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NORINCO QLZ87 (Type 87)

Automatic Grenade Launcher (AGL) [ 1987 ]

The QLZ87 Automatic Grenade Launcher uses a unique 35mm grenade and has been adopted by several fighting forces of the world to date.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 05/15/2023 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

NORINCO of China has amassed a long history of arms-making since the brand was established in during the tail-end of the Cold War in 1980. Its first projects were local production copies of Soviet-era arms including the famous TT-33 semi-automatic pistol (as the Type 54) and the Kalashnikov AK-47 (as the Type 56). Today, the company has branched out into design, development and production of many indigenous Chinese weapon types including whole combat tanks, armored and unarmored fighting vehicles and even unmanned aircraft while managing to keep a hand in the small arms business.

In the late-1980s, the company unveiled a new Automatic Grenade Launcher (AGL) for its armed forces as the "Type 87" (also known as the "QLZ87"). The weapon is a complete suppression system utilizing a gas-operated, fully-automatic self-loading action (with direct impingement process) feeding from a six- or fifteen-round hard drum magazine. A bipod assembly is optionally fitted under the long-running, fluted barrel (capped by a large slotted muzzle brake). Over the receiver is a carrying handle and under it is the drum feed. The rear of the receiver features the charging handle, trigger section and shoulder support. The weapon can be mounted atop a heavy-duty tripod assembly for use as a fixed defensive weapon or similarly mounted on a trainable pintle, the latter for vehicle / helicopter door gunner usage. While traditional iron sights are used for ranged fire, optics are also supported. Overall weight is 26lb (44lb with the scope fitted and drum loaded).

The Type 87 relies on a rather unique grenade projectile offered in 35mm caliber (35x32mm). This ammunition arrives in several available flavors to suit mission requirements (Armor-Piercing, High-Explosive, anti-infantry, smoke, etc). This sort of versatility provides multiple tactical uses for the weapon and puts it on par with Russian and Western design offerings of similar mission form and function.

The weapon can reach a rate-of-fire of 120 to 500 rounds-per-minute and outgoing projectiles are rated at a muzzle velocity of 620 feet-per-second. Effective range is out to 600 meters with a maximum range of 1,750 meters being possible (though with reduced accuracy).

The Type 87 grenade launcher is currently (2017) in service with the army branches of Bolivia, China, Pakistan, Sudan and Syria.©MilitaryFactory.com
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Service Year

China national flag graphic


Automatic Grenade Launcher (AGL)

China NORth INdustires COrporation (NORINCO) - China
(View other Arms-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of Bolivia National flag of China National flag of Ethiopia National flag of Iraq National flag of Namibia National flag of Niger National flag of Pakistan National flag of Sudan National flag of Somalia National flag of Syria National flag of Tanzania National flag of Uganda Bolivia; China; Ethiopia; Iraq; Namibia; Niger; Pakistan; Somalia; Sudan; Syria; Tanzania; Uganda
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Fire Support
Capable of suppressing enemy elements at range through direct or in-direct fire.

Overall Length
970 mm
38.19 in
Barrel Length
560 mm
22.05 in
Empty Wgt
26.46 lb
12.00 kg



Gas-Operated; Direct Impingement

Gas-operated system is featured, typically involving a gas cylinder and rear-driven piston directing energy to the bolt component.
(Material presented above is for historical and entertainment value and should not be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation - always consult official manufacturer sources for such information)



Rounds / Feed

6- or 15-round drum magazine.
Cartridge relative size chart
*May not represent an exhuastive list; calibers are model-specific dependent, always consult official manufacturer sources.
**Graphics not to actual size; not all cartridges may be represented visually; graphics intended for general reference only.
Max Eff.Range
2,000 ft
(610 m | 667 yd)
Muzzle Velocity
620 ft/sec
(189 m/sec)

QLZ87 - Base Series Designation.
Type 87 - Alternative designation.
QLZ87B (QLB-06) - 20lb semi-automatic variant with 4-round drum; aluminum receiver; modernized action and bipod support assembly; sans tripod.
MIC "ABBA" - Local Sudanese variant.

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Images Gallery

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Image of the NORINCO QLZ87 (Type 87)
Image from the Chinese Ministry of Defense; Public Release.

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