Infantry weapons / Grenade launchers / QLZ87

QLZ87

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Grenade launcher

  • ORIGIN
    China

  • NICKNAMES
    Type 87

  • DESIGNED
    Mid to late 1980's

  • DESIGNER
    Norinco

  • PRODUCTION
    Early 1990's - present

  • PRODUCERS
    China - Norinco

  • QUANTITY
    Unknown

  • UNIT COST
    Unknown

  • CHARACTERISTICS
    Very light and man portable
    Small magazine size for support applications
    No dual purpose ammunition available

Introduction

The QLZ-87 is grenade launcher of Chinese origin. It was developed in the 1980's and derived from the experimental W-87. The combination of a personal weapon and high velocity grenades is unique. This indicates that portability was favored over firepower.

Design

The QLZ-87 is blowback operated weapon with the barrel and receiver together forming a long cylinder. A drum magazine is inserted below, the pistol grip is located on the right, a rubber butt pad is fitted and an optical sight is fitted. The 35mm high velocity grenades were specifically developed for this weapon. The crew served version adds a lightweight tripod.

Firepower

The QLZ-87 fires 35mm grenades from 6, 9 or 15 round drum magazines. From the shoulder it is used semi-automatically since the 500 rpm automatic fire only makes sense when tripod mounted. The maximum range is 600 m from the shoulder and 1.75 km on a tripod. Unlike most Western high velocity grenade The AP round penetrates up to 80mm steel and the HE round has a fragmentation range of 9 meters. These figures are better than the US 40mm dual purpose grenades individually, but they are not dual purpose.

Users

The QLZ-87 has been adopted by Chinese forces and has been exported to several nations. The QLZ-87 has been supplemented by the belt fed QLZ-04 grenade launcher which is a more capable alternative in the crew served and vehicle mounted role.

Variants

QLZ-87

QLZ-87 'light': Standard version of the QLZ-87. Man portable and normally fired from the bipod or alternatively from the shoulder. Usually fitted with 6 round magazine and fired semi-automatic only.
QLZ-87 'crew served': Crew served version of QLZ-87 which mounts the standard version on a light tripod. Usually fitted with 15 round magazine and fired fully automatic.

TypeGrenade launcher
Caliber37x32mm Chinese
Magazine6, 9, 12, 15 round drum magazine
OperationGas operated, blowback
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire480 rpm
Barrel length?
Rifling?
Muzzle velocity190 - 200 m/s
StockFixed
Length970 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight12 kg empty with sight, 20 kg with tripod
SightsOptical sight
RemarksFixed bipod, optional tripod

W-87

The Type W87 was an experimental weapon that led to the design of the QLZ-87. Was produced in small numbers. The W87 is easily identified by its fixed wooden stock, carrying handle, large slotted muzzle brake and rear and low mounted pistol grip. Also a larger tripod is fitted when used as a crew served weapon. Due to the lower muzzle velocity the maximum range is 1.5 km.

  • Specifications:
  • W87
TypeGrenade launcher
Caliber37x32mm Chinese
Magazine6 or 9 round box magazine, 12 round drum magazine
OperationGas operated, blowback
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire400 rpm
Barrel length?
Rifling?
Muzzle velocity170 m/s
StockFixed
Length?
Width?
Height?
Weight12 kg empty, 20 kg with optional tripod
SightsOptical sight
RemarksFixed bipod, optional tripod

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