History and DesignEditIn the late 1980s Chinese designers developed a 5.8 x 42 cartridge, apparently designated DBP87, which is claimed to be superior to both the 5.56 mm NATO and the 5.54 mm Soviet. This cartridge develops a muzzle velocity of 930 metres per second from a standard barrel, with a bullet weighing 4.26 gram.
As soon as the ammunition was ready, the PLA began to develop an entirely new and much more modern family of small arms based on the same action. This family, known as QBZ-95 ('Qing Buqiang Zu' = Light Rifles family, 1995), was first displayed outside the PLA in 1997, when China took over Hong Kong; it was observed that the Chinese guards were armed with a new, modern looking bullpup rifle. In fact it is one of an entirely new family of weapons, all designed around the same action and bullpup layout, which include the assault rifle, a shorter carbine, a light support weapon (with a bipod, a heavier barrel and large capacity magazine), and a sniper rifle. While being quite similar inside, these guns have different body shapes and cannot be converted from one configuration to another. The QBZ-95 line of weapons is now spreading throughout the PLA, commencing with elite units.
The QBZ-95 is a gas operated, magazine fed, automatic weapon with a bullpup layout. It has a short stroke gas piston and a rotating bolt. The charging handle is located at the top of the receiver, under the carrying handle. The housing is made from polymer, with an integral carrying handle, which holds the rear sight base, and has mounting points for optical or night vision scopes. The ejection port is made only at the right side of the weapon, so it cannot be fired from the left shoulder. Standard sights are of the open type, graduated from 100 to 500 metres. The front part of the barrel in the standard version is left unobstructed, so the QBZ-95 rifle can be used to launch rifle grenades. It also can be fitted with an underbarrel grenade launcher or with a knife bayonet. A compact carbine version, sometimes referred to as the CAR-95, cannot use either a grenade launcher or a bayonet, because of the much shortened barrel. Fire controls of QBZ-95 rifle consist of a trigger and a safety/selector switch, located (quite inconveniently) at the rear left of the receiver, behind the magazine housing. QBZ-95 can fire single shots or bursts.
The export version, QBZ-97, which is chambered for popular 5.56x45 NATO ammunition, is internally similar to QBZ-95, but has a different, much deeper magazine housing, which accepts a NATO-standard (M-16-type) magazines
ABZ-95 (Rifle)EditThis 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.
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.
Sniper rifle variant of the QBZ-95 used by the People's Liberation Army
QBZ-97 (5.56 mm Assault Rifle)EditThe 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)Edit
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 Cambodia Special Operations personnel.
QBZ-97B (5.56 mm Carbine)Edit
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)Edit
The light support weapon model of the QBZ-97.
QBZ-95GEditThe 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.
- China: People's Liberation Army, Snow Leopard Commando Unit
- Cambodia: 911 Special Forces and Bodyguard Unit (the QBZ-97, QBZ-97A, QBZ-97B, and QBB-97 LSW).
- Myanmar: The QBZ-97 is in service with the Myanmar Military.
- Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka Air Force, Special Task Force.
- Caliber: 5.8x42mm (QBZ-97 uses 5.56x45mm NATO)
- Action: Gas operated, rotating bolt
- Overall length: 760mm
- Barrel length: 520mm
- Weight: 3.4 kg unloaded
- Rate of fire: ~ 650 rounds per minute
- Magazine capacity: 30 rounds
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