Exclusive: Taiwan's Latest Type XT Prototype Rifle

Steve Johnson
by Steve Johnson

The Taiwanese military have been developing a modern assault rifle since 2008. Four years ago they unveiled their first prototype, named the Type XT97. The latest prototype has just been unveiled and we were lucky enough to have been sent detailed photos of the new rifle. It bears a superficial resemblance to the original prototype but looking closely a lot has changed both externally and internally. The new prototype is a lot more polished and looks production ready.

The upper receiver is a one piece aluminum extrusion. The lower will be polymer but the prototype lower is metal.

The the stock folds and has an adjustable cheek rest. The stock has holes to hold the rifle’s takedown pins during field stripping, like some of the H&K rifles. In fact, the takedown pins themselves look H&K inspired.

The bolt head is based on the AK design, rather than the Stoner design featured in so many of the new assault and semi-automatic rifles on the market. It has a short stroke gas system similar to the FN SCAR. The charging handle is ambidextrous and can be locked forward so that it does not reciprocate when the action cycles. The gas system is not adjustable.

The compensator / flash hider is designed for use with a quick detach suppressor. Multiple barrel lengths were on display.

This rifle looks very promising. It merges many of the features from the AR-15, AK, SCAR and Bushmaster ACR. The current Taiwanese service rifle, the T91, based on the AR-15 and AR-18 designs, has only been in service for a decade so this rifle is probably not intended to replace it. I suspect this rifle will be issued to Special Forces, vehicle crews, airborne and mechanized infantry who require a more compact rifle or a rifle that has more customization options.

Many thanks to Sam Cheng for the photos and information.

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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  • DiverEngrSL17K DiverEngrSL17K on Oct 01, 2013

    An excellent idea, combining the best and proven characteristics of already established rifles into a single weapon. However, the old saying that a weapon is only as good as the sum of its parts, and that the best is often the enemy of good, still holds true here. What is even more important than incorporating the best mechanical features of those other weapons is how they are integrated and how well they work in conjunction with one another. It is of no use to have the best of the best when there are integration issues that result in a less-than-satisfactory and unbalanced overall package, regardless of the individual components' merits.

    Hopefully, the Taiwanese were able to strike up that rare and often-elusive balance of factors with this rifle while giving up little in the way of durability and reliability. If they have actually succeeded in achieving this balance, we might have a potential world beater on our hands. But that remains to be seen with the passage of time.

  • Hue Hue on Nov 02, 2013

    I have absolutely no idea that the ROC army actually created such a weapon, Used to be a conscript of the ROC army 10 years ago and the rifle i used is T65K1 straight from the vietnam war era. The barrel looked like it was rusted inside out. Since the ROC government doesn't treat us local taiwanese good, and the military abuse scandal that happened recently, I wonder how such a pathetic army to protect the people