NORINCO Type 03 assault rifle in 5.56x45mm-NATO

NORINCO Type 03 assault rifle in 5.56x45mm-NATO

The TYPE 03 assault rifle started its life as a prototype weapon proposed by NORINCO for the role of general-issue infantry service rifle. The weapon received its design certificate in December 2003, hence the denomination of "Type 03". The earlier TYPE 03 rifle was chambered in the .5'8x42mm cartridge used in the QBZ-95 "Type 95" Bull-Pup weapons system that entered service in 1997 with the PLA Hong Kong Regiment. It used the same magazines, yet a conventional design whose modern external look hides an AK-based working system; in fact there is the possibility to use some parts of dismissed AK rifles in the assembly of this rifle. The .5'8x42mm version didn't entered production as the projects for the issue of the QBZ-95 "Type 95" weapons system as a PLA general-issue version were re-dimensioned until the current status, that sees the QBZ-95 as a weapon for Special Forces only. In the year 2005, the joint CJAIE (China Jing-An Import-Export) and JIANG-SHE Group Companies, which made their "debut" in several defense expos in Asia and Europe, introduced the above-mentioned design on the export market, this time re-chambered for the .5'56x45mm-NATO and fed with STANAG magazines. The weapon has a foldable butt-stock, and a funnel-shape muzzle brake that has provbed to be highly effective in suppressing muzzle flash and sustaining fire accuracy. The (small) cocking handle is placed on the right side of the weapon, right under the ejection port; the selector switch for "Safe/Single Shot/3-rounds busts/Full-auto" is instead placed ONLY on the left side, right over the grip. The weapon works with a simple gas-operated / rotating bolt AK system. The NORINCO website ( http://www.norincoequipment.cn/ ) features this under its "Firearms and ammunitions - Rifles" section as the ".5'56mm Folding Butt Automatic Rifle". NORINCO currently manufactures a more or less wide spread of .5'56x45mm-NATO assault weapons: the TYPE CQ M16-style assault rifle and CQ-5'56M4 carbine, the QBZ-97 "Type 97" bull-pup weapons system, and last the TYPE 03. This could just be a signal of NORINCO following the marketing trend, that has recently seen a new interest in .5'56x45mm firearms for standard infantry service by Countries that previously held up with other standards like .7'62x51mm-NATO and .7'62x39mm; several nations of Eastern Europe, Central and Eastern Asia, Africa and South America represent thus an appealing marketing occasion for NORINCO, which is potentially the biggest firearms manufacturer in the world. Nonetheless, a rifle like the TYPE 03 which can use parts of dismissed-worn out AKs in its construction can result as a cost-effective widespread infantry rifle for a Country like People's Republic of China, which has enormous stockpilings of TYPE 56 and TYPE 81 AK-system rifles. And considering that: # The adoption of the QBZ-95 "Type 95" .5'8x42mm Weapons System has been re-dimensioned in plans because of budgetary problems and service issues and it is now planned as a Special Forces only weapon; # The Chinese Armed Forces are longtime looking for a replacement for their .7'62x39mm service weapons into smaller-caliber weaponries, and recently some stocks of QBZ-97 "Type 97" .5'56x45mm system weapons originally purported for export have been addressed to People's Liberation Army units for T&E; then the TYPE 03 rifle could turn handy for the Chinese national market as a possibly adoptable weapon for the PLA and the Chinese Navy ground-based fighting units (Marine troops). Special Forces are already addressed to the adoption of the .5'8x42mm QBZ-95 "Type 95" Weapons System, while all other Chinese Armed Forces, and the Reserve, make such a little use of personal firearms that the "old" AK rifles like the TYPE 81 system could remain in service for training and rear-line use for a long time. -TECHNICAL SPECS- CALIBER: .5'56x45mm-NATO (early prototype was in .5'8x42mm) CAPACITY: All STANAG magazines will fit (early prototype had QBZ-95 "Type 95" system 30-rounds and 90-rounds magazines). OVERALL LENGTH: 960 Millimetres (stock unfolded) / 710 Millimetres (stock folded) TOTAL WEIGHT: 3,8 Kilograms (Empty magazine) BARREL: 6 grooves, RH MUZZLE VELOCITY: 860 Metres per Second. EFFECTIVE RANGE: 300 Metres SIGHTS: Fixed AK-style front sight / adjustable back sight /provision for attachment of optical sights -MANUFACTURER- NORINCO (North China Industries Corporation) 12a Guang An Men Nan-Jie / P.O. Box 2932 100053 Beijing - People's Republic of China TEL: (8610)-63542729 / 83919259 FAX: (8610)-8354-6306 URL: http://www.norincoequipment.cn/ E-MAIL: equipment@norinco.com.cn

Submitted by: Pierangelo Tendas