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Shinichi Kiyotani

On 18th May, the Japan Ground Self-Defence Force (JGSDF) showed the new Type 20 5.56mm Rifle and Pistol SFP9 to the media at Ministry of Defence (MoD). Type 20 Rifle is the replacement to the current Type 89 Rifle and was developed as a private venture of Howa Machinery, Ltd. It is more compact than the Type 89 and has improved drainage performance and rusting durability to match amphibious combat. The 5.56 x 45mm ammunition is the same as that used on the Type 89 Rifle though it also has mutual compatibility with NATO 5.56 x 45mm ammunition.

The Type 20 has adopted a gas operation system with a weight 3.5kg, a barrel length of 330mm and an adopted polymer stock with extendable length and adjustable cheek-pad. The overall length is 783 to 854mm which is shorter than Type 89 Rifle at 990mm. The polymer 30 round magazine has compatibility with Type 89 Rifle and the fire selector provided to the both sides of frame, has “safe”, “semi-automatic” and “full-automatic” modes. Type 89 Rifle has three-burst mode, however it was omitted for Type 20, because the system is complex, costly, and low operational reliability in addition to not necessary from operational experiences from the Type 89 Rifle.

The Type 20 is equipped with a rail mount system, to adopt an optical sight and other accessories with B&T’s fore grip/bipod adopted as standard, the prototype rifle also mounted x1 to 8 telescope sight of March-F, developed by Deon Optical Design Corporation, with a x1 dot sight to be procured in future.

Forward planning

In FY 2020, the JGSDF will procure 3,283 rifles with JPY 900m and JPY 100m allocated for initial costs. The Type 20 will be delivered to the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade, the Rapid Reaction Regiment, and Educational Units, preferentially. The 9mm Pistol SFP9 from H&K with striker fire mechanism for replacement of the local made SIG P220 Pistol. Use 9×19mm Parabellum ammunition Wight 710g, Length 186mm, the rear part of grip is modular that provides three deferent sized pieces to choose suitable size for shooter. This fiscal year FY 2020, the GSDF procures 323 pistols with JPY 20 million.