The QBZ-95 (Chinese: 95式自动步枪; pinyin: 95 Shì Zìdòng Bùqiāng; literally: "Type 95 Automatic Rifle") is a bullpup-style assault rifle designed and manufactured by Norinco for the People's Liberation Army, the armed forces of the People's Republic of China, People's Armed Police (para-military police), and other Chinese law enforcement agencies. This weapon uses the 5.8×42mm DBP87, a type ammunition of Chinese origin. The QBZ-95 consists of a system of firearms using a common design. This family includes a carbine variant, a standard rifle, and a light support weapon.
| Type 95 Automatic Rifle|
QBZ-95 Light Rifle Family
The QBZ-95 (original version, no longer produced)
|Place of origin||China|
|Used by||See Users|
War in North-West Pakistan|
Internal conflict in Burma
|Designer||Duo Yingxian, Arsenal 208, Norinco|
5.8×42mm DBP87 (QBZ-95)|
5.8×42mm DBP10 (QBZ-95-1)
5.56×45mm NATO (QBZ-97)
|Action||Short-stroke piston, rotating bolt|
|Rate of fire||
c. 650 rounds/min (QBZ-95)|
c. 800 rounds/min (QBZ-95B Carbine)
|Effective firing range||
Rifle: 400 m point target, 600 m area target|
LSW: 600 m point target, 800 m area target
Carbine: 300 m point target, 500 m area target
30-round detachable box magazine|
75-round detachable drum
|Sights||Hooded post front sight and aperture rear sight, optional Y/MA 95-002 telescopic sight|
The QBZ-95 was first observed outside China on 1 July 1997, when the United Kingdom transferred the sovereignty of Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China. It is a modern weapon system in a bullpup configuration, where the weapon's action and magazine are located behind the grip and trigger assembly. The weapon was designed to replace the standard-issue Type 81 assault rifle. The QBZ-95 had replaced the Type 81 in frontline units by 2006, and is gradually replacing it in second-line units and the People's Armed Police.
The rifle uses polymer materials in its construction, fires a 5.8×42mm small-caliber, high-velocity bullet (in a class with the NATO standard 5.56×45mm SS109 and the Russian 5.45×39mm), and employs a bullpup configuration similar to the British SA80, French FAMAS, Austrian Steyr AUG, South African Vektor CR-21, Israeli Tavor or the Singaporean SAR-21.
An improved version called the QBZ-95-1 was first seen undergoing trials in early 2010. The first formal public display of the improved version was with the Hong Kong Garrison, the first unit to receive the original QBZ-95, in a military parade in July 2012. Some improvements were ergonomic, with the safety switch moved to above the pistol grip and the right-sided ejection port moved forward with ejection of cartridges at an angle to allow left-handed firing. Unlike previous DBP87 and DBP85 5.8×42mm rounds, it fires better quality DBP10 ammunition with a non-corrosive primer, clean-burning propellant, and copper-coated steel casing with a copper-alloy-jacketed hardened steel-cored bullet. The QBZ-95-1 has a longer, heavier barrel and redesigned muzzle brake, a diamond-shaped cross-section on the handguard to disperse heat, a stronger buttstock and a redesigned trigger guard. The carrying handle was lowered to better position optics on the quick-releasable modified dovetail rail, and a pair of short rails at the sight's base allows for tactical accessories to be mounted.
Though there have been hints of the 97 variants being involved in some foreign conflicts, little has been reported about its overall combat effectiveness. It has been at least shown in televised tests, however, that the weapon can continue to function after being immersed in water, as well as other harsh environmental conditions. What is also known is that the weapon operates using a short-stroke gas operated rotating-bolt system, similar to most modern military rifles.
The selector switch on the rifle has four settings. The selector settings are as follows: "0" for safe, "1" for "semi-automatic", "2" for fully automatic, and on selected models, "3" for three round burst setting.
The Chinese Army says it has tested its 5.8×42mm cartridge extensively against NATO's 5.56×45mm and its counterpart, the 5.45×39mm from Russia. The PLA claims their cartridge outperforms both with a flatter trajectory, and a higher retention of velocity and energy downrange. It also has a penetration superior to the 5.56×45mm NATO.
The design of the QBZ-95 is completely new with little resemblance to any of the previous Chinese designs. Thanks to the low recoil impulse of the small caliber ammunition and a recoil buffer system, the rifle is claimed to be more controllable in automatic fire. The aim was to develop an assault rifle based around the 5.8×42mm round, with specifications of being accurate and reliable.
Magazines are inserted into the magazine well, which is located to the rear of the pistol grip. The magazine is inserted front-first into the well so that the notch on the front of the magazine is retained in the well. The magazine is then "rocked" into place by rotating the rear of the magazine upwards into the well (in a manner similar to the AK-47 series) until the magazine latch to the rear of the well is engaged. To release the magazine, the magazine release is pressed rearward, and the magazine pivoted forward and disengaged from the front recess.
The QBZ-95 uses a linear striker-firing mechanism, where a spring-loaded firing pin and linear hammer fires the chambered cartridge; most post-World War II military rifles use a rotating hammer firing mechanism. The firing mechanism and trigger are inspired by the vz. 58, but with noticeable differences. The QBZ-95's striker piece has a more complex shape. Furthermore, the QBZ-95 uses in-line main and striker springs using the same spring guide rod, instead of two parallel springs.
The charging handle is located under the integral carrying handle, similar to early versions of the AR-10. To chamber a round and charge the weapon, this handle is pulled fully to the rear and then released forward to bring a round into the chamber. It is then ready to fire. On the later variants, if the bolt is hold open, the charging handle will be locked in the rear position under the carrying handle. One can either use the finger to pull the charging handle to the rear fully or press the bolt release button located behind the magazine latch to release the bolt, one feature the previous design lacks.
Some experts are concerned over the awkward position of the safety lever near the end of the rifle away from the shooter's hand. This position makes it difficult to quickly select "fire" when it is in "safe" mode. This is resolved on the "G" ("Gai", 改; literally: "modified") variant (QBZ-95-1) where the fire selector switch is repositioned above the pistol grip, giving it a thumb fire selector switch for easy firing mode transition.
The QBZ-95-1 has a redesigned recoil buffer and feels gentler when fired.
The QBZ-95 can launch rifle grenades from the barrel using blank ammunition. It can also mount the QLG91B (Type 91B) under-barrel grenade launcher. This 35 mm launcher weighs 1.45 kg (3.2 lb) and is 310 mm (12 in) long. It loads from the breech and fires grenades at 75 m/s (250 ft/s). Various lethal and non-lethal rounds are available including high explosive, tear gas, and illumination. On the QBZ-95-1 rifle, the new QLG10A 35 mm grenade launcher can be mounted. The QLG10A is the same length and weighs the same as the QLG91B, but differs in that it fires caseless ammunition. It is modeled after the Russian GP-25 and fires DFS-10 grenades. The DFS-10 has the same caseless design as the Russian VOG-25 where the base of the round is the propellant and nothing is left in the barrel after firing. The QLG10A launcher is loaded from its muzzle and the shell has pre-engraved rifling for added stabilization. It is aimed with iron sights mounted to the left above the barrel, but a red dot sight can be installed over the sight base. The DFS-10 round weighs 169 g (6.0 oz), has a velocity of 78 m/s (260 ft/s), and has an effective range of 430 meters. Warheads include high explosive fragmentation, high explosive dual-purpose, inert practice, and less-lethal riot control versions.
Chinese media reports have indicated that several types of Picatinny rail modification have been distributed among PLA soldiers with assorted optics. The Picatinny rail for QBZ-95-1 features a lower carrying handles and a short accessory rail on each side of the rifle. Soldiers can mount holographic sights and magnifiers for their service rifles.
This is the Chinese standard-issue version of the rifle, chambered for the 5.8×42mm DBP87 round.
Due to issues associated with the original design, the PLA began a program to improve the Type 95. Lead designer Duo Yingxian (朵英贤), now retired, stated that the project was currently in progress by some of his students. Goals for the Type 95 upgrade program include the following:
1. To improve the rifle's ergonomics and fire controls.
2. To chamber the rifle for a new type of ammunition with double the effective range.
3. To add a quick-firing, domestically-produced grenade launcher.
The upgrade program resulted in the improved QBZ-95-1 variant.
This is a shorter and lighter version of the standard rifle. From pictures seen the QBZ-95B is seen issued only to naval officers, possibly due to the limited room in naval vessels that would preclude the full length rifle being used in close quarters. Its shorter barrel prevents a grenade launcher or bayonet from being attached, and it has an AKS-74U style muzzle booster. The carbine may also be in use with special forces. The carbine lacks a forend and instead has a foregrip, with the front iron sight built into the carrying handle.
This light support weapon fulfills the role as the squad automatic weapon. It is similar to the QBZ-95 Rifle with a modified longer and heavier barrel, higher firing rate, heavier cartridge and is equipped with larger 75-round drum magazine.
QBZ-97 (5.56 mm Assault Rifle)Edit
The Chinese have constructed an export version, the QBZ-97, which is similar to the QBZ-95 in all respects except that it is chambered for 5.56×45mm NATO ammunition instead of the original Chinese 5.8 mm cartridge and has a deep magazine well designed to accept STANAG magazines. This rifle is currently used by Ginghis Security Academy, a Chinese private security group, supplementing their QBZ-95's.
A variant of the QBZ-97, called the QBZ-97 FTU (Flat Top Upper), is available to the Canadian civilian market (this is a separate part from a separate company). It has a redesigned upper receiver that replaces the carry handle with a long flat Picatinny rail, due to ongoing complains with mounting optics on the original model. The original vertical charging handle is also re-modified into a non-reciprocating horizontal handle(this version however has not been made available yet in Canada.
QBZ-97A (5.56 mm Assault Rifle)Edit
This variant is a QBZ-97 with the addition of a 3-round burst mode and a bolt hold-open device; it also differs from the QBZ-95 and the QBZ-97 for the shape of its grip, now missing the "front grip" part in front of the trigger guard. This weapon is the only QBZ-95 variant to have seen commercial success and military use outside of China. QBZ-97A rifles are in use by 911 Special Forces of Cambodia Special Operations personnel.
QBZ-97B (5.56 mm Carbine)Edit
This is the carbine version of the QBZ-97. The official distributor of the QBZ-97B assault carbine on the international market, Jianshe Industries (Group) Corporation, advertises and sells it under the denomination "5.56mm Short Automatic Rifle Type NQZ03B (97)".
The light support weapon model of the QBZ-97 chambered for 5.56×45mm NATO ammunition instead of the original Chinese 5.8 mm cartridge.
The new QBZ-95-1, also called the QBZ-95 “Gai” ("改"; literally: "modified"), addresses several reliability and ease-of-use issues, and has improved ergonomics.
QBZ-95 variant titled "1" fires the heavier 5.8×42mm DBP10 round, and has a heavier, longer barrel and a redesigned muzzle brake to use it. The "1" variant has an altered butt stock, trigger guard, and a repositioned thumb fire selector switch above the pistol grip. The carrying handle has retained the Chinese quick release mount rail. There is no evidence of a Picatinny Rail being added; however, two inch long Weaver rail looking connecting mounts are on both sides of the gas regulator. In addition, bullet casings eject to the front (1 o'clock position from the barrel) of the weapon, allowing left handed firing. Also, there is a bolt release button located behind the magazine latch. It has been seen in service in small numbers for testing and evaluation in first quarter of 2010. It has been speculated that this variant will enter full service in late 2010, replacing the original QBZ-95 assault rifle introduced into service in 1995. The original QBZ-95 rifles will be handed down to second line and reserve troops, while front line troops receive this variant. The QBZ 95-1 is already in use by the Hong Kong Garrison. In addition, it has been spotted in use with the Lanzhou garrison and other units.
Two sporterized, semi-automatic only rifles based upon the QBZ-97A assault rifle and the QBZ-97B assault carbine have been developed for the civilian market, the Type 97 rifle and the Type 97A carbine. They are chambered for the .223 Remington cartridge and are fed by STANAG magazines.
Type 97A carbines became available in Canada in 2008, were classified as Non-Restricted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and sold to general public. In January 2009, a shipment of Type 97 firearms was approved by the RCMP for retail sale, but later confiscated and seized by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers. Around the same time a second shipment of Type 97A restricted firearms was also stopped by CBSA. On March 22, 2010 about 35 civilian owners of the Type 97A carbine originally imported by Lever Arms of BC (the only version ever available for sale) were sent notice by the RCMP indicating that the status of their firearm had been changed to 12.2 prohibited (fully automatic), and owners without such a firearm license had 30 days to turn in their Type 97A firearm to either individual or business that has such a license, or to police for destruction. Canadian Type-97 owners initiated a reference hearing, to establish legality of re-classification of the Type-97 semi-automatic weapon to prohibited status. In early 2012 the challenge was lost, and the judge ruled that Type-97 firearms indeed are prohibited devices. While the exact details of the modification are kept secret, RCMP firearm technicians, allegedly, demonstrated to an expert on the defense side, that the Type-97 firearm can be readily and easily converted to fully automatic mode of operation in short time and with commonly available tools. As a result, Type-97 firearms were confiscated from the owners, and are no longer legal for civilian ownership in Canada (even for people with the so-called 12.2 fully automatic firearm license).
On April 28, 2013, Norinco's new EMEI T97NSR was classified as a non-restricted firearm by the RCMP with FRT Number 142760, and became legal for dealers to import for those with non-restricted possession and acquisition licenses. It is legal in Canada for hunting, varmint control, target practice and competitive shooting. It went into retail stores on September 17, 2013 and costs about $1,000 CAD.
Export variant, chambering 5.56 NATO.
Shortened variant, chambering 5.56 NATO.
Enhanced variants with reduced carrying handles (flat-tops) have been built in both Canada and China.
Two export variants, dubbed the EM3516 and T97NSR-A, have been unveiled.
- Bangladesh: President Guard Regiment use QBZ95
- China: People's Liberation Army.
- Cambodia: 911 Para-Commando Special Forces and Bodyguard Unit (The QBZ-97, QBZ-97A, QBZ-97B, and QBB-97 LSW).
- Laos: The QBZ-97 Used by Lao People's Armed Forces.[better source needed]
- Myanmar: Locally made version of QBZ-97 known as MA-1 Mark-III is currently in service with Myanmar Special Forces.
- Pakistan: Used by SOG (Special Operations Group) of Frontier Corps.[better source needed]
- Philippines: Used by Philippine National Police.[better source needed]
- Rwanda: QBZ-97B variant seen in the hands of Rwandan United Nations Police in the Central African Republic.[better source needed] [better source needed]
- Sri Lanka: Special Task Force, Sri Lanka Air Force.
- Sudan: Sudanese Army, QBZ-97 selected for Sudanese "Kombo" Future Soldier System. Appears to be made at the Military Industry Corporation from components shipped from China. Known as Sinan.
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