QBZ-191 service rifle family


EdgeOfEcho

Junior Member
Registered Member
I sold my HK416 (civie version) before they got banned in Canada and I still miss it. Yes, the recoil was a bitch (and it's heavy.) But I'd rather deal with that than the inherent reliability problems of a DI system. I've had failures on DI ARs but I've never had a failure on any piston system (HK, SIG, AK) that was caused by the gun itself. My only failures on the 416 were due to the aftermarket magazine, which I stopped using, or the occasional dud primer. I actually stopped bothering to even clean my gun, because it was pointless. And we're not even talking about HK's barrel life, which is practically infinite.

The fact is that most militaries trust the piston-system for a good reason, despite the cost of higher recoil and weight. The most important metric when it comes to firearms is reliability, much more than speed. Americans have a bias towards DI, but a lot of its own warfighters still admit that it can never be as reliable as pistons. You can't be pushing hot gases and fouling in the receiver and expect it to be as reliable as a piston. It's just physics.

With that said, I'll easily admit that any DI AR is a lot more fun to shoot than the 416, because DI feels like a laser by comparison. There's barely any recoil, which is especially important when you only weigh 160lbs like me. My 416 would literally be pushing me back on my heels even with good posture. And my forearms and shoulders would kill me after every range session because it's heavy. The learning curve on a piston system is much higher, but that also forces you to be a better shooter and focus on the fundamentals. I'd still pick piston systems over DI any day.


IMHO, 1-man IPSC-type competions are pointless for infantry/SOFs, it's a waste of taxpayer bought ammo. They could have given them simunition or even paintballs and made them plan and execute a force-on-force operation against each other.

100% agree with you. I have put down some rounds through AR-15s and I have a G36 (same piston system as HK416) and my experience is the same as yours (live Canada as well).

DI AR-15s are extremely soft shooting and very light, the recoil is noticeably smaller than a piston AR or G36. My AR-15 is a 16 inch model and my G36 is the 18 inch barrel, so G36 weighs more than AR-15 and it still recoils' more.

Started owning and shooting guns almost a decade ago and as I get more experienced what I look for in a gun has definitely changed over the years.

Now, I'd rate reliability as the top 1 consideration. If the gun can shoot every time I pull the trigger, and it eats all the ammo I can give it under any type of situation (even when there is dirt in the magazine), and can still perform consistently after putting it through a couple hundred rounds in one sitting, that will be a good gun. On the surface this may not seem like a harsh requirement, but surprisingly a lot of guns cannot consistently do that in the field.

In addition to being able to shoot consistently, another aspect of reliability I'd consider as key is how easy it is to clear a jam. Although rare, I've had a experience where a poor quality bullet casing gets stuck in the chamber and it is impossible to get out with a knife (actually broke the tip of my knife). Luckily it was a SKS so I can grab the charging handle on the bolt and smack the living f**k out of it and helped to clear the jam on the spot. If that's a AR-15, the location and shape of the charging handle will not allow me to do that.

After reliability, imo, the second most important factor to a gun is overall ergonomics. This includes not only the location of fire select/safety, magazine release, bolt release, but also the overall profile/size of the gun and its weight. What I have found over the years is that overall profile of the gun is really important! Tar-21 is arguably a better made gun compared to Type 97, but its overall bulkiness and awkward profile makes it very difficult to handle compared to the slim profile of Type 97, and type 97 just shoots so much more comfortably than a Tar-21. I have similar complaints about the G36 as well. It is a nice gun, but it is super bulky as well, and it is simply awkward to handle. Thus, having a compact and slim design for the overall profile is just as important as having the fire selector/mag release/bolt release at the right spot. It is not easy to design a gun that is comfortable to shoot all day long!

The 3rd consideration becomes modularity, basically how easy it is to swap out parts, or make modifications to the gun.

The 4th consideration is overall cost of the gun, I think being valued appropriately is important. There is no need to over-engineer a basic piece of kit, being cheap to produce and offer the bang for the buck is a lot more important than the pointless pursuit of performance while ignoring how much it costs to produce the gun.

Performance of the gun (accuracy and penetration power) is very relevant, but that is another topic in of it self and I am not too familiar with these topics so will offer no discussion here.
 

ChongqingHotPot92

Junior Member
Registered Member
I think that I have seen this from https://baike.baidu.com/item/兵器知识/5863987 but it was many years ago so my memory could be bad.View attachment 78051
Can someone tell again why the chamber pressure is so low for the 5.8x42mm round; yet, still capable of producing 3,000 fps muzzle velocity with a round heavier than the 5.56mm SS109? Sorry, Physics and Chem are my most hated courses in high school and college, so I barely passed them.
 

Hickok

Just Hatched
Registered Member
p.s. my (former) 416 :(

it was my baby, so do not talk smack about it
The point is that said the design was nothing revolutionary, and the weird idea that "QBZ-191 is a copy of HK416" which floats around on the internet is absurd. I even said that HK has excellent build quality.
However the idea the DI AR are not not as reliable as piston AR is still not universal truth. It might be true in a very short barrel/gas system setup but rifle length or even mid length gas systems have both proven to be extremely reliable with its refinement over the decades. This is only a test of one but there's a series video of a
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
without any cleaning or lubing, all filmed. The test is still ongoing and he plans to go to 10,000 rounds.
Piston ARs do provide some advantages such as in sustained full auto fire DI gas tubes tend to blow out which stops the firearm from malfunctioning. However this still takes hundreds of rounds of full auto fire and realistically much more than a soldier can carry on his person. They are also might be better for suppressing, and possibly for use underwater (if an DI gas tube is filled with water it could cause catastrophic failure.)
DI AR tend to have less recoil, tend to be slightly more accurate (less moving mass and barrel flex,) tend to be lighter.
Luckily it was a SKS so I can grab the charging handle on the bolt and smack the living f**k out of it and helped to clear the jam on the spot. If that's a AR-15, the location and shape of the charging handle will not allow me to do that.
You can mortar clear a AR15 by grabbing the charging handle and slamming the buttstock onto the floor. In any case an HK416 has the same charging handle so it's no better than a DI AR in that case.
I do agree that side charging handles do have advantages though, it definitely is very easy to clear an SKS when they malfunction (which is rare anyway.)
 

Mohsin77

Senior Member
Registered Member
This is only a test of one but there's a series video of a
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
without any cleaning or lubing, all filmed. The test is still ongoing and he plans to go to 10,000 rounds.

First of all, please don't cite youtube to support your arguments, unless it qualifies as an academically reliable source.

Secondly, the guy in your video (and I've seen a lot of his clips by the way) is completely unreliable on this subject. His entire argument is based on a strawman fallacy. Criticism of DI doesn't require using evidence "from Vietnam." He doesn't tell you about much more recent criticisms, like this report based on actual battle assessments from America's more recent failed wars:

Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!

"A detailed study of the attack by a military historian found that weapons failed repeatedly at a "critical moment" during the firefight on July 13, 2008.... troops in Afghanistan and Iraq has complained that the standard-issue M4 rifles need too much maintenance and jam at the worst possible times."

Reports like this aren't hard to find. I found this source in literally 5 seconds, because there's so many of them. They're all over the place if you know how to look. I've heard a lot of complaints over the last 20 years about DI M4s and their performance in Iraq and Afghanistan. So some fanboy youtube videos aren't even close to the burden of proof you need here.

Also, what you're missing is that if a dry and uncleaned DI AR makes it to 8K rounds without a failure, this event is classified as "pretty incredible" and people post it on youtube. However, when any decent piston gun does the same, no one cares, because that's not even par for the course for a piston. I bet the Taliban still have operational AKs that they haven't cleaned/oiled since they were killing Soviets with them in the 80s. Like I said, I stopped cleaning my 416 because it was pointless. I would never do that with an AR, unless I was making a youtube video, and not actually depending on that rifle to work when I needed it to.
 
Last edited:

TerraN_EmpirE

Tyrant King
Cherry picked reports that are often coached by interviews with a bias.
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!

Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
It’s paywalled but here is a nice fact point.
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!

Sadly the source has since fallen into disrepair. But critical here is most of the malfunctioning was NOT M4 but the piston operating M249. Those M4 that did fail were used BEYOND Their operating life spans. Due to soldiers not trained to understand the operating limitations of their weapons.
Those who died did not die as the result of their weapons but by the enemy. It was the Survivors who complained of jammed weapons.

The biggest failure point on the M4/M16 and indeed all STANAG weapons is now and has been the Magazine. This has been the failure point in dusts testing and even civilian shooters.
Not the internal Piston vs External piston. Operating a fouled weapon without lubricant will poorly effect any weapon or machines. Doing so beyond its lifespan even more so.
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
You decide. Rather than the media version this is the actual army report.

A Civilian shooter will never encounter conditions a military shooter will.
Also as proven by the recent G36 (OMG a Piston gun had a problem!?) Soldiers who have failures in their shooting or training are not above blaming the tool.
Yet so many military use Piston guns? Check the lists units who can choose their own often choose variants of the AR15. Even US SOCOM who looked like they were going to adopt a 5.56x45mm Version of the SCAR dropped it. Why because Colt for the US Army put a heavy barrel in it and the issues they were having ( over shooting the guns) were solved as the new heavy barrel could last longer. Now you could throw the argument that they were getting them for free. Which was true they were, but since then they adopted modified DI patterns in the IURG. The only cases where they adopted pistons in 5.56 have involved short barrels and or Supression.

The Marines HK M27 has had more issues than M4 in fact due to the M855A1 ammo which was solved by adoption of the PMAG.
So why so many piston guns? Designers chose it and armies adopted it because they wanted it. That’s it. The rest of this is just an emotional attachment to an inanimate object. The same kind of cultural debate backed by decades of lobbying and “Good old fashion harmless hate” the same kind of internet experts and bias that gets reiterated over and over again.
So let’s get back to the QBZ191.
 

Hickok

Just Hatched
Registered Member
First of all, please don't cite youtube to support your arguments, unless it qualifies as an academically reliable source.

Secondly, the guy in your video (and I've seen a lot of his clips by the way) is completely unreliable on this subject. His entire argument is based on a strawman fallacy. Criticism of DI doesn't require using evidence "from Vietnam." He doesn't tell you about much more recent criticisms, like this report based on actual battle assessments from America's more recent failed wars:

Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!

"A detailed study of the attack by a military historian found that weapons failed repeatedly at a "critical moment" during the firefight on July 13, 2008.... troops in Afghanistan and Iraq has complained that the standard-issue M4 rifles need too much maintenance and jam at the worst possible times."

Reports like this aren't hard to find. I found this source in literally 5 seconds, because there's so many of them. They're all over the place if you know how to look. I've heard a lot of complaints over the last 20 years about DI M4s and their performance in Iraq and Afghanistan. So some fanboy youtube videos aren't even close to the burden of proof you need here.

Also, what you're missing is that if a dry and uncleaned DI AR makes it to 8K rounds without a failure, this event is classified as "pretty incredible" and people post it on youtube. However, when any decent piston gun does the same, no one cares, because that's not even par for the course for a piston. I bet the Taliban still have operational AKs that they haven't cleaned/oiled since they were killing Soviets with them in the 80s. Like I said, I stopped cleaning my 416 because it was pointless. I would never do that with an AR, unless I was making a youtube video, and not actually depending on that rifle to work when I needed it to.

As mentioned above,
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
that there's not a big difference in reliability between the platforms. 3 weapons were tested, M16A4, M4A1 and M27 (HK416.) Each were assigned 12 magazines. If anything, the M27 (416) performed the worst out of all of them, not being able to use 2 out of the 12 types of magazine and then subsequently having the most overall stoppages almost across the board.

On page 19 you can find the incident rates with M4A1, page 21 you can find it for the M16A4, and on page 22 for M27 (HK416.)

But as mentioned above using PMAGs all the platforms performed much better.
 

Hickok

Just Hatched
Registered Member
The Marines HK M27 has had more issues than M4 in fact due to the M855A1 ammo which was solved by adoption of the PMAG.
So why so many piston guns? Designers chose it and armies adopted it because they wanted it. That’s it. The rest of this is just an emotional attachment to an inanimate object. The same kind of cultural debate backed by decades of lobbying and “Good old fashion harmless hate” the same kind of internet experts and bias that gets reiterated over and over again.

Yes, and the M16A4 blew both the M4A1 and M27 (HK416) out of the water during testing.

M4A1: 12 Guns tested. 8 bolt lug failures. 1 hammer failure. 1 sear assembly failure. 1 magazine failure.

M16A4: 12 Guns tested. No gun or magazine failures.

M27 (HK416): 10 Guns tested (2 of them were not able to even be tested as they weren't even compatible with the magazines.) 3 bolt lug failures. 4 magazine failures.
 

Hickok

Just Hatched
Registered Member
Yes, and the M16A4 blew both the M4A1 and M27 (HK416) out of the water during testing.

M4A1: 12 Guns tested. 8 bolt lug failures. 1 hammer failure. 1 sear assembly failure. 1 magazine failure.

M16A4: 12 Guns tested. No gun or magazine failures.

M27 (HK416): 10 Guns tested (2 of them were not able to even be tested as they weren't even compatible with the magazines.) 3 bolt lug failures. 4 magazine failures.
Sorry looks like I misread the report, the M16A4 was actually not tested as extensively (much less rounds through it than the M4A1 or M27,) but the point still stands, in the M855A1 Conformance Testing report M27 did not perform better than the M4A1.
 

Mohsin77

Senior Member
Registered Member
Cherry picked reports that are often coached by interviews with a bias.

... Really? Okay.

Try this then: Even Colt admitted that pistons are more reliable.

Why else would they put a piston on it and call it the "Enhanced M4" ?

"Internal mechanisms have also been changed to increase durability and reliability. Notably, Colt went with a piston system."

Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!

The actual manufacturer of the Standard M4 decided to put a piston on it and call it "enhanced". This "Enhanced (Piston) M4" was Colt's submission to the Individual Carbine competition, to replace their own M4 for the US Army. There is no greater proof required. And if the US Army could actually afford to replace the M4 (which they can't, due to budget), they would've done it already with a piston system. So yea, let's end this DI vs Piston debate forever, because pistons won, courtesy of Colt, the actual manufacturer of the M4.
 

TerraN_EmpirE

Tyrant King
... Really? Okay.

Try this then: Even Colt admitted that pistons are more reliable.

Why else would they put a piston on it and call it the "Enhanced M4" ?

"Internal mechanisms have also been changed to increase durability and reliability. Notably, Colt went with a piston system."
The Costumer was asking for it. The Enhanced M4 was created from work Colt had done in its attempt at the SCAR. They had both an Internal and External piston option. They chose to submit the external as the internal would have just been a tweaked M4
The Durability and reliability aspects fall into the issues with M855A1. These issues have less to due with the type of gas system and more to due with the length of system in regards to gas pressure. The 416 was one of the guns that suffered with M855A1. The feeding was the big deal. But the lugs was the bigger. The problem is the gassing. The external piston taps at the same point as M4 but the length of the tap to piston is short so it’s over gassed hence the strong impulse on recoil despite being heavier.
M4’s internal piston means that the gas has to move from the tap to the gas key reducing pressure. M16 has a longer gas tube so the pressure is even less. The IURG adopted by SOCOM moved to a mid length gas system to try and buy back some of the pressure point. As a general rule military arms are over gassed vs their civil cousins. The shortening of the gas tube or placement of the valve degree of opening of said valve effects the operation affecting durability and reliability as is the system is too over gassed it places wear on the bolt causing shearing it bounces on lock preventing proper cycling causing either a miss fire or double feed.
None of the Submitted IC rifles matched the required mean rounds between stoppages to justify replacement of M4 beyond what M4A1 was doing with M855A1. This is why M4A1 is still the standard issue today. If Colts Enhanced M4 had done as that paid for advertisement had said the Army would have adopted it. Period.
Colt wouldn’t have needed CZ to buy it. Farther they offered that package for export and couldn’t sell it. So no piston doesn’t win. They neither is inherently superior.

With the coming NGSW rifles the mechanics of the rifle are variable as you have new ammunition types but an emphasis on M4 size combined with suppressed operation the norm but a higher pressure round the three bidders did choose a external piston.
 

Top