Foreword to PAP-SF Infantry Equipment and Gear

In 1982 it became apparent that the People’s Liberation Army, organizationally was not suited to all the roles that it was responsible for, including internal security, counter-terrorism and even firefighting. Thus, many units of the PLA were transferred to the newly founded organization, the Chinese People’s Armed Police Force (CAPF/PAP for short).

The PAP is a Gendarmerie force whose sole mission is internal security but also has units dedicated to firefighting, forest policing and many more missions. 

In the post-9/11 world, the focus for many countries turned to counter-terrorism and thus the PAP undertook the responsibility to create elite special forces units responsible for operations within the territory of the People’s Republic of China. 

As individual provinces of China have certain levels of control over their local PAP units, different units in different areas will receive more or less funding than others. Attempts to standardize equipment across all regions of China are well underway, and have succeeded in equipping all PAP troops with digital camouflage uniforms, distinct from those of the PLA.

PAP-SF Uniforms


Regular units of the PAP (including firefighters) are now equipped with the Type 16 digital camouflage uniforms which comes in two varieties, summer and winter.

PAP-SF Personal Gear and Kit


Depending upon the location of each particular unit, funding levels differ a lot and thus PAP units in tranquil provinces will probably not receive as expensive and modern equipment as units located in places such as Xinjiang. Case in point, this photo is of Shanxi Province PAP, standing security outside of a railway station.


Meanwhile Border Troops stationed in Xinjiang can be seen wearing ACH and FAST type helmets, armor system vests etc.

For special forces, each province’s PAP has a special forces detachment receives the same basic combat uniform, however other gear items vastly differ, again depending upon the funding priority of the province.

The PAP Special Forces can be identified by their use of the distinctive digital tiger stripe camouflage, the uniform comes in both summer and winter versions.

The winter variant consists of a combat field shirt and pants set, and a fleece liner. The uniform is made of a heavier fabric than the summer version, it is close-fitting and features lots of elastication, padding on the knees and elbows, and ventilation on the back and under the armpits.

The summer uniform consists of a combat shirt and pants set, the combat shirt torso is made of a lightweight sweat-wicking material, while the rest of the uniform is made of a light weight cotton fabric. Like the winter suit, the summer suit pants features extra padding in the knees and is close-fitting.

PAP-SF Reference Gallery