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Type 88 (88式狙击步枪)
Rifle Type88.jpg
The QBU-88
TypeBullpup designated marksman rifle
Place of originPeople's Republic of China
Service history
In service1997-Present
Used byPeople's Liberation Army, People's Armed Police, various state police forces[citation needed]
Production history
VariantsType 97
Mass4.1 kg (9.0 lb)
Length920 mm (36.2 in)
Barrel length640 mm (25.2 in)

Cartridge5.8×42mm DBP87 (with non-standard loading); 5.56×45mm NATO (KBU-97A export variant)
ActionGas-operated, rotating bolt
Effective firing range500–1000 meters
Feed system10-round detachable box magazine
Sights3-9×40, 6-24×44 telescopic sights

The QBU-88 (Type 88) sniper rifle is a designated marksman rifle deployed by the Chinese People's Liberation Army.


During the 1979 Sino-Vietnamese War, China captured samples of the Soviet-designed Dragunov sniper rifle, which it copied as the Type 79. Due to immature gunsmithing techniques its firing pin could break from metallurgy issues and problems copying the PSO-1 4x scope made it unable to handle the recoil of firing its round. These issues were addressed in the upgraded Type 85, but the PLA still used standard ball ammunition rather than specialized sniping cartridges, resulting in lower accuracy. These shortfalls led to development of a new sniper rifle when China started development of a new cartridge for machine guns in the early 1990s.[1]

The QBU-88 rifle (also sometimes referred to as Type 88 rifle) was the first weapon of the newest generation of Chinese small arms, chambered for proprietary 5.8×42mm DBP87 ammunition. Adopted in 1997,[2] the QBU-88 is, by the modern sense, not a true sniper rifle – it is more a designated marksman rifle, intended for aimed semi-automatic fire at ranges beyond the capabilities of standard infantry assault rifles.[3] The rifle is intended for rough military use, so it is fitted with adjustable iron sights by default, and is generally equipped with telescopic sights or with night sights.

QBU-88 rifle is optimized for a special heavy loading of 5.8×42mm cartridge with a longer streamlined bullet with steel core. It can also fire standard ammunition intended for the QBZ-95 assault rifles.[4] At the present time the QBU-88 rifle is in service with PLA and Chinese police forces.

Design details[edit]

The QBU-88 rifle is a gas operated, semiautomatic rifle. It utilizes a short stroke gas piston, located above the barrel, and three-lug rotating bolt.[4] The action is mounted in the compact steel receiver, and enclosed into a polymer bullpup-type housing. To increase accuracy, the action is mated to a 640 mm (25.1 in) long, hammer-forged match-grade barrel. The safety switch is located at the bottom of the receiver, just behind the magazine opening. The QBU-88 rifle is equipped with open, diopter type adjustable sights, mounted on folding posts. It also has a short proprietary Chinese military rail on the receiver which can accept telescope or night sight mounts.[4]

The rifle is intended to be utilized primarily with optics. The standard day optic used on the QBU-88 for military use is a Chinese 3-9×40 scope with an integral quick-release mount.[5] In 2008 a new Chinese 6-24×44 tactical scope became available for counter-terrorism and other law enforcement use.

The rifling twist for the QBU-88 differs from the standard QBZ-95 assault rifle. While the QBZ-95 has a 244 mm (1–9.6 in) twist to stabilize the standard 64-grain DBP-87 ball round, the QBU-88 has a faster 206 mm (1–8.1 in) twist to stabilize the 70-grain Heavy Ball round and dedicated Sniper load, similar to the QJY-88 general-purpose machine gun, which has progressive rifling with a final twist rate of 206 mm. A long birdcage flash suppressor is fitted to reduce the muzzle signature. A quick-detachable bipod is clamped to the barrel when required.[5]


An export version called the KBU-97a is also produced and marketed for security forces of other foreign countries.[2] This derivative utilizes 5.56×45mm NATO ammunition although, instead of STANAG magazines, a modified version of QBU-88 magazine is used to feed the rounds – and STANAG magazines will not work unless modified. The KBU-97A has recently been sighted under the designation NQU03, though it is unknown if the two differentiate in any way aside from name.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Why China's Snipers Should Be Feared. The National Interest. 3 June 2018.
  2. ^ a b "QBU88 5.8mm Sniper Rifle - SinoDefence.com". Archived from the original on 30 July 2008. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  3. ^ "Fusil de Francotirador QBU88". Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  4. ^ a b c "Modern Firearms". Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  5. ^ a b "NORINCO QBU-88 (Type 88) - Sniper Rifle - History, Specs and Pictures - Military, Security and Civilian Guns and Equipment". Retrieved 23 December 2014.