Chinese Police with FN Minimi Clone

Copies of the FN Minimi have been photographed in use by Chinese police.

The existance of this clone was first reported by Max Popenker & Tony Williams, both well known to TFB readers, in their book Machine Gun: The Development of the Machine Gun from the Nineteenth Century to the Present Day. Apparently the Chinese plan on exporting it.

[ Many thanks to Albi for emailing us the photo. ]

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • darrel

    Don’t the chinese spend hundreds of dollars to engineer their own machine guns? Why steal the FN Minimi’s design? Oh right, because it’s what the chinese have done best for thousands of years!

    • El Freddio

      Would you piss away millions to make something that may end up a POS?

    • DW–gpmg-e.html

      This is their “equivalent” of the SAW. Just look at the specs and you will understand why copying the Minimi is a good idea.

      I still wonder why they didn’t just rechamber the RPD…

      • David/Sharpie

        I 100% want a Semi Auto RPD.

        I wonder if they’d be available in Canada?

    • Chase

      I was with you a little bit, up until “thousands of years.” Are you crazy?

  • Chris b

    They dont recognise copyrights remember, so the buyer will simply take the brunt of FN’s lawsuits.

    • kagbalete

      Chances are the customers of the PROC don’t care about being sued…. These are the type of people who don’t care about the courts or any legalities.

  • TxDog

    It’s interesting that China would choose to clone a weapon that uses a NATO caliber rather than an ex-Soviet bloc or homegrown Chinese round. That says to me that perhaps Chinese procurement is not as centralized as many outside observers might believe.

    • Higgs

      If it is meant for export like their mp5 clone, then they would be screwing themselves over chambering it in a chicom round.

      • higgs

        ya, ok? still no one else uses it. look at their exports; CQ311, QBZ97, all 5.56, and selling.

      • I remember reading they are using 5.8×42, 5.56×45, 7.62×39, 5.45×39, 7.62×54, 7.62×51. Some only in specific rifles, some relegated to reserve but it’s a logistic mess anyway. And that’s only about infantry rifle cartridges…

      • Clodboy

        @Sardaukar: Actually, the Chinese army currently uses only one caliber, the 5.8×42, which comes in two variants (a medium load/bullet intended for assault rifles and a hotter load/heavier bullet variant intended for machine guns and sniper rifles). Granted, they still have a ton of Type 56’s and Type 81’s lying around which use 7.62×39, and maybe a few NDM-86’s that use 7.62×54.

        I’m pretty sure the various Norinco guns chambered in 5.56/.308 are purely intended for export.

        What is interesting though is that some units in the Chinese army seem to be preferring the newer non-bullpup QBZ-03 assault rifle to the QBZ-95.

    • Mike

      Their homegrown round is 5.8x42mm, IIRC. Not that far from the 5.56mm round.

      • higgs

        ya, ok? still no one else uses it. look at their exports; CQ311, QBZ97, all 5.56, and selling around the world.

    • Anonymoose

      They’ve already got the QJY-88 and QBB-95, which are chambered for 5.8×42, but are not exported because China is overly secretive and doesn’t have an economic bloc like the West, or like the Soviets used to have, who want to invest in their proprietary cartridges (which is how the mainstream 9mm and 7.62mm rounds and 5.56 and 5.45 got so common).

    • David/Sharpie

      Last I checked their police use western firearms/calibres.

      This is used by their police.

  • Jason

    What a pathetic, shameless country. Those MF’ers don’t design anything themselves.

  • Hikerguy

    It probably is more reliable and better mdesigned thean what they have. The espression “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” still applies here. That and the fact that they can underprice the real thing and make a lot of money doing it.

  • John D.

    Kind of sad to see a country that was once known for innovation resorting to copying others. I mean the Chinese invented gunpowder, surely there are some bright minds hiding somewhere. Sometimes I cannot help but wonder if there is something holding back the potential of the Chinese people.
    With that said, I hope no one buys the export.

    • RocketScientist

      “Sometimes I cannot help but wonder if there is something holding back the potential of the Chinese people.”

      There is. Socialism.

      Sorry, I know: Firearms, not politics. Just couldn’t resist myself.

      • Anonymoose

        Communism is not socialism, and what the Red Chinese have is neither communism nor socialism- it’s fascism calling itself communism calling itself capitalism.

      • Anonymoose

        Anyway, economic systems really have absolutely nothing to do with the rate of technological development, unless they’re based specifically on primitivism/Luddism.

      • El Duderino

        Anonymoose — I know this is firearms, not politics, but think about it. Where does all the innovation happen? A tiny bit came from the Soviet Union where scientists and engineers had their families and careers held hostage, so they came up with designs out of fear, but once the Iron Curtain fell it was very clear the vast majority of Soviet equipment was far, far inferior to the West. I was on active duty during and after the fall of the Curtain and our eyes were really opened (Desert Storm opened our eyes too, those T-72s sure melted like butter when hit with a 120mm discarding sabot).

        The Soviets copied us like mad, now the Chinese are doing it. The Japanese started with this approach but through the free market moved past the U.S./Europe in several areas. I can’t think of a single area of technological advancement where communist nations are currently ahead. The T-34 and Sputnik in the ’50s were their shining moments but that was many years ago…

  • Alex-mac

    Patents expire, FN Minimi design is almost forty years old. Anyone can copy it now, they just can’t call it a Minimi.

    • El Duderino

      Both FN and Mike Myers will come after them.

  • klip

    Nothing says “police state” like a law enforcement truck with a mounted machine gun.

    • Joe Schmoe

      You mean South Carolina is a police state?

      • klip

        Y’all need to relax. Obviously SC IS a police state, duh.

        Although I do wonder how and if that thing is used in police action these days. I feel like it is mostly a promo pic.

        Ps, the first statement is a joke. Just want to make sure we’re all in the same page.

      • Kevin

        They couldn’t even get a liquor drink in a restaurant when I was coming up so…yeah.
        But they DO have fireworks.

    • charles222

      People are seriously defending the PRC?

      Love to see cops anywhere in the western world do this.

      • Joe Schmoe

        He said that what constitutes a police state is a police truck, much less an APC, with an MG mounted on it. I showed him just than and more in the hands of the South Carolina police.

        Now what you just did is movendo lineas; and I don’t play along with that and those that can’t stand behind a statement and furthermore posito verba in ore.

  • charles222

    Disarmed populace, cops have machine guns.

    Armed populace, cops have shotguns and pistols.

    I think that pretty much tells us everything we need to know about China.

    • ragnarok220

      I am sure you have learned everything you need to know about Japan, South Korea, Taiwan as well.

      • charles222

        I’m sure you’re a fucking idiot. Those countries get to vote. The PRC does not. Take your “oh it’s all the same” bullshit and shove it, you stupid fuck.

        Esh: Fuck you, too. I’ll take my ‘ignorant rhetoric’ and know I’m not a blithering idiot admiring an enforcer of a authoritarian regime.

      • Anonymoose

        People in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan are allowed to own guns. They just have ridiculously strict gun laws (in Japan at least you can own shotguns and air rifles after a licensing process and long-ass background check, but real rifles are off-limits to people who didn’t get a rifle license back in like the 1970s, and air pistols are restricted more than air rifles but only 50 people in the whole country are allowed to own real handguns, which have to be stored at a police station and can only be used for target shooting). Gun violence in Japan is probably the lowest in the whole world, but they have lots of knife violence as a result. China has high rates of gun violence, because as “restrictive” as their laws may seem they’re corrupt as f— and there are lots of illegal weapons in circulation there.

      • Sam

        Actually its much much harder to get sporting weapons in South Korea AND Japan. Its easier to get guns in Germany and Poland than in Asian countries Taiwan is next to impossible like Japan is. Philippines and Thailand are the only two far east nations to allow firearms ownership.

    • Lance

      Dont forget running over unarmed protesters with a Type 59 tank too.

    • Esh325

      Save the ignorant rhetoric. I think people would rather talk about the firearms than the politics.

    • Anonymoose

      Cops in the US have machineguns as well. You just don’t see them usually because they’re only for SWAT use (this is the case pretty much everywhere except Germany and Russia, where cops on the beat carry MP5s and AKS-74Us, respectively).

    • Esh325

      Boo hoo you hurt my feelings Charles

    • fred
  • klyph

    I’m so glad America is a free country with peace officers instead of a militarized police force.
    Oh… wait…

    • W

      LOL my thoughts exactly.

  • Lance

    Im not surprised NORINCO copies every major US and NATO weapon used. The SAW is not new and is used all over the world. Most Chinese police have leeway in what to use and SAWs and Norinco M-4s are in some Police use. To answer one person PLA and Chinese police do NOT use 5.45×39 that’s a Russia/CIS and East European round only. The main force PLA uses 5.8mm rounds with CQZ-95 and new Type 03 rifles and use NDM 86 for snipers. Navy still use Type 56 AK copies in 7.62×39. And Army reserve and local Militias use left over Type 81 and Type56s rifles in 7.62×39.

  • Andrew Racek

    Let this be a reminder that it can and is happening in the US.

  • Anonymoose

    They really should make a version of this in their DBP10 round as a replacement for their QJY-88 (which weighs about as much as a PKM with substantially less power) and QBB-95 (which has much less capacity and mounting options).

  • Lance

    China doesn’t export 5.8 also because all of its rounds are AP and so ATF and Canadian law would ban all types of ammo. BIG reason Type 97s in Canada are 5.56mm instead.

    As for tank comparison. The T-72 was Soviets primer tank it was the T-80U which has similar performance to the M-1A1 but like the T-64, T80s where never exported in the Cold War. Overall Iraq lacked the main weapons of the Soviet army and there solders skills sucked. No comparison to Soviet capabilities.

    • Nick

      Do not forget about the T-72B which is on par or even better than the T-64 or T-80 Tanks. These Tanks are superior to the overrated M1 Abrams in many aspects.

      • Lance

        Not really in Chechnya too the T-72 is not on par with the T-80 and now even its updated cousin the T-90 has been discontinued. T-80s also had bad losses due to tactics in Chechnya but any tank would have high losses due to bad decisions in Grozny.

        Both M-1s and M-60A1s had good combat records and are better than most Soviet tanks T-72 included.

      • 15yroldgunman

        In Chechnya it was the lack of infantry support combined with poor planning

    • W

      you need to open a book or two about Soviet tanks.

      The T62, T64, and T80 were famous for being overestimated by western defense analysts while in fact being largely inferior when compared to other MBTs of the era. The T55 and T72s were low maintenance, easier to produce, and utilized less troublesome and mature technologies. Unsurprisingly, they are still being used and improved, and serve as the basis for a number of other platforms (like the BMP-T and Buratino and the well known, newer T90 series).

      The T80, which was based off the unreliable, expensive, troublesome T64, inherited the demerits of its predecessor and sought to complicate things even more with a meddlesome gas turbine engine (which has no business on a combat vehicle). They were massacred in Chechnya not just because of the lack of infantry support, but due to ineffective protection against even the rather basic RPG7; the distinction of “quality” T80 and “quantity” T72 is a farce to begin with.

      The M1 is not that great of a tank either, in my opinion. It is astronomically expensive to maintain and operate, needlessly utilizes a gas turbine engine, is absurdly heavy, and needlessly uses a 120mm gun. The M60 was a outstanding platform and excellent overall tank, alongside the Leopards. The rumor by many old tankers is that the M60 has better optical sights and thermal optic.

      The M1 has only faced downgraded export Soviet models and downgrade of downgrade Iraqi-produced tanks. They have yet to face even a T72B and other more equivalent tanks from the east and west hemispheres. Hopefully they wont.

  • Mike Knox

    Like I’ve said before: as soon as china knows their own designs suck, they’ll just copy someone else’s..

  • Chase

    Completely serious question: in what kind of situations would the police find this useful? Are the criminal gangs there so big that they sometimes need medium-range suppressive fire?

    • fred

      Good question.
      Unfortunately they probably use them a lot..
      It is a totalitarian nightmare there.
      They have entire quick reaction forces to respond to peasant uprisings and riots, which happen constantly.
      The folks get upset about having land, homes etc. taken by the gov.

    • mosinman

      well im sure the Chinese police us these in riot control in Tienamen square type incidents

  • FailBlog

    Screw the Chinese. It’s a nation entirely based on ripping off the designs of others. How pathetic. Everyone should boycott their products.

    • Nor.

      @Failblog, if the vest are going to boycott products from china, then you can wave goodbye to 60-70% of your stuff.

  • Tony

    They also clone HK MP-5s, Sig pistols, ARs, 1911s, etc. If they offer low price alternatives to the world market, budget concious consumers should be very happy.

    • Jeff

      My friends in the Philippines are pretty happy. I’d be pretty happy if I could pick up a Full Auto MP5 for only $2.5k too. And they’re pretty faithful clones too (that is to say they work)

  • Cuban Pete

    Until the Chicoms are removed from power and a modern, democratic, law-abiding nation state is in place, the PRC will always remain an overpopulated, poluted laughing stock whose main export is underwear, forgeries, and trinkets. I would not touch a Chicom gun over any other option available – except a Chauchat.

    • Ohrly

      Those trinkets have allowed them to accumulate the greatest foreign reserves in history and exert tremendous control on others. They have also transitioned the largest population from poverty to middle class in history, in only a matter of decades. No, they don’t have democracy, but they never have in their entire history dating back millennia. Clearly, what theyre doing works very well for them.

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  • chino

    I’ve lived in Shanghai for 11 yrs. They have two types of police in PRC: the Civilian Police that you see everywhere, and the armed People’s Armed Police. The CP in peaceful areas – like Beijing, Shanghai – are unarmed. The PAP is organized more like a military unit (more accurately internal security troops), wearing green uniforms or camo fatigues. In peaceful areas they maintain a very low-key public presence.

    This guy on the Chinese Humvee dressed in black is Special Police (police commandos), probably belonging to probably the PAP. Though I said earlier that the PAP is dressed (in green or green camo) and equipped like a military unit with AFVs, the Special Police is dressed and equipped like a SWAT unit (in black). They have some specialized urban SWAT vehicles as well as wheeled APC but they are black or black and white in color scheme.

    When I visit the US I find police there quite intimidating.

  • johpal

    To TxDog: it just means that they can use the West’s own Ammo against them.