Submachine Guns China SWMP Jan 2015 lead
Top 5 Submachine Guns Used by China's Military and Police

Top 5 Submachine Guns Used by China’s Military and Police

A behind-the-scenes look at China's military and police CQB powerhouses!

Up until the mid-1960s, submachine guns produced in China were copies of foreign designs, such as the 7.62x25mm Type 50 and Type 54, which were licensed copies of the Soviet PPSh-41 and PPS-43, respectively. However, following the political split between the post-Stalin Soviet Union and Maoist China, the latter was left on its own to develop new small arms. The result was a series of 7.62x25mm submachine guns that represented a unique and in some cases very capable Sino-style take on this classic weapon system. This era was represented by the Type 64, Type 79 and Type 85 series of submachine guns.

In the mid-1980s, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) decided to follow the international trend and initiated a research and development program with the purpose of switching to small-caliber, high-velocity ammunition. By 1987, the PLA had selected the 5.8x42mm as the future caliber for its infantry small arms. Following further development, in the late 1990s the PLA adopted a new family of infantry small arms, known collectively as the Type 95 and firing 5.8x42mm ammunition of domestic design. After this changeover, the PLA decided to switch its sidearms to the same bore diameter and developed a new pistol/SMG round that became known as the 5.8x21mm DAP92. This round has a bottlenecked case 21mm long and fires a pointed bullet with a steel core. It’s somewhat similar in concept to the Belgian 5.7x28mm SS190 round, although the Chinese ammunition appears to have less power and range.

At the same time, the People’s Armed Police (PAP) decided to switch its sidearms and future submachine guns to a domestic version of the 9x19mm Luger round, which is known in Chinese service as the 9x19mm DAP92. Since then, most SMGs designed in China have appeared in two chamberings—one in 5.8x21mm to suit the Army and another in 9mm to suit the domestic police and foreign customers. Examples of this new era of modern SMG design include the Type 05 and the Type 06. Read on to learn more about each individual weapon system, including its design, specifications and intended roles.


Type 64

Type 64

Type 64

Despite an emerging new class of assault rifles, submachine guns were still required for some specialized roles. The first such role was special operations, which usually require stealth. As a result, in 1964 the People’s Liberation Army adopted its first indigenous submachine gun, the 7.62x25mm Type 64.

This is a simple blowback-operated weapon that fires from a closed bolt in semi- and full-automatic modes. It features a solid, machined-steel receiver, a flip-up rear sight set for 100 and 200 meters and a downward-folding shoulder stock. The safety lever is similar to that of the Kalashnikov AK, but it has only two settings; a separate firing mode selector is located on the left side of the gun.

Equipped with an integral sound suppressor that encloses a perforated barrel, the Type 64 fires specially designed 7.62x25mm Type 64 ammunition that was based on the 7.62x25mm Tokarev case, but loaded with relatively long and pointed bullets with steel and lead cores. The resulting cartridge was subsonic, thus making it well suited for suppressor use. In case of an emergency, the Type 64 could be used with standard supersonic 7.62x25mm Type 51 ammunition, but the service life of the suppressor degrades noticeably in this case.


  • Caliber: 7.62x25mm Type 64
  • Barrel: 9.6 inches
  • OA Length: 25-33.5 inches
  • Weight: 7.5 pounds (empty)
  • Action: Blowback, closed bolt
  • Capacity: 20, 30
  • Rate Of Fire: 1,000 rpm

Load Comments
  • Queso

    What’s the gun in photo at the top of the page?