Chinese Type 50 PPSh: Founding “Gun City” in Manchuria

One of the first new weapons adapted and used by the Chinese Peoples’ Liberation Army after the Communist victory in the Chinese civil war was the Type 50, a copy of the Soviet PPSh-41. The story of its manufacture begins at the Japanese occupied Mukden Arsenal. It was briefly occupied by the Soviets in 1945 before coming under control of the CCP. It was a huge manufacturing complex at the time, making artillery, small arms, ammunition, and more. A Nationalist bombing raid in 1949 led to the production being distributed among three separate smaller facilities, and the small remote town of Bei’an was chosen to become the new small arms factory site.

The town became so heavily focused on weapons manufacture that it gained the nickname of “Gun City”. The factory was formally named #626, and given the cover name of Qinghua Tool Company. It initially began with production of the Type 38 Arisaka, Type 24 Mauser (the Chiang Kai Shek rifle), the M1 Carbine (a failed project), and the Type 50 copy of the PPSh. In the spring of 1951 in response to UN advances northward in Korea, production was ordered to scale up on the Type 50, to 7500-9000 per month. This took a couple months to achieve, but in June 1951 the first large shipment of the guns left the factory, and by December 1953 a total of 358,000 had been made. At that point, production shifted to the Type 54, a copy of the PPS-43.

The Type 50 is a close copy of the Russian Shpagin, but differs in a couple details. The Chinese used a rear aperture sight, and the sights were placed slightly farther forward than on Russian guns. They are also generally very well made – better than most Russia wartime examples.

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1 Comment

  1. I have first hand knowledge of the PPSh-41 continuing in rear-guard service into the 1980’s in the USSR.
    Wikipedia also incorrectly states that the drum mag was not compatible w/ the Type 50. Guess I need to do some Wiki edits. Thanks Ian and FW community.

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