Norinco Type 97

I am a huge fan of the AR15.

Here in Canada, however, ARs are considered a “restricted” firearm, meaning mine can only be transported between my residence and an “approved” gun range. Years ago I placed a pre-order for an AR-180B (which, for reasons that are also unclear is “unrestricted” in Canada), but delivery took so long I ended up cancelling before they arrived (and regretted it ever since).

Very recently (for the second time) a Norinco Bullpup rifle hit the market up here, a civilian version of the Chinese QBZ-95, except it’s chambered for .223/5.56mm and accepts STANAG magazines – oh, and it IS unrestricted.

Not missing the boat this time. I ordered mine right away.

Norinco Type 97

It arrived quickly and I was immediately impressed with the rifle. Those familiar with Norinco products have varrying opinions, but it’s been my experience that they typically suffer from a relatively poor finish (cheap parkerization or bluing) and crappy looking furniture. This rifle exhibited none of that.

Norinco Type 97

One of the chief complaints I’ve heard about the rifle is with magazine compatibility. So I bundled up the rifle, and a selection of AR Magazines and a variety of ammo and raced off to the range to try it out real quick.

Norinco Type 97

I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked, so approximately 60 rounds through my AR and the Type 97 at 100 meters to check for function, and to see how straight it shoots and if there are any issues.

Norinco Type 97

Magazines WERE an issue. LaBelle 5/30s worked fine, Armalite 5/20 got stuck before it was fully seated so I didn’t push it, Colt 5/20 seemed fine. Will experiment more with that in the comfort of my own home. Time for some shooting.

Range was fairly busy and cease fires were infrequent. I put about 20 rounds down range at a used target while waiting, and the rifle shot just fine, throwing the brass forward at about 2:00.

When I did get a chance to hang clean paper at 100 I did 5 rounds at a time through the AR, then the T97, working back and forth every 5 rounds until I burned through 30 rounds of ammo.

Norinco Type 97

This is the AR15s target – this was straight group shooting (aiming at the centre of the target) and with no spotting scope to tell where they were going. Not scientific, but ok for a quick trip to the range.

Norinco Type 97

The T97 has fairly standard iron sights, and I held the front sight post on the bottom of the centre circle.

The rounds landed on paper however, and in some semblance of a group. I will have to use this as an excuse to get more range time.

The short version? I like this little rifle.


  1. Merle says:

    Restricted & not restricted – not a lot of logic involved, is there?


  2. Mugwug says:

    No… when politicians are the ones who decide which firearms are “evil” and need tighter controls you inevitably run into problems.

  3. wayancadua says:

    Good info.
    I have been using the C-Products Defense LAR-15 10 round mags. They are cheap and work flawlessly in my Type 97. I picked up 5 of them for about $120.00

  4. I don’t mind the usability flaws, but I really want optics on mine. Can’t wait until the guys start shipping their new aluminum rail mounts. I think a 3X fixed or 2-7 optic would make this a potent little coyote rifle.

  5. HTC says:

    Have you seen the rail syste, Richco sports is selling?

    Minimal modification and it has a forward vertical rail to mount optics on.

  6. Merle says:

    Hi Marcus,

    This should prove interesting. What country are you from? I didn’t think the Chinese hired foreign workers.


  7. Simon says:

    When it comes to magazines, it seems to come down to each individual rifle. Some people say that LAR, PCV, etc, magazines work just fine, others say they get stuck or are difficult to remove. It’s a pain because it means that if you want to stock up on magazines, you have to test each one to see if it works first. Other than that, this seems like a great choice for an entry-mid level rifle.

  8. Soldier says:

    Interesting! I just took my new T97 FTU to the range today. The mag came unlocked every time; thus, causing missing the next round to be chamber! Grrrr. Sounds like it is very brand dependent which one will work with my T97

  9. Mugwug says:

    Whoops…missed this comment.

    Yeah, I’ve found the mags are hit and miss on my T97 and others. Not only that, but same brand magazines appear to work or not work based on production runs….irritating. My AR15 takes ALL mags, but the T97 is picky.

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