China is introducing a new and improved model of their QBZ-95 assault rifles (also called the Type 95). The new QBZ-95G addresses several reliability and ease-of-use issues. Unlike earlier Russian designed weapons, the QBZ-95 requires more maintenance by users, and the new design caused some complaints from users. Thus there is now a thumb operated safety selector switch and small accessory mounting rails. The trigger guard has also been modified. The QBZ-95G was field tested earlier this year, and mass production is supposed to start before the end of the year.
The QBZ-95 is bullpup design (the magazine is behind the trigger) that uses China’s proprietary 5.8x42mm cartridge, which is a little wider than the 5.56 NATO, but shorter in overall length. The Type 95 uses a 30-round magazine, similar to the M-16. The Type 95 fires single shots or bursts. China is still in the process of replacing its own Type 81 (improved AK-47) rifles with the new rifle. The Type 95 is about ten percent lighter than the older rifle, and has apparently been well received by the troops. But there were complaints about the different ergonomics of a bullpup weapon, and the maintenance and reliability issues. Testing showed that the new 5.8mm round was less likely to cause serious wounds. This issue has not been addressed with the new QBZ-95G.
The Type 95 was first seen in Hong Kong when China took over in 1997. The Type 95 comes in a variety of styles (a compact version, an automatic rifle, and a sniper rifle). An export version (the Type 97), using the standard 5.56mm NATO round is called the Type 97, and Myanmar is using it. Some have also been sold to Cambodia and Sri Lanka.