QCW-05: A compact Chinese submachine gun

QCW-05 or Type 05 is Chinese submachine gun QCW-05 or Type 05 is Chinese submachine gun
QCW-05 or Type 05 is Chinese submachine gun (Photo: XY)

In the early 2000s, the Chinese army needed a compact submachine gun. The answer came in the form of the QCW-05, also called Type 05. This submachine gun was designed and developed to replace the aging Type 85 and other obsolete submachine guns. It is currently in service with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and Chinese law enforcement forces. This article will take a comprehensive look at the QCW-05 submachine gun, including its design, features, and specifications.

Design and Features

The QCW-05 submachine gun’s unique design sets it apart from other submachine guns. Its designation translates as a “Silenced Assault Gun, 2005”, hinting at its intended purpose. The gun looks like a scaled-down version of the QBZ-95, the standard-issue assault rifle of the Chinese army. However, the QCW-05’s internal design is different from the QBZ-95.

The original QCW-05 was designed for military use. It is a blowback-operated weapon with a bullpup layout. The bullpup layout means the gun’s action is located behind the trigger, allowing for a shorter overall length without sacrificing barrel length. This makes the QCW-05 compact and easy to handle in close quarters. The gun is chambered for the new Chinese 5.8×21 mm ammunition. Some sources claim that it uses armor-piercing rounds as its primary ammunition.

The QCW-05 is a personal defense weapon similar to the FN P90 and HK MP7. It is designed to provide a compact and lightweight option for troops in close-quarters combat. The gun’s design is optimized for urban warfare, where soldiers may have to fight in tight spaces.

Submachine gun FN P90 chambered in 5.7 mm
A shooter aiming with FN P90 submachine gun chambered in 5.7 mm caliber (Photo: Vickers)

Safety and Fire Modes

The QCW-05 has a safety/fire mode selector switch above the pistol grip. The switch has three settings: single shot, three-round burst, and full-auto. The gun also has an additional automatic grip safety. The grip safety ensures that the gun can only be fired when held correctly. This feature adds an extra layer of safety to the gun, ensuring it will not accidentally discharge.

Magazines and Sights

The Type 05 submachine gun is fed from four-row magazines that hold 50 rounds. The magazines are compatible with other Chinese firearms that use the 5.8×21 mm cartridge, such as the QSZ-92 pistol and the QBZ-95 assault rifle. This allows for better logistics and compatibility between weapons systems.

The gun comes with iron sights built into the carrying handle. The sights are designed for use at short to medium ranges, with a range of effective fire between 150 to 200 meters. However, the gun is also compatible with optical sights, which can be mounted on the built-in Picatinny rail.


QCW-05 with suppressor attached
QCW-05 with a suppressor attached (Photo: XY)

The QCW-05 submachine gun is compatible with a detachable suppressor. When the suppressor is attached, it requires special subsonic ammunition. This makes the weapon much quieter than when fired without the suppressor. Using a suppressor can also reduce the muzzle flash and recoil of the weapon, making it easier to handle and reducing the risk of detection.

Production and Service

The QCW-05 was developed in the early 2000s to meet the Chinese army’s requirement for a compact submachine gun. This design won the trials and was selected for production. Production commenced in 2005, and the gun is currently in service with the PLA and Chinese law enforcement forces. Special forces, security personnel, and police units use the QCW-05.

PLA soldier shooting from his QCW-05 or Type 05 submachine gun
PLA soldier shooting from his QCW-05 or Type 05 submachine gun (Photo: XY)


The QCQ-05 variant of the QCW-05 lacks a suppressor and can be loaded with either the 5.8×21mm DCV05 subsonic pistol cartridge or the 5.8×21mm DAP92 pistol cartridge. The QCW-05 suppressor can be attached and detached from the QCQ-05, despite the QCQ-05 not having a suppressor.

On the other hand, the JS9 submachine gun is a compact firearm chambered for 9×19 mm ammunition, primarily used by Chinese armed police forces and intended for export to foreign customers. The JS9 shares similarities with the QCW-05 in design but features a Picatinny-type rail instead of a carrying handle. Additionally, the cocking handle of the JS9 has been repositioned to the right side of the receiver. This weapon feeds from 30-round magazines compatible with the Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine gun. The JS9 has an effective range of 100 to 150 meters and can be outfitted with a detachable suppressor. Unlike the QCW-05, the JS9 lacks a carrying handle and instead features a Picatinny rail that can be mounted on top.

Technical specifications

Country of origin:People’s Republic of China
Manufacturer:China South Industries Group
Entered service:2005
Caliber:5.8 x 21 mm
Weight (unloaded):2.2 kg
Length:500 mm
Length (with folded stock):
Barrel length:250 mm
Muzzle velocity:150 m/s
Cyclic rate of fire:400 rpm
Practical rate of fire:50 – 150 rpm
Magazine capacity:50 rounds
Sighting range:?
Range of effective fire:150 – 200 m
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