China’s Gun Problem: Real Or Airsoft?

China's gun seize 2

April 13, 2014, the day China was made safer… from airsoft guns and swords to be sold to tourists.

Sounds ridiculous, right?

However, reading reports, both from Chinese and international media, one gets the impression that a) China has a huge gun problem, b) Chinese police are awesome, and/or, perhaps most importantly, c) THIS IS A BIG DEAL.

I submit for your consideration:

1. Reuters (emphasis mine):

China has seized more than 10,000 illegal guns in the southwestern province of Guizhou, state television reported on Sunday, marking its largest haul of illegal firearms as it steps up efforts to crack down on violent crime.

Gun attacks are rare in China but the government has stepped up efforts against violent crime following a spate of incidents, including a knife attack at a station in Kunming city in March blamed on militants from the western region of Xinjiang.

2. Daily Mail:

China's gun seize


Sniper rifles: The massive seizure, in the southwestern province of Guizhou, includes 10,500 illegal guns and 120,000 forbidden knives - all destined for the country’s flourishing underground arms trade

3. China Daily:

Yang Tao, an officer of the Criminal Investigation Department at the Guiyang Public Security Bureau, said the guns, pistols and rifles were made of iron and used steel balls as bullets.

The firing range of the pistols is 30 to 50 meters, he said.

Fired from a great distance, the guns could cause permanent disability, he said, and at close range they could be lethal, he added.

Yang said the firing range of rifles could exceed 200 meters.

After a cursory search, a few inconsistencies arise. First, the investigation into and seizure of these weapons is somehow connected to the train station attack in Kunming on March 1. However, the investigation, including “deep undercover work,” actually started in January.

Second, just how dangerous are these weapons? Judging from the description, these guns are modified versions of either a BB gun or an airsoft rifle, the more likely candidate. (BB guns use metal balls, but are spring loaded, severely limiting range.) If they are airsoft, then they are highly modified. The guns with the longest range sold online are “sniper rifles” with a maximum range of 250 feet. That’s only 76 meters. And as one airsoft enthusiast advises: “Do not expect to hit a stationary, man-sized target more than 30% of the time at 100m if your gun is able to even reach that mark.”

Yes, airsoft and BB guns can put an eye out if you’re not careful, but disabling shots from 200 meters?  That seems a little bit too much to ask from an air-powered gun.

It seems that, in this case, the real losers are not criminals looking for some real firepower, but the airsoft markets around the world who will be losing out on a pretty big shipment. Rather than big busts that make the Chinese cops look like they’re doing their job, maybe what the people need is a short course on how to tell a real gun from “not a toy.”

China's gun seize - Airsoft warning

Follow John Artman on Twitter @KnowsNothing

    3 Responses to “China’s Gun Problem: Real Or Airsoft?”

    1. narsfweasels

      I have seen a lot of little yellow BBs around various large public places in Shanghai. I like to believe that there are clandestine meetings of airsoft enthusiasts who shoot each other until the wee hours to relieve their frustration at the indequacies of the social security system.

    2. Chinese Netizen

      Observation: if “SWAT” is an American language acronym for Special Weapons And Tactics, then how the hell does the PSB come up with that for “特警” when in fact “特警” has no acronym and the glorious CCP, in its desire to keep the Han race pure, has previously restricted or demanded the banning of English usage in everyday Chinese vocabulary in schools and especially in prime time television programs???
      Wouldn’t it be completely unnecessary to have “SWAT” embroidered on the sleeves of their “special police” as most Chinese wouldn’t even know what it means anyway? Or is it for American foreigners to cower in fear when they see these goons?
      This is not COO…

    3. benji

      Its a slow day at the NPDB (National Propaganda & Distortion Bureau),and bingo – huge seizure of lethal hardware sized nationwide. Only surprise is that they didn’t embellished it with a Ueighur bandit holding a BB cannon.


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