Type 81 assault rifle

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{{Infobox Weapon |name=Type 81 |image=Type-81rifle.JPG |caption=Type 81-1 (top) and Type 81 (bottom). |origin={{country data China |flagcountry/core|variant=|size=|name=}}

The Type 81 Assault Rifle (Chinese: 81式自动步枪) is a Chinese-designed Kalashnikov based, second-generation, selective-fire, gas-operated 7.62×39mm automatic assault 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.


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.[1]

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.[1]

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.[1] Its sight remains at the front of the LMG barrel.

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


Type 81 light machine gun
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 7.62×39mm
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 5.8×42mm 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 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.
  • 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 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 7.62×51mm.
  • NAR-10 Tactical variant for export.
  • NR-81S Reincarnation of the Type 81S, made primarily for the European Market.

Foreign variants[edit]

  •  Myanmar

Kachin Independence Army produced Type 81 variants dubbed the M23, comes with updated polymer furniture with a Sun Motif. Not much is known about their manufacturing details due to their clandestine origins, possibly unofficially licensed built with PRC tooling as proxy military aid.

  • Kachin K09 Comes with black/plum polymer furniture.
  • Kachin K010 Comes with green polymer furniture.
  • Kachin K011 Dedicated rifle grenade launcher variant. [4]


See also[edit]


See also[edit]

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