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Type 87

5.8x42 Type 87 experimental assault rifle, used to develop and test 5.8mm DBP87 cartridge for QBZ-95 rifle

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The PLA`s studies on the small calibre infantry weapon can track back to as early as 1971, when both the USA and the Soviet Union began to equip their Armies with new generation small calibre rifles (M-16 and AK-74). It took the PLA seven to eight years on testing various calibre options. After comprehensive studies and tests, the PLA finally chose 5.8 mm as the calibre for its next generation rifle and SAW.

The first 5.8 mm rifle and squad machine gun were introduced in 1987 with the designation as Type 87. The Type 87 was merely a 5.8 mm variant of the 7.62 mm Type 81 rifle with some minor modifications. The Type 87 fires DBP87 bullets, which was claimed to have better performance compared to the Soviet 5.45 mm and NATO 5.56 mm SS109 rounds.

In the late 1980s, the improved Type 87A rifle was introduced with the redesigned stock, barrel assembly, hand guard, and cartridge magazine using plastic and aluminium alloy materials. The Type 87A is the formal production version of the Type 87 rifle, with a small number delivered to the PLA Airborne Troops for trial and evaluation purposes.

Despite its success in terms of technique and performance, the Type 87 was eventually refused by the PLA due to its outdated conventional layout. Its technology was later used in developing the Type 95 rifle/SAW family.

The Type 87 has a similar design and mechanism as the Type 81 rifle. It is a lightweight, air-cooled, gas-operated, magazine-fed, shoulder- or hip-fired weapon designed for either fully automatic fire (bursts) or semiautomatic fire (single shot) through the use of a selector lever. The stock is collapsible. The hand guard can be fitted with telescopic sight or night vision devices.

Automatic Rifle

NORINCO 12A Guang An Men Nan Jie, Beijing, China. P.O.Box 2932 Beijing. TEL: (8610)63529988 FAX: (8610)63540398 E-mail:

5.8x42 mm

(Unloaded) 3.95 kg

(stock closed/open): 730 / 945 mm

Magazine Capacity:
30 Rounds

Rate of fire:
700 RPM

Effective range:
400 meters

Muzzle Velocity:
920 m/s


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