Type 81 assault rifle

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Type 81
Type 81-1 (top) and Type 81 (bottom).
Type Assault rifle
Place of origin  People's Republic of China
Service history
In service 1983 – present
Used by See Users
Wars Sino-Vietnamese conflicts
Sri Lankan Civil War
Internal conflict in Burma
Production history
Designed 1971
Variants Type 81-1
Type 81 light machine gun
Type 87
Type 87-1
Weight 3.4 kg (7.50 lb) (loaded)
Length 955 mm (37.6 in)
Barrel length 445 mm (17.5 in)

Cartridge 7.62×39mm (Type 81)
5.8×42mm DBP87 (Type 87)
Action Short stroke gas piston, rotating bolt
Rate of fire Approx. 700–720 rounds/min
Muzzle velocity 750 m/s (2,461 ft/s)
Effective firing range 500 m (547 yd)
Feed system 30-round detachable box magazine, 75-round detachable drum magazine
Sights Adjustable iron sights

The Type 81 assault rifle is an automatic rifle that has been used by the Chinese People's Liberation Army since the mid-1980s.


The weapon was introduced into PLA service in 1981 but did not become widely distributed until the late 1980s. It replaced the Type 56 rifle. Its first combat use came during the Sino-Vietnamese border conflicts of the mid-1980s. Currently the PLA is in the process of replacing the Type 81 with the Type 95 or Type 03 series of weapons, but full conversion is not expected until the mid-2010s.


Type 81 light machine gun

The Type 81 incorporates elements of the Dragunov, SKS, and AK series rifles.

The rifle is cosmetically influenced on the Type 56 license produced AK-47, but with a SKS-like short-stroke gas-piston design and improvements to reduce the recoil and muzzle jump, giving better firing accuracy.[1]

The Type 81 rifle retains the general layout of AK-47 but isn't an improved variant of the license produced AK-47 (the Type 56); major differences include the positioning of the sights and stock of the rifle.[1]

The most easily distinguishable feature is an exposed muzzle part of the barrel. The foresight is moved back for a modification to fire rifle grenades from the barrel.[1]

There is a significant gap between the trigger guard and the magazine on Type 81 rifles, while on the Type 56 series the magazine is adjacent to the front of the trigger guard. The Type 81 rifle is a short-stroke gas-operated design, while the Type 56 are long-stroke designs.

On Type 81 rifles the non-detachable spike-shaped bayonet was also replaced with a detachable knife-bayonet.

Like its predecessors, the Type 81 is a series of weapons. The Type 81 and Type 81-1 are assault rifles with 30-round magazines and the heavier Type 81 squad machine gun fitted with a 75-round drum magazine is used in the squad automatic weapon (SAW) role.[1]

The Type 81 was extensively upgraded. It can be fitted with a Picatinny rail, bipod, foregrip, flashlight, and much more.[2]


Soldiers of Rapid Action Battalion, an elite anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit of Bangladesh Police, with BD-08 (Type 81) assault rifle
Troops of Bangladesh Army are Firing with Fully Automatic Assault Rifle BD-08 in a Range.
Type 81 Type 81-1 Type 81 machine gun
Overall length 955 mm (37.6 in) 750 mm (29.5 in) (butt folded) 1,004 mm (39.5 in)
Bore diameter 7.62 mm (0.300 in)
Cartridge 7.62x39 mm
Weight 3.50 kg (7.7 lb) 3.40 kg (7.5 lb) 5.15 kg (11.4 lb)
Effective range 500 m (550 yd) 500 m (550 yd) 500 m (550 yd)
Muzzle velocity 720 m/s (2,400 ft/s) 720 m/s (2,400 ft/s) 735 m/s (2,410 ft/s)
Rate of fire (theory) N/A N/A 720 r/min
Rate of fire (sustained) N/A N/A 120 r/min
Cartridge capacity 30 rounds 30 rounds 75 rounds


A prototype called the Type 87 was introduced in the late 1980s. It served as a development platform for the next generation of PLA small arms, being used as a test-bed for the then new 5.8x42mm DBP87 ammunition. It never went into full-scale production but has been in service with PLA special forces.[3]

  • Type 81 (7.62 mm assault rifle with a fixed butt)[3]
  • Type 81-1 (7.62 mm assault rifle with a foldable butt)[3]
  • Type 81 LMG 7.62 mm squad machine gun[3]
  • Type 81S (late production export version with fixed butt)
  • Type 87-1 (5.8x42mm experimental assault rifle, used to develop and test 5.8 mm DBP87 cartridge for QBZ-95 rifle)
  • Type 87 5.8 mm squad machine gun (prototype)
  • Type 81 Tactical Tactical variant used by the PAP
  • CS/LR14 Newest tactical upgrade with considerable modifications, such as tactical rails, foregrip, additional mountings, etc. Said to be chambered for the heavier 7.62x51mm.
  • NAR-10 Tactical variant for export.



See also[edit]

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