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QBZ-03 assault rifle
(Qing Buqiang Zidong)
Type Assault rifle
Place of origin People's Republic of China
Service history
In service 2003-present
Production history
Manufacturer Norinco
Produced 2003-present
Weight 3.5 kg (7.7 lb) (unloaded)
Length 950 mm (37 in) with stock extended, 725 mm (28.5 in) with stock folded

Cartridge 5.8×42mm DBP87
5.56×45mm NATO
Action Gas operated, rotating bolt
Rate of fire 650 rounds/min
Muzzle velocity 930 m/s (3,050 ft/s)
Effective firing range

Domestic variant 400m-500m

Export variant 300m
Feed system 30-round detachable box magazine
Sights Fixed Type 56 style front sight, flip-up diopter rear sight

The QBZ-03 assault rifle, also known as the Type 03, is a Chinese gas operated, selective-fire weapon and is the latest assault rifle designed and developed for the 5.8×42mm DBP87 round.

Unlike the bullpup QBZ-95, the QBZ-03 is a weapon of conventional design and is loosely inspired by the Type 81 assault rifle.[citation needed] The weapon is designed to be easily used by soldiers already familiar with previously issued rifles and machine guns.


The QBZ-03 has a two-piece receiver largely made up of forged aluminum alloy with the stock, pistol grip, and handguards being made of a polymer compound. The gas block has a two position regulator, one for firing standard ammunition, the other to allow the use of rifle grenades. The sights are of a hooded front sight with a flip up rear diopter sight similar to the American M16 rifle. A scope rail is available to allow the use of various optics. The QBZ-03 has seen some issue within the People's Armed Police, People's Liberation Army Marine Corps, People's Liberation Army Air Force Paratroopers, and second line PLA ground units. An export-aimed version of the QBZ-03 also exists, first introduced in 2005 by the joint CJAIE (China Jing-An Import-Export) and Jiang-She Group Companies. The export version is chambered in 5.56×45mm NATO and feeds by STANAG magazines. The cyclic rate on the issued model is semi-automatic or fully automatic only, while the export model has an integrated three round burst mode. The type's most notable public display was by the PLA Airforce Airborne Troops during the October 1st 2009 60th Anniversary Parade. The assault rifle was also featured in the 2015 Victory Day Parade.


In February 2011, photos began to appear of a Chinese weapon called the ZH-05. The ZH-05 combines the Type 03 assault rifle with a 20 mm airburst grenade launcher. This makes China the third country to develop an airburst infantry weapon, after the American XM29 Objective Individual Combat Weapon and XM25 CDTE, and the South Korean K11 DAW. Unlike foreign airburst weapons, the ZH-05 has a single-shot grenade launcher that requires each round to be manually loaded and reloaded after every firing, while the others are magazine fed; this makes it lightest of all the airburst weapons. The primary weapon of the system is the 20 mm grenade launcher, with the 5.8 mm rifle for secondary use. Grenades are pre-programmed and loaded into a manually operated bolt-action. Three types of grenade rounds available are impact detonation, airburst, and shotgun-type rounds. The U.S. encountered problems with the lethality of small 20 mm grenades during OICW development, causing the switch to larger 25 mm grenades for the XM25. China claims their grenades have less electronics in them to carry more explosives and fragments to cause adequate wounding capability. The grenades are reportedly capable of a 7.7 m (25 ft) damage radius and an 800 m (0.50 mi) range.[1][2][3][4][5]

Weapon Weight Rifle ammunition Grenade ammunition Cost
ZH-05 5 kg (11 lb) 30 rounds 5.8 mm 1 round 20 mm >$3,000
XM29 6.8–8.2 kg (15–18 lb) 30 rounds 5.56 mm 6 rounds 20 mm $12,000
XM25 5.5 kg (12 lb) none 4 rounds 25 mm $25,000-$35,000
K11 6.1–7.2 kg (13–16 lb) 30 rounds 5.56 mm 5 rounds 20 mm $14,000


A new tactical variant of the weapon was spotted at an anti-terrorism exhibition.[6]


  • QBZ-03: Base model.
  • QBZ-03 Upgrade: Upgraded tactical variant, first unveiled at a 2014 anti-terrorism exhibition.
  • QBZ-03 Carbine: Compact variant shortened to 750 mm.[7]
  • T03: Export variant chambering 5.56 mm.[8]
    • T03A: Improved variant.
  • EM3513: Semi-automatic export variant, chambering 5.56 mm.[9]
    • EM3513A: Improved variant, with rails and new stock.

See also[edit]


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