance of Kijiro Nambu (September 22, 1869 - May 1, 1949) and followed much of what made the Type 96 a field success for the IJA. Nambu made his career out of the Japanese military. Beginning in 1897, Nambu served under fabled Japanese weapon's designer Nariakira Arisaka and worked for several product developments. Nambu's tenure with the IJA formally ran from 1889 to 1924, achieving the rank of Lieutenant General in the process. Following his military career, Nambu founded the Nambu Arms Manufacturing Company to continue his ties with the Japanese military. Design of a light machine gun - the Type 99 - was begun in 1939 to which a military procurement contract followed for production to begin that year. The Type 99 entered service in 1939, alongside the still issued Type 11 and Type 96 series machine guns - and would serve the Imperial Japanese Army through August of 1945 - the Empire of Japan's final participation in the war.

The Type 99 fired the 7.7x58mm Arisaka cartridge from a gas-operated action. The weapon was fed from a top-loaded, curved 30-round detachable box magazine. Rate of fire was listed at 450 to 500 rounds per minute with a muzzle velocity of approximately 2,300 feet per second. The Type 99 weighed in at 11.4 kilograms and featured a running length of 1,181mm. The barrel measured in at 550mm. The barrel could be changed by the operator to prevent overheating and subsequent malfunction.

Externally, the Type 99 was decidedly Japanese in appearance, comparable to other weapons systems in this class, and characterized by the use of a finned gun barrel, curved magazine and flash suppressor as well as use of novel concepts such as a monopod at the stock and fittings for a bayonet. The receiver was blocky with much detail and contained the major internal working components of the weapon including the feed and cocking handle. The weapon was actuated via a straight pistol grip with applicable trigger group nearby. A rather short-length shoulder stock emanated from the rear of the pistol grip and lower portion of the receiver and sported some ergonomic features including a curved shoulder plate. The curved magazine was fed through the top of the receiver, ahead of the pistol grip unit with a magazine release lever identifiable to the rear of the magazine feed. A carrying handle was usually affixed to the forward portion of the receiver to facilitate in the transporting of the weapon. A gas cylinder ran underneath the barrel ahead of the lower forward receiver. The barrel continued a distance ahead of the cylinder and was capped by a conical muzzle flash hider. Interestingly, an infantry-style bayonet could be fixed to the underside of the gas cylinder for close-combat though this proved a rather useless feature at best. A folding bipod was also mounted to the barrel/cylinder bracket and used for stabilized supporting fire. A monopod was fitted to early production forms of the Type 99 LMG. Sighting was accomplished through a front blade and rear leaf sight. A telescopic sight was optional and, if fitted, was mounted to the right side of the receiver.

Beyond the base squad-level Type 99 model, a compact version was designed for use by Japanese paratroopers that fielded a detachable butt and barrel system. The design also featured a folding pistol grip and bipod. During the jump, the Japanese soldier would contain the entire weapon system in a handy carrying bag and assemble his weapon once landed on the ground.

Beyond the IJA, the Type 99 inevitably found itself in the inventories of China, North Korea and Taiwan.

Content ©MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
The physical qualities of the Type 99. Information presented is strictly for general reference and should not be misconstrued as useful for hardware restoration or operation.
1,181 mm
46.50 in
O/A Length
550 mm
21.65 in
Barrel Length
25.13 lb
11.40 kg
7.7x58mm Arisaka
30-round detachable box magazine
Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Type 99. Information presented is strictly for general reference and should not be misconstrued as useful for hardware restoration or operation.
2,300 ft/sec
701 m/sec
Muzzle Velocity
Notable series variants as part of the Type 99 Light Machine Gun (LMG) family line.
Type 99 LMG - Base Series Designation
Type 99 LMG (Paratrooper) - Limited production model; detachable stock and barrel; foldable pistol grip and bipod; issued with carrying bag.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Type 99. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national small arms listing.

Contractor(s): State Factories - Imperial Japan
National flag of China National flag of modern Japan National flag of North Korea National flag of Taiwan

[ China; Imperial Japan; North Korea; Taiwan ]
1 / 1
Image of the Type 99
Left side view of the Type 99 Light Machine Gun with magazine in place, bayonet fixed and bipod extended.

Design Qualities
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Type 99 Light Machine Gun (LMG) appears in the following collections:
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2024 Military Pay Scale Military Ranks U.S. DoD Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols US 5-Star Generals WW2 Weapons by Country

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com. No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

Part of a network of sites that includes Global Firepower, WDMMA.org, WDMMW.org, and World War Next.

©2024 www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-2024 (21yrs)