Chinese CS/LS2: A Modern Bullpup SMG with no Redeeming Qualities

This the fairly modern Chinese CS/LS2 – the 9mm Parabellum export model of the 5.8x21mm QCW-05 submachine gun. It takes most of its design cues form the QBZ-95 rifle, as you can see form the grip layout. It is a bullpup, with a right-ride ejection port that cannot be swapped. It is a bullpup style design, with the magazine behind the trigger, and it fires from an open bolt with both semiautomatic and full auto selector options.

The receiver is made of aluminum, contributing to a quite light gun. The bolt is also relatively light, resulting in a high cyclic rate and more felt recoil than many 9mm SMGs. The bolt is slamming into the rear of the receiver on each shot, which causes a lot of movement in the gun while shooting. The iron sights are a removable option on an integral pica tinny rail, which is a good thing – they are awful. The same minuscule rear aperture that the QBZ rifle has. The suppressor is not particularly efficient.

I have no prejudice against Chinese small arms – Chinese AKs were/are extremely well made. But this modern bullpup family is really pretty mediocre in all its forms.

Many thanks to Movie Armaments Group in Toronto for the opportunity to showcase their AR-10 rifles for you – check them out on Instagram to see many of the guns in their extensive collection!




  1. Since rise of PRC and its armed force PLA, there has been at least two new generations of small arms designers in China. You can trace this on weapons they created. Also, there is likely more than one team. As much as I am unimpressed with QBZ95 (did have civilian version in my hand) and its derivatives (such as this POS), I have a degree of appreciation for QBZ03

    At this time Norinco has completely new generation of rifles in works which somewhat resembles SCAR.

    • I assume that they were shooting for a similar manual of arms with the Type 95.

      One thing I notice is that I’m not sure how familiar the small arms designers are with modern bullpups or how much exposure their curriculum has with other modern small arms.

      You’d expect that with the resources available, they’d be able to build up a decent reference collection whether first-hand or through gray/black-market means (just look at all the modern weapons that have shown up in the ME wars in the last decade. The Type 95 and JS seem to be products of their time (much like the original versions of the SAR-21, G36, and AUG with their built-in optics).

      As for the ridiculous iron sight. It looks like it was built to mimic that on the original 5.8mm QBZ-05 which has a carry handle + FAMAS-style charging handle

  2. “The suppressor is not particularly efficient.”
    I must say that layout with magazine in grip (Uzi-like) seems to result in compact enough package. Using bull-pup might result in bit better barrel-to-overall length ratio, but means all drawbacks typical for bull-pup – just to name one in darkness it is easier to match magazine to its well in Uzi-like than in this one.
    Honestly, I did not grasp idea behind this design – if you design suppressed 9×19 Parabellum weapon, using shorter barrel rather than longer make more sense, as it result in lower muzzle-velocity. Surely you can slow down bullet by gas venting like in STEN Mk.IIS but it would result in longer weapon.

    “high cyclic rate”
    I want to note, PRC produced suppressed sub-machine gun, called Type 64
    which had high Rate-of-Fire around 1300 rpm. But they apparently were not happy about that, as its replacement called Type 85
    had more typical Rate-of-Fire about 800 rpm.

  3. Would this bull-pup lose a nighttime mobster movie vehicular spray fight against a Thompson M1921? I mean having both parties shooting from speeding cars…

  4. It doesn’t even explode when you throw it like any other Tediore would.

    In all seriousness though, I have to wonder how well the 5.8 chambering would compare to the P-90. It appears that it would have significantly more conventional ergonomics for operation and handling, though it’s non-ambidextrous and quite tall with the magazine installed, which to me is a huge detriment trying to operate it either inside a vehicle or transitioning out of a vehicle.

  5. I kept waiting for an empty to hit Ian’s cap brim. Seems to me it could have been laid out with downward ejection, allowing ambidextrous shooting.

  6. Interesting their choice of an utterly unique caliber (5.8mm) This suggests the Chinese are fearing revolt and want all their weapons to use a totally proprietary caliber only available to the military. Simply barring civilians from possessing guns that chamber “military” calibers (as in Mexico) isn’t enough.

    • I agree. The amount of wartime surplus guns hidden in China gets ridiculous. I must mention that this includes warlord era rifles, captured Japanese weapons, imported/captured American weapons, some Czech machine guns, and of course lots of old Russian items. Most old Chinese rifles from the warlord era will fire 8×57 IS, which is still available for hunters (unless hunting is totally banned) and will at least out-range modern assault rifles. Don’t count on “military caliber ban” logic to disarm crooks! Did I mess up?

    • No. China has all the resources, and the intention, to manufacture their ammunition by themselves. Therefore, they were free to create their own calibre, and arguably the 5.8 is superior to 5.56 and 5.45.

      • ” own calibre, and arguably the 5.8 is superior to 5.56 and 5.45.”
        I want to note that 5,8×42 is closer to experimental 6×45 SAW from early 1970s
        than 5,56×45 NATO or 5,45×39. This is hint that PRC might wanted cartridge for squad automatic weapon, which could also be used in rifles unlike USA or USSR where usage in rifles was primary objective. But that is just guess.

        • I suspect you are correct – they thought of it as an LMG cartridge that wasn’t too powerful to be readily controllable in a rifle.

          That isn’t a bad way to approach a new squad primary cartridge/weapon system, regardless of what one may think of this (or any other) implementation of the concept.

      • Whether or not one agrees with the design decisions the Chinese made with their new cartridges, and whether or not they are “superior” or not in comparison to some unstated metric, the fact is that the Chinese sure THINK their cartridges are superior to what is out there, because there is LITERALLY no logical reason for them to design, develop, and adopt a weird proprietary chambering just for giggles. Not even “keeps guns and ammunition out of the hands of rebels” is that convincing an argument, as the Chinese military would be the primary source of arms and ammunition in the critical early stages of any rebellion *anyway*.

        Therefore, they either feel there is a logical (almost certainly performance related) advantage these rounds give them over OTS choices, *or* they made this decision for reasons of national pride (and do not discount that as a “logical” motive in many cases — when the program is successful, “national pride” can translate into useable, practical, and valuable, political capital.)

        • Everything about this SMG seems intended to be one thing: easy to make using existing QBZ-95 assembly lines. Even the ammo uses the same caliber bullet molds as the rifle ammo. That’s also how the USSR ended up using the same caliber for both pistols and rifles, and why its assault rifle ended up doing the same.

          What it tells us is that they wanted to have a full line of products to sell, but they don’t actually consider excellent SMGs to be decisive weapons in modern warfare. Better that it have the same training drill as the rifle your troops already have, and share as many of its parts as possible.

    • I think every kind of firearm is banned there, not regarding the caliber.
      Most famous case of military calibre ban for civilian arms is Italy.

    • It may also indicate concern about petty corruption — You’re less likely to have a lot of ammo getting sold out the back door of the warehouse if nothing but your own army’s rifles can shoot it.

    • To the best of my understanding, and what little information is available to research, the specific reason China went to the 5.8 round was to be able to defeat US body armor. It was developed over twenty years, with much effort put forth with an eye towards future conflicts with the United States.

      The reason for multiple 5.8 variants is simple. Commonality between tooling, much as US did with .30, USSR with 7.62, Nazis with 7.9, etc.

      As to the P90 comment, it happens to be one of those rare designs that gets it right the first time, at least in terms of its basic layout, magazine, size, and firepower. Could it still be further refined? Absolutely. But it remains, and its semi auto civilian version, one of the best subgun/PCCs available. Many agencies attest to it. And in my mind, it is a direct descendant of the PPSh, albeit with better handling characteristics overall. Or if you will, a much more user friendly M1 Carbine. Fills the identical role in any case.

  7. A better comparison than the MP-5(essentially a closed-bolt self-loading carbine using pistol ammunition) would be the MAC-10/11 family. Overhung open-bolt, high rate of fire, short OAL, not particularly ergonomic (it’s a box in pretty much all respects), uncomfortable “stock”, suppressor strongly recommended for all shooting. (Yes, I’ve used MACs in both .45 and 9mm.)

    Regarding the “stock”, the MAC’s retracting “stock” was actually intended to be held against the bicep with the elbow bent, thus firing from a Hollywood-style “assault” position. In my experience, this was about as uncomfortable as firing the little monster from the shoulder and only about half as accurate. Not that the MAC’s accuracy was anything to write home about, any way you used it.

    I suspect this beast’s stock may actually be intended for a similar stance; note the extremely small dimensions of the buttplate, especially vertically-speaking. Far too small for a comfortable fit to he shoulder, but just about “right” for being “couched” in he crook of the elbow, hard up against the bicep.

    As to the suppressor, in the slow-motion sequence I noticed it bouncing up and down slightly with each shot. Since the bullets were not coming out through the baffles, destroying them in the process, I can only assume that the suppressor was well attached to the barrel and it was the barrel doing the “bouncing”. This can’t do anything good for the accuracy.

    If the rifle is similar in internal structure, I wouldn’t expect any miracles of accuracy out of it, either. Or much of anything else.



    • ” This can’t do anything good for the accuracy. ”
      Wiggly barrel?
      This raises question what designer(s?) of that weapon wanted to achieve? Unless they wanted increase vertical spread such trait make no sense. Either that or they were making it in extreme hurry, using ready design at hand. Otherwise how can you explain choice of bull-pup layout providing relatively long barrel and implementation of spread-increasing features?

      • I’m reminded of the Darne machine gun used by the French AF between the wars. While Darne is noted for their high-quality shotguns, the MG was designed to be manufactured as cheaply as possible, with durability very much a secondary factor. This was on the grounds that the French AF figured that their aircraft would have a short service life in combat, so a highly-durable MG was not needed.

        (In fact, given better manufacturing standards, the Darne could have been one of the first serious ground forces GPMGs, but that’s another story.)

        The impression I get from the new Red Chinese rifle and SMG is that they are mainly designed for rapid mass production, to arm the burgeoning PLA. As such, they will be used by conscripts with training most likely significantly below Western standards. (I’m including ex-WARPAC countries in the latter category here, BTW.)

        Which means that first of all they have to be simple to operate; ideally, no more complicated than an AK.

        Secondly, fine accuracy is probably considered less critical than volume of fire, as they will likely be used in traditional Chinese tactics, meaning “throw thousands of infantry at the target firing lots of bullets”. Such tactics work very well if you have the numbers to soak up the casualties and don’t much care how many KIAs and WIAs you end up with in the process. Gilt-edged accuracy is fundamentally useless if the shooter is not trained to use it, and other than actual snipers I doubt the PLA bothers to do so. The USMC concept of “every man a rifleman” does not compute with their tactical doctrines.

        Thirdly, the second factor leads to an extreme case of “designed limited service life”. If you’re anticipating having literally millions of troops and expending them like ammunition in your war, there’s no real need for a rifle or SMG to be really durable. You likely won’t be picking up too many off the battlefield after you’ve lost a bunch of casualties. And as for reconditioning “used” ones for issue to new troops, if the design can be mass-produced cheaply enough, just handing each new PBI a brand-new rifle wrapped in plastic makes more sense, both logistically and economically.

        You can tell a lot about an army’s concept of war by the weapons they choose to fight it with. Horses for courses, as the old saying goes.



        • Human wave attacks fail against one thing if we assume no tanks, trenches, land mines, or planes: a large battery of field guns loaded with canister.

          • On the other hand, if they’re preceded by artillery fire to neutralize support arty and etc. on the other side, and then the “horde” comes over the ridge, they not only stand a good chance of success, they’re actually very cost-effective if, as stated previously, you don’t care about the casualties you take.

            The Red Chinese aren’t stupid. If they’re going to fight a war to gain something economically, they’re not going to bankrupt themselves doing it.

            When all’s said and done, a company of infantry is still a lot cheaper than even one MBT.



        • “You can tell a lot about an army’s concept of war by the weapons they choose to fight it with. Horses for courses, as the old saying goes.”
          Wait, now I am extremely confused. I thought this weapon firing 9×19 Parabellum cartridge was designed as export product. Or it is not?

          • The JS-9 or CS/LS2 is specifically for export, but it’s a 9mm adaptation from the original 5.7x21mm QCQ-05/QCW-05 used by the Chinese military.
            The main external difference is that the 9mm export version has a M1913 rail and left-side charging handle, while the military version has a top charging handle under the integral carry handle.

            A lazy approach to caliber conversion is probably why the bolt is so much lighter than a usual 9mm SMG bolt — being a small-caliber, high-velocity cartridge of a kind with FN’s 5.7×28 and HK’s 4.7×30, and yet less powerful than either of those, the 5.8×21 should have significantly reduced impulse, and run well with a lighter bolt. I suspect it would be much nicer to shoot with such a cartridge, and I think the export conversion might have been more technically successful for .380 ACP or 9×18, but there may well be more market for a rough-shooting SMG in a “proper” caliber than a pleasant gun in a “weak” caliber.

          • “lazy approach to caliber conversion is probably why the bolt is so much lighter than a usual 9mm SMG bolt”
            This is hint that it was made in hurry. I suspect what might actually happen.
            PRC sold other arms to someone, he tell “can you sell 9×19 SMG to us?”, but they have not such weapon, so they summoned designers of QCW-05 to do so and quickly. And thus this weapon was created.

  8. Can you look at the ags30 or Yak minigun? Those two firearms are hard to find pictures of here in the West. Besides I find both to be interesting weapons.

      • Yes, and the 12.7 x 108mm YakB is hardly a “minigun”. It neatly sits on the line between “heavy machine gun” and “automatic cannon”.



        • From Russian point-of-view YakB is machine gun, as it caliber is below 20 mm and it uses energy from powder charge to cycle.

        • Continuing YakB-12,7 was designed for helicopter, mainly to attack ground targets which do not need “treatment” with missiles, note that Soviet Union dropped usage of 12,7-mm machine guns in combat aeroplanes yet in 1950s, and concluding 23 mm to be minimum. Curiously it also applied to cargo planes, see for example tail guns of An-8 (Camp in NATO parlance).
          Closest Soviet equivalent of Minigun is GShG-7,62

          but it is also self-propelled unlike externally-powered M134.

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