Shanghai Police Officers Now Carry 9mm Revolver

norinco np216

For the first time in 60 years, the police officers in Shanghai will be armed with handguns according to a report at  The report states the officers will carry a 9mm revolver that is equipped with three safety devices and can fire rubber bullets in addition to conventional ammunition.

The revolvers in question are likely the 9mm police revolvers identified here by  The handguns are a double action revolver with a swing out cylinder that are chambered for a low power 9mm round.  According to the information, the rounds are ballistically similar to the .38 S&W (not Special).  Muzzle velocity is listed as 720 fps with an unknown weight bullet.

The revolvers are equipped with a manual safety on the left side of the frame.

These guns are possibly the Norinco NP-216.

Richard Johnson

An advocate of gun proliferation zones, Richard is a long time shooter, former cop and internet entrepreneur. Among the many places he calls home is


  • Poon

    I hear next year they upgrade to the Jennings J-22

    • jchickerell

      LOL, I miss my Jennings j-22…. The way every other round would jam, or not fire… The way the slide would randomly fly off, sending the spring flying in a random direction…

  • flyingburgers

    I’m not terribly familiar but my understanding is there’s two levels of police in China. There’s the People’s Armed Police, which is paramilitary and the local Public Security Bureau police which is the blue uniforms seen here. These are the lower level police, which I’ve been told they’re closer to security guards and handle things like traffic and littering, whereas the Armed Police is what we would consider a regular police force.

    • Scw

      Armed police are paramilitary organization and not really regular police. That shold be thlose blue uniform guys. There is a another organization that deal with public order st littering. As you can imagine these organizations function overlap in many way. Rather than better at keeping the city safe, they just make things confusing and cause tension between gov and ppeople. Inter-services rivalry is quite serious too. Open confrontation between them are not unheard of

    • AznMike

      Pretty close, my uncle-in-law (does that title work?) is a traffic cop and is not armed. But last time I heard, he recently got promoted so I believe he can be armed if he chooses to be. Most cops that I’ve seen when I visit family still only carry batons and cuffs, they might also have pepper spray. As for how the police works, it’s not like here in the US where if there is any issue ranging from domestic disturbance to homicide, we call the police and they show up. In China, they have different levels as you put it, for things like domestic disturbance, there are police that handle the community issues specifically and tend to be closer to as you put it, security guards.

  • Ken

    I wonder how long before these start disappearing from police armories and ending up in the hands of criminals. Military firearms are either sold to or stolen by criminals pretty often from what I hear.

    • Matt

      Where’d you hear this? Wikipedia?

      • Ken

        From people who read Chinese news on guns seized from criminals. They say it turns up in the news now and then, and it’s always a large haul of military stuff. Other than that, I don’t know much about it myself.

        • iksnilol

          It happens in Norway too. About 80% of illegal guns (might be more) are stolen from police/millitary armories. I read this in “rapport Bullit” or was it “project Bullit”? Google around you might find something.

    • G.Lim

      That might be why they’re using a proprietary cartridge. Harder to obtain from the outside.

    • AznMike
  • nightingale

    There are precious few ways to screw up a police revolver and this gun has two: utilizing an underpowered cartridge made for semi-autos, and adding a manual safety.

    • Dan

      the rounds are not 9×19 luger, they are some custom home grown round with 9mm diameter projectile.

      • nightingale

        Thanks, Dan – I know the cartridge is not 9x19mm. Nonetheless, this is >not< a cartridge designed for use in a revolver. No one would ever actually design a rimless, or at best semi-rimmed, cartridge for a revolver.

        Moonclips -if this revolver indeed uses them- are just an adaptation to utilize existing military ammo that is primarily intended for semi-autos, like the old S&W M1917 in .45ACP. On the other hand, without moonclips the case extraction is not reliable: with just a little unburned powder residue, or having scratches on the chamber walls, the brass can stick and the extractor will ride over the rims.

        No one does this on purpose, by design. It's a compromise.

        • Matrix_3692

          those are rimmed cartridges, base on that I’ve gathered on chinese forums, and there are also surprising low amount of info regarding this revolver,other than that it’s ‘Lethal’ loading produces a muzzle energy lower than 200J.

          • jamezb

            I wonder if they are 9mm “PK” gas/blank cartridges loaded with actual projectiles?

      • HOnestly, they look like .38/200 British service cartidges, which, oddly enough, is basically a .38S&W and referred to in quite a few of the former British Colonial areas as a 9mm. . .

  • M.M.D.C.

    Wow! Digging that revolver decomp. Spiffy camera work, too!

  • 101nomad


  • WaltherJJR

    If you are going to arm someone..anyone..why do it half-assed??? “We want to hurt them badly, not kill them”. Are you serious? With literally thousands of EXCELLENT handguns out there, why this one???


      Price? Maybe it looks not as “threatening” per se as like what a Glock 17 would.

      Yeah, that sounds dumb if you live anywhere LE aren’t usually packing. Imagine being stopped by an officer for running a red light and he comes to your window with his AR-15 in hand. It might un-nerve some people. The same probably applies over there in Shanghai.


      Yeah, it’s pretty ridiculous to carry around revolvers (caliber be damned) if the people you’re possibly defending yourself might be gun smuggling Triad. I wonder how their SWAT fares over there?

      • au

        it’s pretty simple: Chinese government is afraid that these guns may be stolen and used against the State. the revolver probably won’t take any other commercially available ammo, so in such case a “domestic terrorist” ends up with 6 rounds that are in the chambers, and it will most likely be loaded with useless rubber bullets.

        • Hedd Wynn John

          I concur with this assessment. China doesn’t want to mass issue a modern combat pistol that could end up being used against the state. An obsolete low-powered revolver gives the police some firepower but not enough that China considers to be a big threat if quantities get into the wrong hands.

      • Matrix_3692

        The theory behind those decision(although very, very, VERY controversial, even among chinese LE officers), is that they want a firearm that’s barely just enough power to knockdown a target, but not enough to over-penetrate or threaten LE officers with body armour.

        And most large city, top of the line SWAT teams are armed with QBZ-95’s, JS 9mm SMGs, with smaller units & local militias still holding on older Type 81 rifles and Type 79 SMGs.

  • Fruitbat44

    Weird. Do we know if it can use full-moon clips for reloading?

    • Hunter57dor

      Judging by the rimless cartridges, it would have to use them.

      • Fruitbat44

        Not necessarily. I gather that most revolvers chambered for rimless rounds can be loaded and fired without using clips i.e. headspace, but extraction is problematic without clips. However S&W did design a nine-millimetre parabellum revolver back in the eighties which could extract without using clips.

        • David Sharpe

          Yup, there is a “shelf” in the cylinder that holds the shell.

      • Lewis Mienheartt

        Look more closely, they’re semi-rimmed

    • Matrix_3692

      those are 9mm rimmed cartridges.

      • Fruitbat44

        I’m peering very hard at the picture to see if the rim does indeed project past the walls of the case . . .
        The cartridges definitely have an extractor groove(?) so if the rim does project this would mean that they are technically semi-rimmed cartridges.(?)
        Of course if the cartridge does have a projecting rim it would mean that it can be extracted without clips, though it could potentially still use clips for quick reloading.
        Hmmm . . . does this cartridge have a designation yet? 9mm Shanghai perhaps?

        • Matrix_3692

          no, there’s very few info on the gun and cartridge even on chinese forums.

          • Fruitbat44

            Okay then. Well I guess if you were designing a revolver cartridge from scratch making it a rimmed cartridge would be sensible. Thanks fro the info.

          • Matrix_3692

            you’re welcome

          • I don;t think they developed teh round from scratch. I think those are just .380/200 British (i.e., basically .38S&W). That round is often referred to as a 9mm in the Third World.

          • Yay

            They have to keep it very hush-hush lest the Chinese become too curious about a firearm.

          • Matrix_3692

            “Too curious”? there’s already a very very very large online firearm enthusiast community in china, and i would wager that most of them know more firearm facts than you.

          • Yellow Devil

            Yay was being sarcastic, taking a swipe at the Chinese authorities steps at suppressing civilian interests in firearms.

        • Matrix_3692

          and by the way, they use standard issue speed-loaders. and those rounds’ “lethal” loading produce less than 200J worth of muzzle energy. and the gun is still very controversial even among chinese LE officers (some even though that the old Type-54 would perform better than this revolver), but some civilians think the gun is best suited for china’s social environment.

          • J.T.

            Of course the Type 54 would perform better, but supposedly one of the reasons they specifically went with this cartridge was because if the gun fell into the wrong hands, the cartridge it fires is too weak to penetrate the body armor worn by police.

  • jimmy

    so lame. Can’t even come up with anything original. Copy a 60+ year old revolver.

    • scw

      You may be surprised but very often they are actually proud of these copying.

      • John Smith

        In China, the sincerest form of flattery is imitation.

    • AznMike

      Most firearms out there are pretty much derivatives of each other. As for original firearms, I do believe their QBZ rifle is an original design. I always love going back to China and visit the various military museums or bases and see their equipment. I’m pretty sure most SWAT teams in the US have better gear.

    • johns

      Methinks you’d still find a way to bitch if it resembled something of modern design – even if it fired lasers and teleported objects.

      • 101nomad

        If it turns into a pizza and a six pak at midnight, I am in.

    • John

      Dude, they invented the very first gunpowder and firearm. The oldest gun barrel in the world dates to the Yuan dynasty. Who’s copying whom???

      • Lewis Mienheartt

        And made from bamboo.

  • JT

    This is almost like Japanese police weaponry

    • John Smith

      IIRC, at least the Japanese use .38Spl. in their revolvers.

  • Manny Fal

    I have the solution to armed police. Don’t arm them with pistols, instead give them bulletproof vests, ballistic helmets, stabproof chainmail, and weighted gloves. That way if someone has a pistol and shoots at them, they can just run up to them and knock them out. Same thing with a knife. Not so cheap, but effective. Unlike a pistol.

  • dan citizen

    3 safeties:

    1. Gun is defective and won’t fire
    2. Ammo does not fit
    3. ammo not provided

  • Hunter57dor

    just a winging it, back of the envelope calculation: the pics bullets look fairly small, probably nothing as heavy as the 158 grain .38 special bullet we are used to. maybe a 124 grain projectile, moving at the stated 720 FPS. giving us: 142.70 ft/lbs of energy, a little less than a .380 auto. ouch. k, lets assume 158 grain: 181 ft/lbs of energy. still not fantastic.

    I doubt these officers are actually intended to be combat effective, more of a political show-off with something that underpowered.

    • Matrix_3692

      Based on what I’ve gathered on chinese forums those ‘lethal’ loadings produces a muzzle energy of less than 200J. And the theory behind those decision(although very controversial, even among chinese LE officers), is that they want a firearm that’s just enough power to knockdown a target, but not enough to over-penetrate or threaten LE officers with body armour.

    • Thiago Kurovski

      .380 Auto was considered powerful enough for police work a few decades ago, it’s probably still enough now. And these guys have plenty of backup from PAP and special units…

  • John K.

    Good bye, super martial artists like William E. Fairbairn.

  • Matrix_3692

    Actually, the muzzle energy for those “lethal” loading are less than 200J, base on what I’ve gather in chinese forums. And the reasons for choosing this firearm is that they thought the stopping power is just enough to knockdown someone, but not enough for over-penetrating or threaten LE officers with body armour.

  • jamezb

    This appears to be inspired by the old RG line of inexpensive handguns

    and gas guns.

  • zebra dun

    I understand the S&W M-940 used a 9 mm Lugar round and with a three inch barrel was quite effective.
    The only drawback was the half or full moon clips.

    • John Smith

      And the M-547 needed none of those things to fire 9mm.

  • Lewis Mienheartt

    Are they afraid they might kill someone trying to kill them? Also, those appear to be semi-rimmed rounds.

  • 101nomad

    No idea why they even bothered.

  • saki302

    What a sad looking revolver. Kind of want?