Type 81 assault rifle

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Type 81
Type 81-1 (top) and Type 81 (bottom).
Type Assault rifle
Battle rifle (CS/LR14)
Place of origin China
Service history
In service 1983–present
Used by See Users
Wars Sino-Vietnamese conflicts
Sri Lankan Civil War
Internal conflict in Burma[citation needed]
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)
4.5 kg (9.92 lb) (empty) (CS/LR14)[1]
Length 955 mm (37.6 in)
785 mm (30.9 in) (butt folded) (CS/LR14)[1]
1,010 mm (40 in) (butt extended) (CS/LR14)[1]
Barrel length 445 mm (17.5 in)

Cartridge 7.62×39mm (Type 81)
5.8×42mm DBP87 (Type 87)
7.62x51mm (CS/LR14)
Action Short stroke gas piston, rotating bolt
Rate of fire Approx. 700–720 rounds/min
Muzzle velocity 750 m/s (2,461 ft/s)
760 metres per second (2,493 ft/s) (CS/LR14)[1]
Effective firing range 280 meter
500 meter (CS/LR14)
Maximum firing range 520 meter
Feed system 30-round detachable box magazine (20 rounds for CS/LR14), 75-round detachable drum magazine
Sights Adjustable iron sights

The Type 81 Assault Rifle (Chinese: 81式自动步枪) is a Chinese-designed Kalashnikov and SKS based, second-generation, selective-fire, gas-operated 7.62×39mm automatic assault/battle rifle which has been used by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) 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 (a Chinese license produced AK-47). Its first combat use came during the Sino-Vietnamese border conflicts of the mid-1980s. The PLA has replaced most of its Type-81s with the Type 95 or Type 03 series of weapons, though it is still in service in the reserves and armed police.


Type 81 light machine gun

The Type 81 incorporates elements of the Dragunov, SKS, and AK-47 series rifles.

The rifle retains the general layout of the Chinese Type 56 assault rifle (a license produced AK-47), but it has a SKS-like short-stroke gas-piston design and other improvements to reduce recoil and muzzle jump, giving better firing accuracy. Notable physical differences from the Type 56 assault rifle include the stock of the rifle, the length of the action, bayonet, and the positioning of the front sight.[2]

The most easily distinguishable feature of the Type 81 is the more exposed muzzle part of the barrel. The front sight has been moved back as a modification to be able to fire rifle grenades, which are slid over the unobstructed barrel muzzle now formed into a spigot-type rifle grenade launcher.[2]

There is a significant gap between the trigger guard and the magazine on Type 81 rifles, while on the Type 56 rifle series the magazine is adjacent to the front of the trigger guard.

The non-detachable swing-out spike-shaped bayonet of the Type 56 rifle was also replaced on Type 81 rifles with a detachable knife-bayonet.

Like its predecessors, the Type 81 is a series of weapons. The Type 81 (fixed stock) and Type 81-1 (folding stock) are 7.62×39mm caliber assault rifles with 30-round magazines, and the heavier Type 81 light machine gun (LMG) fitted with a 75-round drum magazine is used in the squad automatic weapon (SAW) role.[2] Its sight remains at the front of the LMG barrel.

The Type 81 can be fitted with a Picatinny rail, bipod, foregrip and flashlight.[3]


  • Type 81 (7.62 mm assault rifle with a fixed butt)[4]
  • Type 81-1 (7.62 mm assault rifle with a foldable butt)[4]
  • Type 81 LMG 7.62 mm squad machine gun[4]
  • Type 81S Early semi-automatic only model for the U.S. market. Extremely rare, under 10 were imported before further importation was discontinued by executive order in 1989
  • T81SA Semi-automatic variant in 7.62 mm.[5]
    • T81-1SA
  • Type 87-1 (5.8×42mm experimental assault rifle, used to develop and test 5.8 mm DBP87 cartridge for QBZ-95 rifle)
  • Type 87 Served as a development platform for the next generation of PLA small arms, being used as a test-bed for the then new 5.8×42mm DBP87 ammunition. It never went into full-scale production but has been in service with PLA special forces.[4]
  • 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 7.62×51mm.
  • NAR-10 Tactical variant for export.
  • NR-81S Reincarnation of the Type 81S, made primarily for the European Market.

Foreign variants[edit]

  • BD-08: Made under license by the Bangladesh Ordnance Factories. The BD08MK2 is an improved of the original BD-08.
  • Kachin K09: Comes with black/plum polymer furniture.
  • Kachin K010: Comes with green polymer furniture.
  • Kachin K011: Dedicated rifle grenade launcher variant.


Non-State Actors[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Modern Firearms - NORINCO NAR-10 / CS/LR-14 automatic rifle (China)
  2. ^ a b c Cutshaw, Charles Q. (28 February 2011). Tactical Small Arms of the 21st Century: A Complete Guide to Small Arms From Around the World. Iola, Wisconsin: Gun Digest Books. pp. 192–193. ISBN 978-1-4402-2709-7. Retrieved 27 July 2013. 
  3. ^ Johnson, Steve (2012-07-25). "Chinese People's Armed Police Tacti-cool Type 81 Upgrade". The Firearm Blog. Retrieved 2016-04-11. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Miller, David (2003). The illustrated directory of twentieth century guns. Zenith Imprint. pp. 278–279. ISBN 978-0-7603-1560-6. 
  5. ^ EMEI/7.62mm Semi-Automatic Rifle Model T81SA
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  7. ^ "China and Russia dominate Bangladesh arms imports in 2015/16 - Bangladesh Military Forces". BDMilitary.com. Retrieved 2016-04-11. 
  8. ^ a b Why Is The Tajikistan Army Using Chinese-made Weapons? | 21st Century Asian Arms Race
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  12. ^ "永远的81杠! 这是中国口碑最好的步枪美军抢着用黑叔叔都说好". eastday.com. Retrieved 2016-10-19. 
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  20. ^ "Zimbabwe: Harare Gripped With Fear As Soldiers Embark On Revenge Attacks". allafrica.com. 2012-09-11. Retrieved 2016-10-24. 
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  22. ^ "Rakhine: hundreds of civilians flee fighting between Burmese and Arakan forces". 2015-04-29. Retrieved 2016-10-23. 
  23. ^ "China denies providing arms to Myanmar militants - China News". SINA English. 2013-01-29. Retrieved 2016-04-11. 
  24. ^ "Myanmar military relaxes stance on rebels barred from peace talks". 2016-08-04. Retrieved 2016-10-23. 
  25. ^ Daimler Art Collection (2004). "Guy Tillim Kamajoor-Milizen, 2001/2004". daimler.com. Retrieved 2016-10-20. 
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  29. ^ "Ethnic armed groups to meet in remote Wa region". 2015-04-15. Retrieved 2016-10-23. 

External links[edit]