Norinco Type 97 Gen 2 Coming to Market

Norinco T97 Family

You might remember I spent some time with the Type 97 a few years ago. China’s number one bullpup has had a mixed history up here, but we’re about to get a crack at a newer, shinier version of the PLA rifle.

The Gen 2 demonstrated at the North Sylva dealer show features a flattop rail and ambidextrous magazine release. Also included in this new model is a non-reciprocating side-folding charging handle that can be installed on the left or right side. The ejection is still right side only, so I’m not sure why you’d move your charging handle over. This is not a lefty friendly shooter.

This new rifle is to a certain extent duplicating something we already have. Canadian manufacturer produced a flat top upper right when the rifle was first released, and you can see it in the handful of dealer-show photos that have been released.


The FTU is available as an aftermarket upgrade for people who are prepared to modify factory rifles, or as a standalone rifle after the importer has installed it here in Canada. You can see the FTU has a slightly higher optics mount, and no keymod, but other than that is nearly identical in its format.

The biggest addition to the Gen 2 T97 then is it’s Ambidextrous magazine release. Don’t under-estimate that change though: it means the difference between having to use your firing hand to reload, or using your reaction hand like the more western style manual of arms.

It looks like the Gen 2 is still using the “right-under-your-cheek” 180 degree safety selector. I was really hoping for the pistol grip safety we’re seeing in current production QBZ rifles.

Apparently the key-mod you see on that upper hand-guard may not be fully chamfered, so questionable as to how accessories will fare with recoil movement.

Personally I’m still hoping to see one of these in 7.62×39 running off AK pattern magazines. There are several 5.56 bullpups available in Canada, but nothing in the way of Russian calibers. The T97 is an interesting ~$1000 budget option for a bullpup, and I hope the line continues to expand.

Edward O

Edward is a Canadian gun owner and target shooter with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. Crawling over mountains with tactical gear is his idea of fun. He blogs at TV-Presspass and tweets @TV_PressPass.


  • AC97

    I wish someone would have a tragic boating accident with some of these with some Americans…

    • Jako

      Sounds like a day trip to the San Juan Islands is needed for all parties concerned.

  • spycrab421

    Shame that Norinco got banned in the United States, would like to own one of these.

    • Jacen

      If it costs a 1000 bucks had it been available in the US, that’ll give all the bullpups a run for their money.

    • Anonymoose

      We can only hope the God-Emperor overturns Bush Sr.’s, Bill Clinton’s, and Obama’s bans on Eurasian small arms.

      • randomswede

        China, I think I heard him mention something about China…

      • Minuteman

        I highly doubt it bro… China = no-go as far as the CinC is concerned.

      • Audie Bakerson

        If Trump does anything about import bans, it will be replacing them with a big tariff.

        • Stephen Paraski

          HUGE, I mean HUGE.

  • Rub it in. Ruuuuuub it in…

  • john huscio

    Why no QBZ03?

    • JSmath

      They don’t want other world powers stealing their high-tech research and manufacturing technique information.

      … 🙂

  • Anonymoose

    Oh man, I would really dig a Type 97 in x39, and I’m sure rebel groups around the world would too.

    • Minuteman

      Isn’t a 300BLK MDR to your taste instead?

  • Jacen

    We’re still not getting it in America…despite my distaste for the commies

    • Edeco

      I recommend talking to a commie about it. They’re not that bad, one can have a really frank, insightful convo about comparitive civics. As Ayn Rand said there are two sides to every issue; one right and one wrong, but the middle is always evil. Communists at least aren’t the middle. I don’t mind commerce with them at all.

      Anyway we need some 5.8x42mm. .23 caliber is way underutilized!

  • Lance

    Hope President Trump can kill the 89 HW Bush ban. And kill the 94 Chinese ammo ban. Both are executive orders not law. Hope they make them true PLA 5.8mm instead of 5.56mm.

    • Jako

      Considering Herr Trump would like a trade war with China, it’s a little unlikely.

      • Minuteman

        The Donald will outtrade them, outrun them, outfart them, outlaugh them and outflank them.

        • Jako

          But can he build a wall as long and as high as them?

          • Minuteman

            You mean can the Mexicans? Afterall, they’re the ones who’ll pay for it.

          • Jako

            I’m still a little curious as to how that’s going to play out.

          • Minuteman

            Either way, I’m all for it. Just copy the Israeli’s. I’d build a continuous fortified wall equipped with a sensor package, remote turrets etc. While relegating the Strykers, MRAP category vehicles, Kiowa’s, Lakota’s and remaining Huey’s to a permanent Southern Border Protection Force under the DHS. That also creates jobs. Border State militia groups could possibly be integrated or be liaisoned in a pug and play fashion. Anyway, politics….

    • Porty1119

      I’d expect the Russian bans to go away, not the Chinese.

    • NewMan

      I think some of you need to stop ridding lil Donny’s D.

      He duped & lied to his followers and he won.

  • Dougscamo

    After looking at these….all I can say is….WTF?…..
    And people were calling the tricked out Scorpio SKS-15 rifles UGLY? EXSQUEEZEME?!…..

  • rklk

    What are your thoughts on buying Chinese arms? especially the fact that these rifles are technically made by Norinco which is State owned? mind you i myself am chinese (australian)

  • Mmmtacos

    With an LOP like that you’ll need the magazine as a forward– I mean, rearward grip.

  • Nick Lui

    Any talk of improved mag compatibility? That’s the biggest drawback of the Gen1’s.

  • Frank Martin

    “Ambidextrous magazine release”, Correct me if I am wrong. But with the exception of Manual of Arms.. kind of useless for a rifle that can not be converted for lefties.. LOL

  • Sylvain Paquette

    No safety modification and no shell deflector for lefties pretty sad. These are easy modifications specially the shell deflector.