The Arisaka was based around the basic German Mauser design, albeit with some
local alterations. It utilized a cock-on-closing action, which improved the rate
of fire from the standard Mauser cock-on-open design. It featured a
quick-release bolt and antiaircraft sights, as well as a rotating bolt cover and
monopod. The bolt cover, in particular, was highly problematic. Many soldiers
simply discarded them. The original versions are generally considered to be very
strong rifles, having one of the strongest receiver assemblies of any military
rifle of its time. As a bolt action rifle, the Type 99 was a very solid weapon,
but was completely outclassed by the semi-automatic
rifles deployed by the Allies in that theatre of war.
The Type 99's bayonet was in the form of a very long, slender blade, grooved
to provide rigidness. The early models featured a hooked quillion. These
bayonets attached to a lug under the barrel and were further stabilized by a
loop that fit around the muzzle. Unmounted, it handled similar to a machete.