7.62 x 39 mm
Length (with folded stock)
Cyclic rate of fire
Practical rate of fire
40 - 100 rpm
Range of effective fire
~ 400 m
army had never been wholly satisfied with its Type 56
(license-produced version of the Soviet
performance. In the early 1960s the Russians refused to give
licenses to produce the improved
assault rifle and RPK light machine
gun. Chinese chose to design a new indigenous rifle. A prototype was
ready in 1980. Its initial production commenced in 1983. This
assault rifle was adopted with the Chinese army in 1986. For the past 20 years it
standard-issue infantry weapon in service with the PLA. It replaced
the obsolete Type 56 assault rifle and Type 63 carbine. Export
operators are Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and some other Asian and African
countries. Bangladesh obtained a license to produce these weapons
locally. Currently the Chinese Type 81 assault rifles are replaced
with the QBZ-95. A large number of
ex-military rifles are transferred to law enforcement forces.
The Type 81 is a gas
operated, selective fire weapon, chambered for the Soviet 7.62 x 39
mm ammunition. This assault rifle incorporate many AK-47 design
features, but overall it is a new design, rather than clone. Tests
showed that the Type 81 is much more accurate than the AK-47 and
much more controllable in full automatic mode. Some sources report
that in terms of accuracy it is close to the
US M16. Furthermore it has
the same level of durability and reliability in adverse conditions
as the Kalashnikov designs.
A safety /
fire mode selector is located on the left side of the receiver. It
is much less clunky and faster to use. It has "safe", "semi-auto",
and "full-auto" settings.
is typically fed from 30-round box magazines. This magazine is
externally similar to that of the AK, however these magazines are
not interchangeable. The Type 81 is also
compatible with 75-round drum magazine and 20-rouns special purpose
production rifles had a fixed wooden stock. Only 40 000 of these
assault rifles were made, before production switched over to the
Type 81-1 with side-folding metal stock.
The Type 81
comes with adjustable iron sights. It has a sighting range of 500 m.
There is no provision for any kind of optic mounting. This assault
rifle can launch rifle grenades. It is also compatible with a Type
91B 35-mm underbarrel grenade launcher, which is based on the US
M203. A bayonet can be attached.
assault rifle, fitted with a side-folding metal stock. It replaced
in production the original Type 81, as this model was cheaper to
Type 81 light
machine gun, fitted with a heavy barrel, wooden stock, bipod and
carrying handle. This weapon is typically used with
75-round drum magazines. It has a sighting range of 800 m. This LMG replaced the ageing Type 56 (RPD) in service with the PLA;
(QBZ-87) experimental assault rifle, chambered for the new Chinese
5.8 x 42 mm ammunition. It was used to develop and test cartridges
for the next generation QBZ-95 assault rifle.