Pakistan Seeks New Rifle to Replace G3, Type 56

The latest country to seek an upgrade to their aging fleet of small arms is Pakistan, according to statements made last week by military officials from that country. The current Pakistani rifle suite consists of license-produced Heckler & Koch G3 rifles, and Chinese Type 56 rifles based on the Russian AK and AKM. From

The news came during a Tuesday visit to a POF facility at Wah by head of the Army Gen. Raheel Sharif, who according to a press release by the military’s Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) media branch, was making his second trip “to see the progress of envisaged modernization and capacity enhancement of POF.”

During the visit, Sharif inaugurated a new ammunition production plant, which is part of an expansion plan. POF chief Lt. Gen. Omar Mahmood Hayat briefed Sharif, who thanked  the factory’s support in providing arms and ammunition for the ongoing counter terrorist operations.

Sharif also “emphasized the need for further technological upgradation to optimize the output” to ensure self reliance in arms-and-ammunition needs for the civilian and military security services.

He pushed for more efforts to secure new markets for POF products.

However, the presence of a series of foreign rifles at POF seen during the Sharif’s visit drew attention to a little publicized competition to find a new standard rifle for the military.

The rifles in the running to be the next Pakistani individual weapon are the Beretta ARX-200, CZ-806 Bren 2, FN SCAR, Kalashnikov AK-103, and Zastava M21. Interestingly, the caliber of the new weapons seems to be undecided. The AK-103 is chambered for the 7.62x39mm Russian caliber, while the ARX-200 in 7.62x51mm NATO caliber. The FN SCAR may be either the 7.62×51 NATO -H variant, or the 5.56 NATO -L variant. The CZ-806 and M21 are both in 5.56mm, however. Oddly, Pakistan’s close defense partner, China, does not appear to have a rifle in the running, although it could offer either its QBZ-97 or QBZ-03 rifles in 5.56mm if desired.

The primary focus of the new program is to not only upgrade the existing rifle designs, but to upgrade the Pakistani Ordnance Factory to a more modern standard, thereby ensuring Pakistani small arms autonomy for the 21st Century.


Thanks to Daniel for the tip!

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • Matt Shermer

    Does this mean more demilled kits? Or maybe more POF civilian HK Clones to sell in the U.S.?

    • Bob

      highly doubtful with the current regime in office

  • the new turkish mpt-76 would be an interesting pick. 7.62mm nato too

    • hikerguy

      It would make sense. Pakistan is similar to Turkey in that there are large areas that require a further range than a 5.56 or 7.62 of the AK. They already produce the NATO 7.62 round.

  • John

    Well, the SCAR is right out. Most Western countries can’t afford the price tag, let alone Pakistan.

    Beretta is also out of the running. Their rifle, by all accounts from groups who’ve tested it, has a crapload of problems. Not a military gun.

    The AK-103 is actually not a reasonable choice. You’ve got a Russian weapons system that is still dependent on NATO ammo, and neither the U.S. nor Europe would appreciate Pakistan buying from them right now.

    So you’ve got the CZ Bren and the Serbian-made Zastava. Hmm. Now it depends on who’s got the better price tag.

    • Elijah Decker

      The AK-103 is chambered in 7.62x39mm. It’s basically an AKM with synthetic furniture and a AK-74 style muzzle brake. What are you talking about being dependent on NATO ammo?

    • wheeleuss

      What are you talking about? Who has tested the Arx-200? !!!

      ARX-200 is not a military gun? Are you sure? Please stop writing nonsense.

      In my opinion SCAR and ARX200 (locally produced!) are the two front runner


    What about the CS/LR14 “Magical Dragon FLAME POOFER” Chinese 308 battle rifle?

    • looks interesting, are there any active military users of this rifle?

      • ZEBRA-wit-RABIES

        Well forget about the rifle above!

      • ZEBRA-wit-RABIES

        Y’all gotta “POOF” before you get Aloof!

  • Gjert Klakeg Mulen

    Im betting on the M21. It’s a familiar platform and to my knowledge it’s not too pricey either.

  • Ed

    What a General wants and what he gets are two different things. More likely a poorer nations like Pakistan will upgrade there weapons or buy newer AKs than goto expensive western weapons

  • HK416’s are expensive though. There is a reason most western militaries only adopt it in small numbers for special purposes rather than as weapons for their entire forces.

    • Wetcoaster

      Most western militaries also aren’t buying enough to warrant setting up license production – maybe due to the smaller armies they tend to run. Turkey, Pakistan, Iran, Greece, Sudan(!), and Saudi Arabia all license-produced the MP5.

      Greece, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia also license-produced the related G3. The real question is the cost of the tooling and license that HK would request.

      Would be funny if they bought the tooling for only the 416 uppers from HK and bought the lower/parts kit tooling from the PRC or some other generic AR maker though

  • Imran

    Saw a few Steyr AUG’s during my trip to Karachi this January, specifically the HBAR variant at a guard post.

  • Colin s

    That’s a bit of a varied collection of calibres and weapons, I take it they can’t decide what their forces will be doing in the future.
    Can see this competition going the same way as any number of their Indian neighbours military projects.

  • Ax

    I don’t understand why the SCAR sells so expensively. It looks so simple. If you’d get rid of that barrel change trunnion then you’d save an ounce and I bet some money as well.

    The Galil ace would be sweet, but I’m not sure if Israel and Pakistan has good enough relations.

  • Saumya Supratik

    The Zastava bid is a modernised and shorter barrel M77B.

  • Saumya Supratik

    The Zastava M77B bid.

  • Saumya Supratik

    The CZ807.

    • Petto

      Oh so this means Pakistani army really wants to keep the old AK round instead of 5.56 and obviously keeping the .308 NATO

      I didn’t even know that CZ807 existed , thanks

      • Saumya Supratik

        Interestingly the rifle also took part in the Indian Army multi-calibre bid, but sadly the whole program was cancelled in favour of a new Indian rifle (MCIWS) or a modernised INSAS (Ex-calibur variant).

        5.56 is predominantly used by the Pakistani SFs on their M4s, F2000s and AUGs. Some paramilitary units are armed with the AUGs as well.

      • jono102

        There is basically no difference between the 805 and the 807. The 807 was also provided unsuccessfully for the NZDF rifle tender

  • gunsandrockets

    What caliber Pakistan finally settles on should be fascinating.

    Considering past history I’m surprised 5.8mm is not in the running.

  • Aimz

    Good to know the PA will be upgrading its inventory. However, the Pakistani military is in dire need of capable designated marksmen and snipers. The PA does have some of its soldiers equipped with PSLs and Dragunovs, but overall this is an area that needs significant improvement.

  • SirOliverHumperdink

    How about some Turkish Mausers from Samco Global? I hear they be up for grabs soon.

  • The real question is, are they going to be running optics?

    If we took two random Pakistani soldiers out of basic training, and gave subject A a $300 Chinese Type 56 with a high quality $150 Chinese Red Dot (Holosun/ Primary Arms equivalent) and basic steel case ammo vs. Subject B with a $3,000 SCAR 17, iron sights, and match ammo, then turned them loose in Waziristan, who would be better off? My money would be the on the red dot equipped Type 56 for the average user.

    • jono102

      You’d more likely find both the red dot off the 56 and the match 7.62 from the SCAR would disappear and reappear in a bazaar somewhere.
      The PAK army is reasonably large with a massive cross section of varied ability, motivation and training. To adopt a new rifle and then add the intro and training of an optical sight to soldiers and a system with little exposure would be a mistake, not only in the added training cost but yet another item for their already struggling system to support

      • I mentioned the 56 because they already have it in service. As far as training to use the red dot, I can’t imagine that would take very long. Between the simplicity of a red dot (the bullet goes where the red dot is) and the extensive use of red dot style sights in video games, I think the training issue would be minimal.

        However your point about theft is quite important. Perhaps have each one serialized and tagged to the soldier, combined with the use of Locktite on the screws to prevent easy removal of the optic?

        • jono102

          A soldier will always find away to remove it if they really want too. It is also another logistical burden on the system, tracking x amount of sights and all the accessories, batteries etc that go with it as well as the on going spec maintenance and trained techs the optics require.

          A key point being they want to “Replace” the G3 and Type 56 as part for their drive to update and improve their weapon systems and gain greater autonomy. Getting more type 56’s doesn’t achieve this as its pretty much trading same for same.

          They don’t appear to have dictated a caliber so a platform that offer’s a few options, is up-gradable as well as the juiciest local license production contract would most probably win. That’s “If” this proceeds at all, given the regions history when it comes to weapons procurement.

  • Anonymoose

    No F2000?

  • Cmex

    Huh, so people who have to fight a lot from mountains and valleys against talibs are going for 30 cal. Who’d’ve’a thunk it?