QBZ-03: China's latest assault rifle

Steve Johnson
by Steve Johnson

For reasons unknown in the West the Chinese are experimenting with a conventional/non-bullpup conversion of their QBZ-95 rifle. It is called the Type 03 / QBZ-03. Information is scarce but it appears to be currently being used by PAP (Peoples Armed Police).

Here are some photos of the rifle in action (From Ronguild and ShanghaiExpress @ MP.net):

Close ups of the rifle disassembled (click to expand):

It has been said that the reason the QBZ-03 is being developed is that the conventional design is better suited to certain mission requirements. I don’t buy that reason. While there are many reasons to love/hate bullpups it is proven that they fulfill the exact same role as conventional rifles. I am not sure what the reason is but maybe the QBZ-95 is just not performing as expected.

The rifle chambers the Chinese 5.8x42mm DBP87 round and the export version, introduced last year, chambers the 5.56mm NATO.

Specifications for the 5.56mm export version:

Caliber: 5.56 x 45mm
Overall length:960mm/710mm with butt unfolded/folded
Total weight:3.8kg / 8.4 lbs with empty magazine
Firing model: Single shot, continuous firing, 3-rounds burst
Sight: Mechanical sight or optical sight

There does not appear to be a “Canadian” version yet (Sorry, I am just jealous of those lucky Canadians and their QBZ-97 imports 😉 ).

Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson

I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!

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2 of 19 comments
  • Ivorfyzel Ivorfyzel on Sep 19, 2010

    The thing is that the bullpup design, while it may look cool and sleek, is essentially a pile of crap unless it's equipped with some sort of contraption to eject spent cartridges from the front, plus in most of these designs the balance is totally off. This essentially means that while you get a more compact weapon, it's often not very comfortable to shoot, and if you're a lefty you may be totally screwed as is the case with the British L85 which only ejects spent cartridges to the right.
    If you need a simple and rugged design that will operate reliably under the most adverse conditions, you can't go wrong with the traditional arrangement in which the pistol grip and trigger are behind the magazine.
    From what I can see QBZ-03 seems to be based on an older design the Chinese toyed with in the 1980's, which was in turn ultimately an update of the venerable soviet SKS carbine

  • AR47 AK15 AR47 AK15 on Aug 03, 2014

    Looks like an AR and an AK had a baby...