The QBU-88 (also known as the Type 88) represents a modern sniper rifle made available to the People's Liberation Army of China. The weapon system was developed in the 1980's and accepted into service towards the end of the decade. Since then, it has seen limited production and has also been offered up in a NATO-friendly variant. The sniper rifle is issued to various military and security elements.
The QBU-88 fires the 5.8x42mm cartridge from a 10-round detachable box magazine. The export version, known as the KBU-97A fires the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge and can feed from standard STANAG magazines (the Chinese QBU-88 does not have this feature). The QBU-88 firing action is accomplished through gas operation of a short stroke piston mechanism and offers up an effective range of up to 800 meters. Available telescopic sights include 3-9x40 and 6-24x44 scopes as well as basic iron sights.
Design of the QBU-88 is such that it sports a polymer bullpup configuration meaning that the magazine is situated behind the pistol grip. The scope mounts over the main body of the weapon while the pistol grip and trigger group are conventional. An optional bipod can be affixed to the forward portion of the weapon, aft of the barrel. The barrel is fitted with a flash suppressor.
Though thought of as a sniper rifle, the QBU-88 is akin more of to a sustained fire role against enemy targets - sort of a cross between a true sniper rifle and the standard infantryman's assault rifle. In this respect, QBU-88 element can supply a more accurate form of suppression against an enemy at distance when compared to that of a squad machine gun. As such, QBU-88 units work directly with their infantry counterparts. These types of battlefield components are called "Designated Marksman" (DM) units.