One of the less common Japanese rifles of the WWII era is the Type I (pronounced “Type Eye”). The Japanese Imperial Army and Navy procured small arms independently of each other, and the Army received priority as the ground war in China escalated. This left the Navy short of rifles and unable to get them from domestic producers, so they turned to Italy. A contract was signed ordering tens of thousands of Type I rifles (the exact quantity is unclear – most sources say 60,000, but the serial number range would suggest more than double that number).

The rifle was based on a Carcano receiver and bolt, but otherwise configured like a Type 38 Arisaka. For a thorough still-photo comparison between the two rifles, take a look at Teri’s excellent page on the Type I at Nambu World.

8 Comments

  1. The Type I rifle was produced by Italy for the Japanese Empire prior to World War II. After the invasion of China, all Arisaka production was required for use of the Imperial Army, so under the terms of the Anti-Comintern Pact, the Imperial Navy contracted with Italy for this weapon in 1937. The Type I is based on the Type 38 rifle and utilizes a Carcano action, but retains the Arisaka/Mauser type 5-round box magazine. The Type I was utilized primarily by Japanese Imperial Naval Forces. It is chambered for the 6.5 x 50 mm cartridge. Approximately 120,000 Type I rifles were produced by Italian arsenals for Japan between 1937 through 1939.

  2. My Type I is clearly the best made/finished Carcano I have in my collection. This is another affordable oddity for those attracted to having something a little different in their collection. Since most of the ones that made it to the US are in VG or better condition (if not unissued), you can afford to be picky on condition.

  3. I am curious as to know what type of sling it uses. I am trying to find a sling for mine, and I am not sure if a type 38 arisaka sling would work.

  4. I picked up a type I at a gun show. I was told it was a captured rifle. It has red and yellow striped paint on the end of the barrel stock and has 2nd Plt painted in white on the buttstock.
    Does anyone have any information on the history of this use/paint?

    • Yes the other parts will fit. I just did this myself, since the Type I that I bought a couple of weeks ago has something goofed up with the firing pin and cocking piece. They are apparently stuck together, but the firing pin is not completely screwed in, which means that the firing pin spring is not fully compressed, and strikes on the primers are weak. A new (to me) cocking piece/firing pin assembly (I actually bought a complete bolt) solved the problem. The bolt was a standard Carcano bolt.

      • I should also say that “minor fitting may be required”. I tried four different firing pin assemblies. Two of them fit perfectly, the other two would have needed slight modification (filing) of the retaining lug on the safety.

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