Procurement: The Gunrunners Friend

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May 23,2008: A growing number of nations are pressuring China to be more careful who it sells military grade weapons to. Chinese assault rifles are showing up in northeast India, Afghanistan and several other places in Asia and Africa. The Chinese Type 81 assault rifle is one of the most frequently encountered weapons. This is a 7.5 pound rifle that looks like the Chinese Type 56 (itself a copy of the Russian AK-47). The main differences are that the Type 81 has less recoil and "jump" (of the rifle when fired), which improves accuracy.

China is in the process of replacing its own Type 81 rifles with a bullpup (30 round magazine behind the trigger) design, the Type 95 (QBZ-95). This weapon, about ten percent lighter than the older rifle, uses a proprietary 5.8x42mm cartridge, which has a casing that is a little wider, but shorter than that found in the 5.56/45mm NATO round. There is an export version of the Type 95 (the Type 97) that will fire the 5.56mm NATO round. This is also being encountered in the hands of bandits, irregulars and rebels of all sorts.

Apparently, China makes bulk sales to governments in places like Myanmar and Bangladesh, and those weapons make their way to gunrunners, who will sell to anyone with the cash. China refuses to cooperate in tracking down the legal buyers of these weapons.

 


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