This paper investigates the process of ancient Qin state territorial expansion based on the information from both the written sources and archaeological studies of recent years. The paper’s main objective is to reconcile conflicting narratives of different parts of the written sources and to create such a model that would explain the genesis of the contradictions in question. The explanatory model involves dividing the process of conquest into three stages, each suggesting different relations between the Qin ruling elite and the lands conquered and their population. Applying the model to Qin history reveals the chronological frame of the model’s applicability and defines the boundaries of the periods, during which the Qin state proper was taking its shape, outlines the main traits of the Qin imperial model formation process, that started immediately after the Qin state territorial core formation process ended. The research allow to create a hypothetical model of relations between the inner-political process of power struggle in Qin and the process of territorial expansion.