CF-05: An Overview of China’s Helical Magazine Submachine Gun

Regarding firearms, China is known for its extensive range of products, from assault rifles to submachine guns. One such submachine gun is the Chang Feng

Eric Sof

Venezuelan soldiers armed with CF-05 submachine gun
Venezuelan soldiers armed with CF-05 submachine gun (Photo: Ares)

Regarding firearms, China is known for its extensive range of products, from assault rifles to submachine guns. One such submachine gun is the Chang Feng 05, the CF-05. Developed in the early 2000s, this weapon is notable for using a high-capacity helical magazine on top of the receiver. This article will examine the CS/LS06, its features, development history, and military and law enforcement use.

Development

Chongqing ChangFeng Corporation developed the CS/LS06 or CF-05 in response to a request from the Chinese military for a compact firearm. The project began in the mid-1990s, and a prototype called the QC-9 was introduced in 2004. The design was finalized in 2004-2005, and the CF-05 was submitted to the military for consideration alongside other designs.

Despite its submission, the CF-05 was not chosen due to its overly complex design. Instead, the military opted for the QCW-05. However, production of the CF-05 reportedly began in 2005. The senior designer of Chongqing ChangFeng Corporation, Qing Shangsheng, created the CF-05. Shangsheng, who also designed the QSZ-92 pistol, began the project as a private initiative in 1993-1994 but did not bring it to the attention of his factory manager until 1996.

CF-05 submachine gun side view
CF-05 submachine gun side view (Photo: XY)

The CF-05 was initially designed as a prototype for the People’s Liberation Army’s suppressed submachine gun project, which required a firearm chambered in 5.8mm. Early prototypes of the CF-05 had a unique dual-feed system, which included a pistol magazine inserted into the grip and a helical magazine located at the rear of the weapon. This system allowed the shooter to switch to the secondary magazine once the primary one had been depleted to sustain firing.

However, the rear-feed design proved inconvenient regarding ergonomics, and firearms experts felt that the rear feed-hole at the weapon’s rear was aesthetically displeasing. As a result, the design was changed during testing. Ultimately, the CF-05 lost out to Jianshe Corporation’s QCW-05 proposal in 2001.

After being defeated by the QCW-05, Changfeng prioritized export sales. They recognized the need to create a 9mm version of their weapon to achieve this goal, later named the QC-9. The development team made several improvements to the design, focusing on ergonomics and reliability.

The second prototype featured a helical cylinder that had been relocated to the top and a new telescoping stock. The third prototype improved upon the stock further. However, during testing, the team abandoned the secondary feed option due to the potential for human error to introduce malfunctions during field operations.

In March 2004, the final prototype, which had eliminated the secondary feed function, underwent a review process. The design was finalized in May 2005 and received the internal designation CF-05. The export effort began in 2006, and the weapon was given the production designation CS/LS06.

Features

The most unusual feature of the CF-05 is its use of a high-capacity helical magazine on top of the receiver. This magazine holds 50 rounds, significantly increasing capacity compared to traditional submachine guns. The helical glide grooves at the inner walls of the magazine, combined with the rotating central follower, cause the cartridges to follow a helical track inside the cylinder. This design allows 50 rounds of ammunition to be stored in a relatively compact package, making the weapon highly effective in delivering a volume of fire.

CF-05 with flashlight and holographic sight
CF-05 with a flashlight and holographic sight (Photo: XY)

The magazine’s location on top of the receiver allows for the overall size of the weapon to be reduced. The CF-05 is a blowback-operated weapon with a telescoping shoulder stock. The fire mode selector is located on the left side of the receiver, and spent cases are ejected to the right side. The CF-05 has a threaded barrel and can mount a silencer, as well as other accessories such as a tactical flashlight, laser pointer, and optical sight.

Secondary Feed Capability

The prototype of the CF-05, the QC-9, had a secondary feed capability with a magazine inserted into the pistol grip. This magazine used standard QSZ-92 pistol magazines. When the main helical magazine was out of ammo, the shooter could switch to the secondary magazine inside the pistol grip to sustain firing. However, this feature was deleted after testing due to its inconvenience for field operations.

Iron Sights

The CF-05 has simple iron sights with three range settings for 50, 100, and 150 meters. The claimed effective range of fire is around 150 meters, although the actual effective range is about 100 meters.

Variants

The CF-05 submachine gun comes in several variants, each with its intended market. One version is chambered for the 5.8×21 mm ammunition and is intended for domestic markets. Another variant, chambered for the 9×19 mm Parabellum, is designed for domestic and export markets.

The QC-9 was the original prototype for the CF-05 and included a secondary feed capability, with a magazine inserted into the pistol grip. It utilized standard QSZ-92 pistol magazines. However, this feature was ultimately removed due to concerns about its potential impact on field operations.

CF-05 featured in GTA San Andreas
CF-05 featured in GTA San Andreas (Photo: XY)

While the CF-05 features some design elements reminiscent of the Calico submachine guns, such as a helical magazine, it is important to note that this is a new and unique design rather than a direct clone.

Regarding nomenclature, the original submachine gun developed by Changfeng was an early prototype chambered for 5.8x21mm ammunition. The QC-9 was the subsequent 9x19mm Parabellum prototype, later finalized as the CF-05. The finalized design was given the production designation CS/LS06, and Norinco markets under it for export purposes.

Users

The Chinese military did not choose the CF-05, a Chinese-made firearm. However, it has found use among China’s law enforcement agencies, including their elite counter-terrorist units. In addition, the CF-05 has been exported to other countries, such as Myanmar and Uganda. Myanmar has reportedly acquired a large number of CF-05s, purchasing 100,000 units.

The CF-05 has been acquired by the People’s Police of the People’s Republic of China and the People’s Armed Police. The firearm has also been exported to Uganda, where the Uganda National Police use it. Venezuela’s Presidential Honor Guard and Special Unit for Security and Protection of State Personalities (UESPPE) and the 509 Special Forces Battalion of the Venezuelan Army have acquired the CF-05.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Chang Feng 05 submachine gun, or CF-05, is a unique weapon in the Chinese armory. Despite not being selected by the military due to its overly complicated design, it has found a place in the hands of China’s law enforcement and elite counter-terrorism units. With its high-capacity helical magazine, compact design, and range of accessories, the CF-05 is a versatile and effective submachine gun. While it may not be as well-known as some of its Western counterparts, the CF-05 represents an interesting innovation in submachine guns and a fascinating addition to the history of Chinese firearms development.

Technical specifications

Country of origin:China
Manufacturer:Chongqing ChangFeng Corporation Ltd.
Entered service:2005
Caliber:9 x 19 mm
Weight (unloaded):2.1 kg
Weight (loaded):~ 2.9 kg
Length (stock extended):595 mm
Length (stock retracted):412 mm
Barrel length:250 mm
Muzzle velocity:360 m/s
Cyclic rate of fire:800 rpm
Practical rate of fire:50 – 200 rpm
Magazine capacity:50 rounds
Sighting range:150 m
Range of effective fire:100 m

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