2015 marks the 20th year of service for the QBZ-95 family of bullpup rifles. The original production model is now superseded by the current QBZ 95-1 model in early 2011. Together, an estimated 1.65 million total units were produced under both models.
The latest QBZ 95-1 version chambers the heavier 71 grain projectile version of the 5.8x42mm round. The sight system is marginally upgraded with a lower sight height, tritium night sight and additional short forward rails on the front-sight base. The biggest improvement on the QBZ 95-1 is the relocation of the selector to just above the pistol grip and the completed implementation of the bolt-hold-open device with a recessed release button behind the magazine. The bolt-hold-open feature was in the original design but it was never implemented due to the bullpup being rushed into service prior to the takeover of Hong Kong in 1997. The new magazine for the QBZ 95-1 has the cutout for the bolt-hold-open device and a steel floor-plate for better durability.
A new variant of the QBZ 95-1 appeared with the Chinese Army team during the recent Brunei International Small Arms Meet, a military marksmanship competition. The Chinese media gave it the tentative name of QBZ 95-1 Plus. The most noticeable feature of the QBZ 95-1 Plus is the addition of a new 4x magnification prism sight. It resembles the Trijicon ACOG TA31 externally with a similar looking slanted lens shade and a smaller ocular than the objective. Due to its lack of fiber optic light collector, the Chinese sight looks more like the Meprolight MEPRO 4X.
No spec on the optic is available but it was developed by Factory 338. The cost is said to be $480 US dollars (3000 RMB), which is big money in China and that equates to a middle class monthly income in most part of the country. According to the formula my buddy Jim Tarr at Shotgun News uses, that translated to about $1300 if that optic is made in the USA, not factoring in the cost of living difference. There’s also the rumor of a larger 6x power designated marksman version is in development.
According to the report, the team’s rifle itself is different than the standard QBZ 95-1 in that it’s actually based on the QJB 95-1 light machine gun version. Not much of a difference in the gun’s receiver, since the rifle version and the light machine gun version uses an identical receiver. However, the two configurations are made by separate manufacturers. The rifle and the related carbine version are built by Jian She Corp. in Sichuan. The light machine gun variant is exclusively made by Chang Qing Machinery Inc. in Yunnan. Chang Qing is the designated machine gun producer for the Chinese military.
The Chang Qing name is often abbreviated to just CQ, which it’s better known for its CQ designation used in the Chinese copy of the American M16 and M4. Chang Qing also makes the M14 and 1911 clone for export.
A low quality photo of the new Chinese rifle and gunsight next to a M16A2 variant mounted with a Trijicon ACOG TA31 model. On the QBZ 95-1 Plus, a cheek riser was added on the stock for a proper cheek weld. Even through, the bore over sight is still higher than the carry handle mounted ACOG on the M16. The final version of the rifle design will be a flat-top design with a new rail interface that’s not the current Chinese military optic dovetail nor the Picatinny 1913 rail. Could that be one of the new open-source modular interfaces like the M-LOK or the Keymod?
The only other info on the QBZ 95-1 Plus is it uses a longer and heavier hammer forged barrel. The QBZ 95-1 Plus’ accuracy is said to be 1.5 MOA at 500 meters with no mention of what kind of ammo used to achieve that. In comparison, the original QBZ-95 build by Jian She Corp. gets an average accuracy of 2.5-3 MOA at 100 meters range from its 18.2-inch buttoned barrel. The 3 MOA or better accuracy is the Chinese military requirement that was first used for certifying the Type 81 rifle in the 1980s. The accuracy of the newer QBZ 95-1 model should be similar to the original, but there’s no official confirmation of that available yet.