Weapons: The Chinese Edge In Action


August 2, 2017: In late June 2017 China flew in some emergency military aid to the Philippines, which was dealing with a major uprising of Islamic terrorists in a southern city. What was interesting about the 3,000 assault rifles (and five million rounds of 5.56mm ammo) and 80 7.62mm sniper rifles (and 800,000 rounds of ammo) was that these two weapons, while Chinese made, looked like two famous rifles from the 1960s; the U.S. 5.56mm M-16 and the Russian 7.62mm SVD sniper rifle.

The CQ-A5 is one of many clones of the American M-16. It was introduced in the 1980s for the export market but was never a big seller. One customer, Iran, began making its own M-16 clone, but copied the CQ-A5. There are many Chinese weapons manufacturers and most of them compete for domestic as well as export sales. This is one reason Chinese weapons technology and manufacturing quality have increased so rapidly since the economy was partially privatized in the 1980s. Chinese leaders wanted competition and they got it. The CQ-A5 is but one of many examples. Filipino troops will find the Chinese rifle very familiar to the M-16s the Filipino armed forces has been using for decades. The CA-A5 was designed to do that and uses the same ammo magazines as the M-16 in addition to the same ammo.

The Chinese sniper rifle was interesting in its own way. The CS-LR4 is a Chinese upgrade of the Russian SVD (Snayperskaya Vintovka Dragunova) "Dragunov" Sniping Rifle that was developed during the early 1960s. The SVD was one of the first rifles designed and built exclusively for sniping. The SVD was a 4.5 kg (10 pound) 7.62mm rifle that looked like a sniper rifle. It had a ten round magazine, was 1.2 meters (48 inches) long and even with second rate ammo (that Russian snipers often had to put up with) was very accurate out to 600 meters. Although Russia has since developed new designs to replace the SVD, second-hand SVDs still sell for up to a thousand dollars each. The CS-LR4 was introduced in 2012, weighs six kg (13.2 pounds) has a five round magazine and is 1.1 meters (43 inches) long. Meant for the police and military markets is uses the NATO 7.62mm round and is more accurate than the SVD. Snipers are known to be curious about new gear so the Filipino snipers will give the CS-LR4 a thorough workout and evaluation. Besides, you can’t beat the price.