The QBZ-95 is an assault rifle manufactured by Arsenal 266, 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, 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.
The QBZ-95 was first observed outside China in 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 rifle, which was similar in design to the AK-47 series.
The rifle uses modern synthetic 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 like the British SA80, French FAMAS, and Austrian Steyr AUG.
Though there have been hints of the 97 variants being involved in some foreign conflicts, 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, as well as other harsh environmental conditions. 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.
The Chinese have tested their new cartridge extensively against both the 5.56x45mm SS109 and the Russian 5.45x39mm 5N7. The 5.8x42mm outperforms both cartridges with penetration superior to the SS109, a flatter trajectory, and a higher retained velocity and energy downrange.
There are seven specialised variants of the QBZ-95.
This is the standard version of the rifle used domestically, chambered for the 5.8x42mm DBP87 round.
The PLA has reportedly undertaken a program to improve the Type 95. The lead designer of the Type 95 program Duo Yingxian (朵英贤), who’s now retired, has stated that the project is being worked on by some of his students. Known goals for the program are 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.
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.
QBB-95 LSW (Light Support Weapon)
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 75-round drum magazine.
QBZ-97 (5.56 mm Assault Rifle)
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.
QBZ-97A (5.56 mm Assault Rifle)
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 CambodiaSpecial Operations personnel.
QBZ-97B (5.56 mm Carbine)
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)”.
QBB-97 LSW (5.56 mm Light Support Weapon)
The light support weapon model of the QBZ-97.
The new QBZ-95G addresses several reliability, ease-of-use issues, and has improved ergonomics.
QBZ-95 variant titled “G” fires the heavier 5.8x42mm round, with a heavier longer barrel and a redesigned muzzle break. The “G” 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, but also has added the Picatinny rail as a supplement. 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.