Military intelligence can be equal parts reporting what you don’t see in addition to reporting what you do.

Look at the featured photo above in today’s intel report; what’s missing? Hearing protection. It doesn’t appear that anyone is wearing hearing protection. Why might that be? And why are they standing on Bosa-type stability balls?

My guess is that this is notional training without life rounds. The goal here is to work out the fundamentals of breath control and alignment. They’d be asking for trouble if they were firing live rounds off of the Bosa balls.

The QBZ-191 Rifle

The QBZ-191 (Qīngwǔqī Bùqiāng Zìdòng, 191) is a Chinese assault rifle that represents a significant evolution in the modern small arms development of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). It was first revealed to the public in 2019 during a military parade, signaling its adoption and future role within the PLA’s infantry units. The QBZ-191 is intended to replace the older QBZ-95 family of firearms. It represents a departure from the bullpup configuration of its predecessors, adopting a more conventional layout that aligns with global trends in small arms design.

Here are some key features and specifications of the QBZ-191:

  1. Caliber and Ammunition: The rifle is chambered for the 5.8x42mm DBP10 cartridge, a caliber unique to China and designed to balance range, accuracy, and terminal performance.
  2. Design: Unlike the bullpup QBZ-95, the QBZ-191 adopts a traditional rifle layout. This design choice is thought to improve ergonomics, ease of maintenance, and adaptability with various accessories and optics.
  3. Barrel Lengths and Variants: The QBZ-191 is reported to come in different barrel lengths to suit various battlefield roles, including a standard rifle version and a shorter carbine model for operations requiring more compact and maneuverable weapons.
  4. Fire Control and Optics: The rifle is equipped with a full-length Picatinny rail on top of the receiver, allowing for the attachment of a wide range of optics and sighting systems. It also features modular sections on the handguard for additional accessories.
  5. Gas Operation System: It utilizes a short-stroke gas piston system, a reliable and proven mechanism in many modern rifles that offers consistent performance under adverse conditions.
  6. Polymer Components: To reduce weight and enhance soldier endurance, the QBZ-191 incorporates polymer in parts of its construction, such as the stock and handguard, without compromising durability.
  7. Effective Firing Range: 400 m (1312.3 ft)
  8. Rate of Fire: 750 rounds per minute

The QBZ-191 signifies China’s ongoing efforts to modernize its military capabilities, reflecting an understanding of contemporary combat needs and the importance of interoperability with advanced military equipment and tactics. The adoption of this rifle also illustrates China’s self-reliance in arms manufacturing, which can produce a weapon system that meets the specific requirements of its armed forces.