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Japan selects new sniper rifles and machine guns

20th February 2023 - 10:00 GMT | by Koji Miyake in Tokyo


A sniper in the 1st Airborne Brigade wields an M24, the JGSDF’s current standard sniper rifle. (Photo: author)

Japan's military has selected a new 7.62mm sniper rifle and 5.56mm light machine gun.

On 23 January, the Japanese MoD announced what the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s next sniper rifle and machine gun will be – the Heckler & Koch HK417 and FN Herstal M249 Mk3 respectively.

Around 900 HK417 7.62mm sniper rifles will be acquired by the JGSDF. These supplement 1,304 Remington Arms M24 sniper rifles obtained from 2002-18. The latter were imported from the US via FMS, but fielding by troops was belated because of delivery delays.

Coalition combat in Iraq and Afghanistan demonstrated the need for an automatic mode for sniper rifles. Japan’s transition from the bolt-action M24 to the semi-automatic

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Koji Miyake


Koji Miyake

Koji Miyake is a Tokyo-based writer.

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