China’s People’s Liberation Army has traditionally relied on foreign and Communist bloc weapons manufactured in China under license—or not.
China’s first modern, locally designed and produced assault rifle is the QBZ-95, currently standard issue across the People’s Liberation Army and China’s internal security force, the People’s Armed Police.
Like the rest of China’s military revolution over the past quarter century, its small-arms revolution is a remarkable achievement.
Now, however, as the PLA undergoes an unprecedented modernization, a new generation of locally designed and manufactured light weaponry is arming China’s armed forces, from handguns to light machine guns.
China’s first modern, locally designed and produced assault rifle is the QBZ-95, currently standard issue across the People’s Liberation Army and China’s internal security force, the People’s Armed Police. The weapon first entered Chinese service in the mid-1990s. The QBZ-95 is a so-called “bullpup” rifle, meaning the trigger and fire-control group are placed ahead of the magazine, which is inserted into the rifle stock.
Typical of bullpup rifles, the QBZ has a twenty-inch barrel but an overall length of just under thirty inches. This gives it a longer barrel, and slightly longer range and velocity against the American M4 carbine, while at the same time having an overall length three inches shorter than the American gun. The downside of the bullpup design is a fixed length of pull that is not adjustable to a user’s unique arm length and the lack of a viable left-handed shooting ability.
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