|Place of origin||People's Republic of China|
|In service||1997 - Present|
|Used by||China's People's Liberation Army, People's Armed Police, various state police forces|
|Manufacturer||China North Industries Corporation|
|Weight||4.1 kg (9.0 lb)|
|Length||920 mm (36.2 in)|
|Barrel length||640 mm (25.2 in)|
|Cartridge||5.8 x 42 mm (with non-standard loading); 5.56mm x 45 (KBU-97A export variant)|
|Action||Gas-operated, Rotating bolt|
|Effective firing range||400–800 meters|
|Feed system||10-round detachable box magazine|
|Sights||3-9x40, 6-24x44 telescopic sights|
The QBU-88 rifle (also sometimes referred to as Type 88 rifle) was the first weapon of the newest generation of Chinese small arms, chambered for proprietary 5.8 x 42 mm ammunition. Adopted in 1997, the QBU-88 is, by the modern sense, not a true sniper rifle – it is more of designated marksman rifle, intended for aimed semi-automatic fire at ranges beyond the capabilities of standard infantry assault rifles. The rifle is intended for rough military use, so it is fitted with adjustable iron sights by default, and is generally equipped with telescopic sights or with night sights.
QBU-88 rifle is optimized for a special heavy loading of 5.8 x 42 mm cartridge, with a longer streamlined bullet with steel core, but apparently, can also fire standard ammunition, intended for the QBZ-95 assault rifles. At the present time the QBU-88 rifle is in service with PLA and Chinese police forces.
The QBU-88 rifle is a gas operated, semiautomatic rifle. It utilizes a short stroke gas piston, located above the barrel, and three-lug rotating bolt. The action is mounted in the compact steel receiver, and enclosed into a polymer bullpup-type housing. To increase accuracy, the action is mated to a 640 mm (25.1 in) long, hammer-forged match-grade barrel. The safety switch is located at the bottom of the receiver, just behind the magazine opening. The QBU-88 rifle is equipped with open, diopter type adjustable sights, mounted on folding posts. It also has a short proprietary Chinese military rail on the receiver which can accept telescope or night sight mounts.
The rifle is intended to be utilized primarily with optics. The standard day optic used on the QBU-88 for military use is a Chinese 3-9x40 scope with an integral quick-release mount. In 2008 a new Chinese 6-24x44 tactical scope became available for counter-terrorism and other law enforcement use.
The rifling twist for the QBU-88 differs from the standard QBZ-95 assault rifle. While the QBZ-95 has a 244 mm (1–9.6 in) twist to stabilize the standard 64-grain DBP-87 ball round, the QBU-88 has a faster 206 mm (1–8.1 in) twist to stabilize the 70-grain Heavy Ball round and dedicated Sniper load, similar to the QJY-88 general-purpose machine gun, which has progressive rifling with a final twist rate of 206 mm. A long birdcage flash-suppressor is fitted to reduce the muzzle signature. A quick-detachable bipod is clamped to the barrel when required.
An export version called the KBU-97a is also produced and marketed for security forces of other foreign countries. This derivative utilizes 5.56 × 45 mm NATO ammunition although, instead of STANAG magazines, a modified version of QBU-88 magazine is used to feed the rounds – and STANAG magazines will not work unless modified (including 10-round LAR-15 magazines). Newer export variants were also built, such as the NQU03.