Type 56 Assault Rifle
AK-47 and Type 56 DD-ST-85-01269
Type 56 (top) and AKS-47
Type Assault rifle
Place of origin People's Republic of China
Service history
In service 1956–present
Used by See Communist forces
Wars Vietnam War, Laotian Civil War, Cambodian Civil War, Cambodian-Vietnamese War, Sino-Vietnamese War, Cambodian–Thai border stand-off
Production history
Designed 1947
Manufacturer Norinco, Bangladesh Ordnance Factory (License-made)
Produced 1956 to present
Number built 10-15 Million
Variants Type 56 Assault Rifle, Type 56-1 Assault Rifle, Type 56-2 Assault Rifle, QBZ-56C Assault Rifle, Type 56S, Type 84S rifle
Weight Type 56: 4.03 kg (Script error lb)
Type 56-1: 3.70 kg (Script error lb)
Type 56-2: 3.9 kg (Script error lb)
QBZ-56C: 2.85 kg (Script error lb)
Length Type 56: 874 mm (Bad rounding hereScript error in)
Type 56-1/56-2: 874 mm (Bad rounding hereScript error in) w/ stock extended, 654 mm (Bad rounding hereScript error in) w/ stock folded.
QBZ-56C: 764 mm (Bad rounding hereScript error in) w/ stock extended, 557 mm (Bad rounding hereScript error in) w/ stock folded.
Barrel length Type 56, Type 56-I, Type 56-II: 414 mm (Script error in)
QBZ-56C: 280 mm (Script error in)

Cartridge 7.62×39mm M43
Action Gas-operated, rotating bolt
Rate of fire 600 round/min [1]
Muzzle velocity Type 56, Type 56-I, Type 56-II: 735 m/s (2,411 ft/s)
QBZ-56C: 665 m/s (2182 ft/s)
Effective range 100–800m sight adjustments
Feed system 20 or 30 round box magazine
Sights Adjustable iron sights
For the Chinese SKS variant of the same designation, see SKS

The Type 56 assault rifle is the Chinese copy of the Kalashnikov AK-47 and AKM assault rifle,[1] which has been manufactured since 1956. It was produced by State Factory 66 from 1956-73, then by Norinco from 1973 onwards.

Service historyEdit


The gas-operated mechanism of a Type 56 rifle.


A pair of Type 56-2 rifles and a Type 69 RPG.

7,62 RK 56 TP

A Type 56-2 rifle with a stock folded.

US Navy 110922-N-RI844-133 A Bangladesh navy sailor fires a Type-56 assault rifle aboard the Bangladesh navy frigate BNS Bangabandhu (F 25) during

Bangladesh navy sailor fires a Type 56-2 rifle.

The Type 56 is likely the most widely proliferated AK-47 type rifle in the world having shown up on battlefields in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, South America, etc. While exact production figures are not known, it is commonly estimated that as many as 10-15 million Type 56 rifles have been produced since the 1950s which means they may account for nearly one-fifth of the world's AK production.

Chinese support for the Democratic Republic of Vietnam before the mid-1960s meant that the Type 56 was frequently encountered by American soldiers during the Vietnam War, in the hands of either Vietcong guerrillas or PAVN soldiers. In fact, the Type 56 was discovered in enemy hands far more often than Russian-made AK-47s or AKMs. When relations between China and the North Vietnam government declined in the 1970s and the Sino-Vietnamese War began, the Vietnamese government still had large numbers of Type 56 rifles in its arsenals while the People's Liberation Army still used the Type 56 as its standard weapon. Thus, Chinese and Vietnamese forces fought each other using the same Chinese-made Type 56 rifles.

The Type 81,Type 95 and Type 03 replaced Type 56 in PLA front line service but the Type 56 remains in use with reserve and militia service. Type 56s are still in production by Norinco for export customers.

Differences from and similarities to the AK-47 and AKMEdit

Chinese type 56 AK47

Type 56-1 (left), Type 84S (center), and Type 56 (right). Note that the Type 56 rifles in this image have been fitted with the distinctive slant compensator of the AKM, a feature not found on the original Type 56

Originally, the Type 56 was a direct copy of the AK-47, and featured a milled receiver, but starting in the mid-1960s, the guns were manufactured with stamped receivers much like the Soviet AKM. Visually, most versions of the Type 56 are distinguished from the AK-47 and AKM by the fully enclosed hooded front sight (all other AK pattern rifles, including those made in Russia, have a partially open front sight). Many versions also feature a folding bayonet attached to the barrel just aft of the muzzle. There are three different types of bayonets made for Type 56 rifles.

  • The Type 56 has a 1.5mm stamped receiver (like the RPK, although it lacks the reinforced trunnion of the RPK) versus the 1mm stamping of the AKM.
  • The barrel on the Type 56 is similar to the AK-47 and heavier than that of the AKM.
  • The front sights are fully enclosed, compared to the AKM and AK-47 which are partially opened.
  • Has the double hook disconnector of the AK-47 rather than the single hook disconnector of the AKM.
  • Has a smooth dust cover like the AK-47 and unlike the ribbed dust cover of the AKM.
  • May have a folding spike bayonet (nicknamed the "pig sticker") as opposed to the detachable knife bayonets of the AK-47 and AKM. There are three different types of spike bayonets made for Type 56 rifles. Type 56 assault rifles are the only AK-pattern assault rifles that use spike bayonets.
  • Military issued versions of the Type 56 lack the threaded muzzle found on the AK-47 and AKM. So they cannot use an AKM compensator or blanking firing device. Commercial versions of the Type 56 may or may not have a threaded muzzle.
  • Has a blued finish like the AK-47 and unlike the AKM, which has a black oxide finish or a parkerized finish.
  • Has "in the white" bolt carrier, while the AKM bolt carrier is blued.
  • Like the AK-47, sights will only adjust to 800 meters, whereas AKM sights adjust to 1000 meters.
  • Most Type 56s lack the AKM scope mount plate on the left side of the receiver.
  • Lacks the hammer release delay device of the AKM. The thicker receiver improves overall rigidity, making a higher rate of fire acceptable.
  • The gas relief ports are located on the gas tube like the AK-47, unlike the AKM which had the gas relief ports relocated forward to the gas block.
  • The Type 56 has a pressed and pinned barrel like the AKM, opposed to the AK-47 barrel which is threaded at the receiver end.
  • The fixed stock of a Type 56 has a less in line stock like the AK-47, opposed to the AKM which has a straighter stock.

Type 56 variantsEdit

Infantería de marina boliviana encima de lanchas inflables

Bolivian Marines sitting on inflatable boats, carrying Type 56 rifles and scuba equipment during the military parade in Cochabamba.

  • Type 56 – Basic variant introduced in 1956. Copy of AK-47 with fixed wooden stock and permanently attached spike bayonet. Beginning in the mid-1960s, the guns were manufactured with stamped receivers, mimicking the improved (and cheaper) Russian AKM, while the permanently attached bayonet became optional. The weapon is now used by Chinese reserve and militia units.
  • Type 56-I – Copy of the AKS-47, with an under-folding steel shoulder stock and the bayonet removed to make the weapon easier to carry. Like the original Type 56, milled receivers were replaced by stamped receivers in the mid-1960s, which made the Type 56-1 an equivalent to the Russian AKMS.

Type 56 carbine Edit

The "Type 56" designation was also used for Chinese version of the SKS, known as the Type 56, but the designs are entirely distinct.


  1. Miller, David (2001). The Illustrated Directory of 20th Century Guns. Salamander Books Ltd. ISBN 1-84065-245-4.

External links Edit

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.