Country of origin
Cyclic rate of fire
Practical rate of fire
40 - 100 rpm
Range of effective fire
300 - 400 m
1950s China was the closest ally of the Soviet Union. At that time China
was less developed and received a
technological aid in a form of design package and manufacturing
assistance for a number of Soviet infantry weapons. These included the
assault rifle, RPD general purpose machine gun and other. Some local
modifications were made to the AK-47 and it was adopted by the
Chinese armed forces in 1956 as the Type 56. It was a standard-issue
infantry weapon until the mid 1980s, when the
was adopted. That's more than 30 years! Currently it is still used
by reserve units. The Type was exported to a number of countries.
Though a dated design, it is still used throughout the world. Modern
versions of this assault rifle are still produced in China for
export and civilian customers. It is estimated that around 10-15 million of these assault
rifles were produced in China.
The Type 56
is similar to the AK-47. It is a gas-operated, selective fire
weapon. It is chambered for a Soviet 7.62x39 mm ammunition. Though
there are newer versions of this weapon, chambered for a standard
NATO 5.56x45 mm ammunition. Initial production versions of the Type
56 had a milled receiver, but eventually production switched to a
stamped receiver, that was cheaper to produce.
is simple in design and technology. Build quality of the Type 56 was
reportedly worse than that of the Soviet AK-47s. Some of these
Chinese assault rifles lacked chrome plating of the barrels and gas
systems, and thus were much less resistant to corrosion.
this weapon proved to be extremely
reliable in all environments. The Type 56 do not jams or misfires in
worst conditions possible. Also it is simple to use and to maintain.
This assault rifle is perfectly suitable for poorly trained or
A fire mode
selector switch has 3 positions for "safe", "semi-automatic" and
"full-automatic". In "safe" position it blocks the trigger and prevents
from loading the weapon. Also it serves as a dust cover.
rifle is fed from detachable 30-round capacity magazines. It is
compatible with the Soviet AK-47 magazines.
Type 56 comes with a wooden furniture, made from solid wood.
feature of this weapon is that it comes with an integral bayonet
mount. It replaced a detachable bayonet of the AK-47. When not in use, the bayonet is underfolded into the
foregrip. It was influenced by the bayonet of the Type 56, a Chinese
license-produced version of the Soviet
semi-automatic rifle. The Type 56 is the only AK-pattern assault
rifle that uses such integral spike bayonets. However these
cross-sectional bayonets were banned by international conventions on human
warfare, as the wounds they produce do not close easily. Since the
1960s the bayonet on the Type 56 was optional. Some export operators
completely removed their integral bayonets.
rifle has got simple iron sights. Maximum sighting range is 800
meters, though range of effective fire is limited to 300-400 meters.
Though China's People Liberation Army was never fully satisfied with
performance of its Type 56 assault rifle.
The Type 56
assault rifle can mount a
35 mm underbarrel grenade launcher. It is a clone of the US
but uses smaller and less powerful grenades.
Type 56-1 is
a version with an underfolding metal stock. It is a license-produced
version of the Soviet
The stock can be collapsed to reduce overall length of the weapon. An
bayonet was optional. This assault rifle was intended for
airborne troops and other soldiers, who needed a more compact weapon
than the baseline Type 56.
or Type 56-4 is a civilian semi-automatic only version. It is chambered for
NATO 5.56x45 mm ammunition.
Type 56-2 is
an improved production version of the baseline Type 56. In the early
1960s the Soviets refused to give licenses to produce the improved
machine gun. This led Chinese to design an improved version of
the Type 56 on their own. The new weapon was
introduced only in the 1980s. It came with a side-folding metal
buttstock and was intended for all kinds of troops. Foregrip and
pistol handle are made of polymer materials. Pistol grip had a
different shape and resembled that of the Czechoslovak
assault rifle. On later production models the integral bayonet was
completely discarded. Instead
this weapon could mount a detachable knife-bayonet.
Type 56C or
a compact assault rifle with a shorter barrel. Its development began
in 1988 and this weapon was introduced in 1991. It is fed from
smaller 20-round magazines, though it can also accept standard 30-round
magazines. Rear sight post is different. This weapon also has a
different flash hider, resembling that of the Soviet AKMSU. This
weapon was used in small number by some Chinese army units and
Type 06 is a
modern version of the Type 56, chambered for the standard NATO 5.56x45 mm ammunition. It
has an underfolding metal stock.
is a successor to the Type 56. The Chinese army had never been
fully satisfied with its Type 56 performance. This led Chinese to
design a new indigenous assault rifle. The Type 81 incorporate many design features of
the Type 56 and is chambered for the same 7.62x39 mm ammunition, but
overall it is a new design. A prototype was ready in 1980. Its
initial production commenced in 1983. This assault rifle was adopted
as a standard-issue service rifle in 1986 and gradually replaced the
Type 56. Some sources report that
in terms of accuracy it is close to the
Furthermore it has the same level of durability and reliability in
adverse conditions as the Kalashnikov designs.
an Iranian unlicensed copy of the Type 56. The original KL-7.62 was
similar to the Type 56, however over the years some indigenous
modifications were made. Later production models have a polymer
stock and foregrip. Latest versions have Picatinny-type scope
MAZ is a
Sudanese license-produced copy of the Type 56.