Thursday, September 21, 2023

Chinese Norinco QLZ87 (also written QLZ-87) 35x32SR Mag-Fed Automatic Grenade Launcher (AGL) Report by Armament Research Services (ARES): Manpackable/Manportable AGL Packs a Lean, Mean (and High-Explosive) 35mm Punch!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

By David Crane
david (at) defensereview (dot) com

The following article is property of (DR) and is copyrighted material. If you are reading this article on another website other than, please email us the website address/URL (where the unauthorized DR article reprint is located) at defrev (at) gmail (dot) com. Thank you.

Photo(s) Credit: Indian Defence Forum and Armament Research Services (ARES)

August 30, 2014

DefenseReview’s (DR) been a big fan of the Norinco QLZ87 (also written QLZ-87) Automatic Grenade Launcher (AGL) for a long time. Derived/evolved from the W87 AGL, it’s a lightweight manpackable/manportable mag-fed (magazine-fed) AGL with a lot of punch, specifically in the form of 35x32SR DFS87 HE (High Explosive), DFJ87 HEDP (High Explosive, Dual Purpose) and DFN87 HEI (High Explosive Incendiary) rounds, with the DFD87 smoke round for obscure-and-exfil. In our opinion, it’s one of the great infantry weapons, and one of the most interesting.

So, we were very pleasantly surprised when we received an email message from Michael Smallwood of Armament Research Services (ARES) about their just-released report on the QLZ-87, written by one Timothy Yan.

Comparable in size to many 7.62mm NATO (7.62x51mm NATO) MMG’s/GPMG’s (Medium Machine Guns/General Purpose Machine Guns), the QLZ87 is significantly more compact and lightweight than the GDOTS MK19 Mod 3 40mm Advanced Grenade Launcher (AGL). This allows Chinese military mobile infantry forces to deploy the QLZ87 as a light support support weapon carried by a single soldier. It can also be pintle-mounted on fast-attack vehicles and jeeps, but the weapon is difficult to reload while moving and the drum magazine’s relatively low capacity (compared to belt-fed weapons) necessitates frequent reloading.

While the W87 utilized a roller-delayed blowback operating mechanism, similar to older Heckler & Koch (HK) rifles, the QLZ87 utilizes a direct-gas-impingement (DGI) operating system, similar to the AR-15/M16/M4/M4A1 Carbine series weapons. The QLZ-87’s drum mag (magazine) capacity is 12 rounds, but top-loading 6 and 9-round box mags are also available.

The Chinese have since developed the Norinco QLB06/QLZ-87B 35mm AGL, which features an AR-15/M16 Rifle / M4/M4A1 Carbine-type carrying handle, but DR doesn’t yet have any real info on it.

By the way, just in case you’re wondering what the “QLZ” stands for, it stands for Qing bing qi, Liu-dan Fa-she-qi, Zi-dong, or “Small Arms, Grenade Launcher, Automatic”.

Click here to read ARES’ QLZ87 AGL report (PDF format).

Company Contact Info:

Armament Research Services (ARES)
Email Contact Page:

© Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without receiving permission and providing proper credit and appropriate links.

Related Articles:

South Korea to Field First Man-Portable Airburst Grenade Launcher Weapon for Mobile Infantry: Meet the Daewoo K11 20mm/5.56mm Dual-Caliber Airburst Weapon

Airtronic USA China Lake Multi-Shot Pump-Action 40mm Grenade Launcher System for Special Operations

Milkor USA M32 MGL 40mm Multi-Shot Grenade Launcher Range Session

Marines Get New Six-Shot 40mm Grenade Launcher: Meet the M32 MGL.

Milkor MGL-140 Six-Shot Multiple Grenade Launcher Demo at Blackwater

New Milkor MGL-140/MEI Hyper-Lethal 40mm Combo/Weapon System for Infantry

New Corner Shot 40™ 40mm Grenade Launcher: ‘Around-the-Corner’ Force Multiplier

Chinese Norinco QLZ87 (also written QLZ-87) 35x32SR Mag-Fed Automatic Grenade Launcher (AGL) Report by Armament Research Services (ARES): Manpackable/Manportable AGL Packs a Lean, Mean (and High-Explosive) 35mm Punch! by

About David Crane

David Crane started publishing online in 2001. Since that time, governments, military organizations, Special Operators (i.e. professional trigger pullers), agencies, and civilian tactical shooters the world over have come to depend on Defense Review as the authoritative source of news and information on "the latest and greatest" in the field of military defense and tactical technology and hardware, including tactical firearms, ammunition, equipment, gear, and training.

Check Also

Mantis X10 Elite, Blackbeard/BlackbeardX and Laser Academy Home/Indoor Dry Fire Training Systems for Keeping Your Shooting Skills Sharp!

By David Crane david (at) defensereview (dot) com August 31, 2023 Last updated on 9/03/23 …