QBZ-95

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Type 95 Automatic Rifle
QBZ-95 Light Rifle Family
Rifle Type 95.jpg
QBZ-95 (original version, no longer produced)
Type Assault rifle
Place of origin China
Service history
In service 1997-present[1]
Used by See Users
Wars Sri Lankan Civil War
Cambodian–Thai border stand-off[2]
Kachin conflict
Production history
Manufacturer China North Industries Corporation and China South
Produced 1995—present
Variants QBZ-95B Carbine,
QBZ-95 Rifle,
QBB-95 LSW,
QBZ-97 5.56 mm Rifle,
QBZ-97A 5.56 mm Rifle,
QBB-97 LSW 5.56 mm Rifle,
QBZ-97B 5.56 mm Carbine
Specifications
Weight 2.9 kg (6.4 lb) (QBZ-95B Carbine)
3.25 kg (7.2 lb) (QBZ-95 Rifle)
3.35 kg (7.4 lb) (QBZ-97 Export)
3.9 kg (8.6 lb) (QBB-95 LSW)
Length 609 mm (24.0 in) (QBZ-95B Carbine)
745 mm (29.3 in) (QBZ-95 Rifle)
758 mm (29.8 in) (QBZ-97 and QBZ-97A)
840 mm (33.1 in) (QBB-95 LSW)
Barrel length 369 mm (14.5 in) (QBZ-95B Carbine)
463 mm (18.2 in) (QBZ-95 Rifle)
490 mm (19.3 in) (QBZ-97 and QBZ-97A)
600 mm (23.6 in) (QBB-95 LSW)

Cartridge 5.8x42mm DBP87 (QBZ-95),
5.56x45mm NATO (QBZ-97)
Action Gas-Operated, Rotating bolt
Rate of fire ~650 rounds/min (QBZ-95)
~800 rounds/min (QBZ-95B Carbine)
Muzzle velocity QBZ-95 – 930 m/s (3,050 ft/s), QBB-95 – 970 m/s (3181 ft/s), QBZ-95B – 790 m/s (2581 ft/s)
Effective firing range Rifle – 400m point target, 600m area target
LSW – 600m point target, 800m area target
Carbine – 300m point target, 500m area target
Feed system 30-round box magazine
80-round drum[3]
Sights hooded post front sight and aperture rear sight, optional Y/MA 95-002 telescopic sight

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 manufactured by Arsenal 266, part of Norinco and Arsenal 296, under Jianshe Corp, China South for the People's Liberation Army, the armed forces of the People's Republic of China, Chinese People's Armed Police (para-military police), and Chinese law enforcement. This weapon uses a newly developed ammunition type of Chinese origin, the 5.8x42mm DBP87. 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.[4]

Overview[edit]

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.[5]

The rifle uses polymer materials in its construction, fires a 5.8x42mm small-caliber, high-velocity bullet (in a class with the NATO standard 5.56x45mm SS109 and the Russian 5.45x39mm), and employs a bullpup configuration similar to the British SA80, French FAMAS, Austrian Steyr AUG, South African Vektor CR-21, Israeli Tavor, or the 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 5.8x42mm 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 butt stock, and redesigned trigger guard. The carrying handle was lowered to better position optics on the quick-release mount rail, and a pair of short rails at the sight's base allows for tactical accessories to be mounted.[5]

Technical aspects[edit]

U.S. and PLA (N) Marines of the 1st Marine Brigade fire the QBZ-95 Assault Rifle during an exchange exercise.

Though there have been hints of the 97 variants being involved in some foreign conflicts,[6] 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,[7] as well as other harsh environmental conditions.[8] 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.[9]

The Chinese Army says it has tested its 5.8x42mm cartridge extensively against NATO's 5.56x45mm and its counterpart, the 5.45x39mm 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 5.56x45mm NATO.[4][10][11]

Design features[edit]

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace USMC shakes hands with Chinese tanker soldiers with a QBZ-95

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 very complex recoil buffer system, the rifle is claimed to be more controllable in automatic fire.[6] The aim was to develop an assault rifle based around the 5.8x42mm round, with specifications of being accurate and reliable.

Operation[edit]

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 release 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 charging handle is located under the integral carrying handle. 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.

Ergonomic issues[edit]

Some experts are concerned over the awkward position of the safety lever near the end of the rifle away from the shooter's hand.[9] This position makes it difficult to quickly select "fire" when it is in "safe" mode. This is resolved on the "G" variant where the fire selector switch is repositioned above the pistol grip, giving it a thumb fire selector switch for easy firing mode transition.

Grenade launchers[edit]

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. The 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.[5] The QLG10A is the same length and weighs the same as the QLG91B, but differs in that its 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 is loaded from the 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 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.[12]

Variants[edit]

QBZ-95 (Rifle)[edit]

Marines of the People's Liberation Army armed with QBZ-95s.
Honor guard with QBZ-95s equipped with Type 95 Bayonets (2009)

This is the standard version of the rifle used domestically, chambered for the 5.8x42mm DBP87 round.

Due to issues associated with the original design, the PLA undertook a program to improve the Type 95. The lead designer of the Type 95 program Duo Yingxian (朵英贤), who is now retired, stated that the project was being worked on by some of his students. Known goals for the program were to:

1. Improve the rifle's ergonomics/controls.
2. Chamber it for new ammunition with double the effective range.
3. Add a quick-firing grenade launcher.[13]

The program resulted in the improved QBZ-95-1 variant.

QBZ-95B (Carbine)[edit]

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 prohibit the full length rifle being used in close quarters. Its shorter barrel prevents a grenade launcher or bayonet from being attached, and it has a special funnel-shaped flash suppressor. The carbine may also be in use with special forces.[5] The carbine lacks a forend and instead has a foregrip, with the front iron sight build into the carrying handle.[9]

QBB-95 LSW (Light Support Weapon)[edit]

This light support weapon fulfills the role as the squad machine gunner. It's in the same respect as the QBZ-95 Rifle with modified longer and heavier barrel, higher firing rate, heavier cartridge and is equipped with larger 80-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 mm NATO 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.[14]

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.[2][15]

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)".[16]

QBB-97 LSW (5.56 mm Light Support Weapon)[edit]

The light support weapon model of the QBZ-97.

QBZ-95-1 (Rifle)[edit]

The new QBZ-95-1, also called the QBZ-95 “Gai”(改), which means modified in Chinese, addresses several reliability and ease-of-use issues, and has improved ergonomics.[17]

QBZ-95 variant titled "1" fires the heavier 5.8x42mm 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 Picattiny Rail being added, however two inch long weaver rail looking connecting device 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.[18] 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.[19][20] The QBZ 95-1 is already in use by the Hong Kong Garrison.[21] In addition, it has been spotted in use with the Lanzhou garrison[22] and other units.[23]

QBZ-95B-1 (Carbine)[edit]

Improved version of the QBZ-95B with barrel and ergonomic enhancements of the QBZ-95-1 in the carbine platform.[5][24]

QBB-95-1 LSW (Light Support Weapon)[edit]

Improved version of the QBB-95 LSW with the ergonomic enhancements of the QBZ-95-1 in the squad machine gun platform.[5][24]

Civilian variants[edit]

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.[25][26]

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.[27] 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 status of their firearm have been changed to 12.2 prohibited (Fully automatic), and owners without such a firearm license have 30 days to turn in their Type 97A firearm to either individual or business that has such a license, or to police for destruction.[28] 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 judge was convinced that Type-97 firearms indeed are prohibited devices.[citation needed] 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 has been classified as a non-restricted firearm by the RCMP with the FRT Number 142760 and thus, 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.[29]

Because the Type 97 enjoys a certain amount of popularity in Canada as a non-restricted rifle, one the main drawbacks of the rifle was how limited the choice was in compatible accessoires of which users could modify the rifle with. So T97.ca developed a new FTU which now also allows western accessoires to be mounted on the rifle.[30]

FTU / Reduced Rail[edit]

A new QBZ-95 variant with a Flat Top Upper that has a reduced picatinny rail sight, was seen. Apart from the reduced height of the sights, the picatinny rails on this new upper now also allows a wide range of both domestic and western accessoires to be mounted on the rifle.[31]

There has also been a similar but separate development on the Canadian civilian market for the Type 97.[30]

NQZ03A[edit]

Export variant, chambering 5.56 NATO.

NQZ03B[edit]

Shortened variant, chambering 5.56 NATO.

Users[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "QBZ95 5.8mm Automatic Weapons". SinoDefence.com. Retrieved 2008-01-16. 
  2. ^ a b Bell, Thomas (2008-10-15). "Thailand steps back from Cambodia conflict". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-10-14. 
  3. ^ Modern Firearms
  4. ^ a b Fortier, David M. (September 2002). "China's New 5.8x42mm Weapons Complex Revealed". Small Arms Review 5 (12). Retrieved 2008-01-16. [dead link]
  5. ^ a b c d e f PLA Type 95 Rifle: Breaking with Convention - SAdefensejournal.com, 21 October 2013
  6. ^ a b :: Unbiased Defence NEWS :: Sri Lanka :: DefenceWire: LTTE's Rare Infantry Weapons ::
  7. ^ QBZ95 Chinese news segment Retrieved on May 24, 2008.
  8. ^ QBZ95 submitted through a battery of tests on CCTV[dead link] Retrieved on September 28, 2009
  9. ^ a b c "Type 95". Firearms. EnemyForces.com. Retrieved 2008-01-16. 
  10. ^ "The 5.8x42mm". Guns & Ammo (Intermedia Outdoors). Combat Arms 2006.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  11. ^ Yan, Timothy G. (June 2006). "Chinese 5.8mm Small Arms Ammo". Small Arms Review 9 (9): 42. 
  12. ^ QLG-10 - Gunsandweapons.net, 12 September 2013
  13. ^ "PLA Moves Its Assault Rifle To Next Level". TacticalGunFan. 2009-04-13. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  14. ^ 中国·红色盾牌·天骄特卫
  15. ^ a b "QBZ97自动步枪". Archived from the original on 29 October 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-16. 
  16. ^ "Jianshe Industries NQZ-03B brochure pictures". 
  17. ^ China’s new service rifle: QBZ-95G | The Firearm Blog
  18. ^ China Defense Blog: Type95/QBZ95-1 5.8x42mm Assault Rifle Hong Kong Debut Reloaded
  19. ^ 外媒称中国计划今年推出95G型无托步枪_新华军事_新华网
  20. ^ 中國評論新聞:外媒:中國將推95G式新型自動步槍
  21. ^ Hong Kong Garrison Using Type 95-1 Rifle | The Firearm Blog
  22. ^ http://mil.cnr.cn/nbpd/nbfc/201301/t20130108_511736426.html
  23. ^ http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?152513-Chinese-Military-Photos%EF%BC%88new-thread%EF%BC%89/page406
  24. ^ a b http://www.gunsworld.net/china/rifle/qbz95/qbz951.htm (Chinese text)
  25. ^ "Type 97 (Chinese semi-auto QBZ-97 bullpup) coming to Canada". The Firearm Blog. 2008-08-17. Retrieved 2008-10-28. 
  26. ^ "Norinco Type-97 Rifle, 5.56mm". CanadaAmmo.com. Retrieved 2008-10-28. 
  27. ^ http://www.canadaammo.com/news.php
  28. ^ "Norinco Type 97 & Reclassification Of Firearms Act Briefing Paper On Reclassification of Firearms and Related Issues Prepared for The Government of Canada". Canada’s National Firearms Association. Retrieved 2010-04-14. 
  29. ^ http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2013/11/24/norinco-t97-bullpup-returns-canada/
  30. ^ a b http://www.t97.ca/
  31. ^ http://www.sinodefenceforum.com/army/pla-small-arms-19-373.html#post283742
  32. ^ http://www.asianmilitaryreview.com/CurrentIssue/dl.php?filename=201003140001071.pdf
  33. ^ "China Exports Its Radical New Assault Rifle". Strategy Page. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  34. ^ "Pakistan police storm hospital, ending standoff". Yahoo! News. 15 June 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2013. 
  35. ^ Scarlata, Paul (1 February 2012). "The Military and Rifle Cartridges of Ceylon Sri Lanka". Shotgun News. p. 22. 
  36. ^ Sudanese Future Soldier System - Thefirearmblog.com, 24 March 2014
  37. ^ Sudanese army has selected Chinese-made QBZ-97 assault rifle for its Kombo Future Soldier System - Armyrecognition.com, 22 November 2014
  38. ^ commandos exercise in pakistan

External links[edit]