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NORINCO QBZ-03 (Type 03)

Assault Rifle / Assault Carbine [ 2003 ]

The QBZ-03, also recognized as the Type 03, is another in the long line of small arms produced by China-based NORINCO.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 05/08/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

Chinese defense powerhouse NORINCO (China NORth Industries COrporation) produces a myriad of military solutions for the local national armed forces as well as customers overseas. Its deep catalog includes armored vehicles as well as a dearth of small arms that run the gamut of automatic weapons and service pistols. The QBZ-03 automatic rifle is just one of many solutions developed by the company and this line entered official service with Chinese reserve forces in 2003, stocking the inventories of the border patrol, garrison units, and reserve elements all falling under the People's Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF) overarching label.

The design - also known as the "Type 03" - is conventional through-and-through: traditionally-arranged with an angled, low-set pistol grip / trigger unit found aft of the magazine well, a semi-skeletal folding shoulder stock, rectangular receiver, slotted forend, and extended barrel assembly. Iron sights (flip-up rear diopter, fixed front) are located fore and aft along the design. The muzzle is capped by a slotted brake to help with recoil. As a gas-operated (rotating bolt) weapon, the gas cylinder used to drive the internal piston action is seated over the barrel assembly. The charging handle of the gun is set to the right side of the frame as is the ejection port. Selective-fire controls allow the operator to choose between semi-automatic and full-automatic fire modes.

Newer versions of the rifle have a section of Picatinny rail over the receiver to accept various tactical optics, furthering the rifle's modularity to suit operator tastes.

Unlike earlier Chinese developed firearms heavily influenced by Soviet designs, this rifle is centered on the proprietary Chinese 5.8x42mm DBP-87 intermediate rifle cartridge developed during the 1980s and having entered service around the early 1990s - giving reportedly good penetration values against targets at medium and long ranges. Feeding is by way of curved, 30-round detachable box magazines in the Kalashnikov style.

Export versions are chambered in the ubiquitous 5.56mm NATO intermediate rifle cartridge.

Rate-of-fire is listed at 750 rounds-per-minute and effective firing range reaches out to 500 meters. Unloaded weight is 7.7lb and overall length reaches 37 inches with the shoulder stock fully set (28.5 inches otherwise).

The QBZ-03 is only in use with Chinese second-line forces as well as elements of the Myanmar armed forces. It is reportedly used by Chinese South China Sword special forces units as well.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


Service Year

China national flag graphic


Assault Rifle / Assault Carbine

China NORth INdustries COrporation (NORINCO) - China
(View other Arms-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of China National flag of Myanmar China; Myanmar
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Automatic Function
Features a mechanical function to automate the firing action.
Assault Rifle
Modern class of long gun featuring select-fire properties, automatic internal function, and magazine feeding.
Special Forces
Qualities of this weapon have shown its value to Special Forces elements requiring a versatile, reliable solution for the rigors of special assignments.

Internal action allows release of single round per trigger pull, actuating a semi-automatic loading mechanism for successive shots.
Internal action allows release of multiple rounds with a trigger pull in quick succession.
An automatic, or pseudo-automatic, function is built into the system, allowing for repeat firing to be achieved.
Supports mounting of optics (scopes) to aid in accuracy for ranged fire.
Supports 'iron sights' allowing for inherent accuracy in ranged fire.
Design allows for user adjustability of certain components for customization.
Design offers mounting points for external, after-market hardware including laser aimers, flashlights, scopes, and grips.

Overall Length
950 mm
37.40 in
Empty Wgt
7.72 lb
3.50 kg

Iron Front and Rear.


Gas-Operated; Rotating Bolt System; Selective-Fire

Rotating Bolt
System utilizes internal mechanism to lock the breech or rear barrel assembly prior to firing.
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)


5.8x42mm DBP87; 5.56x45mm NATO (model dependent).

Sample Visuals**

Graphical image of a 5.56mm intermediate rifle cartridge
Rounds / Feed

30-round detachable box 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
1,475 ft
(450 m | 492 yd)
Muzzle Velocity
3,050 ft/sec
(930 m/sec)

QBZ-03 - Base Series Designation; original production model.
QBZ-03 UPG - Modernized model of 2014; quad-rail handguard assembly.
QBZ-3 CAR - Carbine form with shortened barrel assembly for a more compact footprint.
T03 - Export variant chambered in 5.56mm NATO.
T03A - Upgraded, improved export variant.
EM3513 - Export variant in 5.56mm NATO and semi-automatic-only fire mode.
EM3513A - Export variant in 5.56mm NATO, semi-automatic-only fire mode, all-new shoulder stock component, and enhanced accessories rail support.

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