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Type 56-2

Assault rifle

Type 56-2

The China's Type 56-2 has got some improvements over its predecessor

 
 
Country of origin China
Entered service 1980s
Caliber 7.62x39 mm
Weight (unloaded) 3.9 kg
Length 878 mm
Length (with folded stock) 654 mm
Barrel length 415 mm
Muzzle velocity 710 m/s
Cyclic rate of fire ~ 600 rpm
Practical rate of fire 40 - 100 rpm
Magazine capacity 30 rounds
Sighting range 800 m (?)
Range of effective fire 300 - 400 m

 

   The Type 56-2 is a Chinese assault rifle. It is an improved production version of the Type 56. In the 1950s China was the closest Soviet ally. However in the early 1960s relations between two countries began to deteriorate. At that time China was looking for a replacement for its Type 56 assault rifle, which was a license-produced version of the AK-47. In 1959 Soviets adopted their successor of the AK-47, the AKM, which had improved performance. However the Soviets refused to give licenses to China to produce this weapon locally. This led China to improve its Type 56 assault rifle on its own. The new weapon was introduced only in the 1980s. This assault rifle is used by the Chinese law enforcement forces. However it looks like it was not adopted by the People Liberation Army. The Type 56-2 has been exported to a number of countries.

   This assault rifle has got some improvements over its predecessor. Though internally it is similar to the Type 56. Most notable improvement is a side-folding metal stock.

   It is a gas-operated, selective fire weapon. It is chambered for the same Soviet 7.62x39 mm ammunition.

   This weapon is simple in design and technology, and is extremely durable. It is very reliable in all environments and withstands all abuse that soldier can throw at it. It do not jams or misfires in worst conditions possible. This assault rifle needs regular cleaning, but it is not that critical. It will still fire with fouled mechanics, dirty chamber and cases. Furthermore the Type 56-2 it is simple to use and to maintain. It can be field stripped in one minute without using any tools. This assault rifle is perfectly suitable for poorly trained or untrained recruits.

   However this weapon has also got a number of drawbacks. The Type 56-2, as well as all other AK-type designs, is poorly balanced and has got violent action. This leads to poor firing accuracy. In terms of accuracy it looses to most Western assault or automatic rifles. Also this weapon has poor ergonomics. In the 1980s, when the Type 56-2 was introduced, most Western countries already used much superior weapons, such as the M16, chambered for new-generation ammunition.

   A fire mode selector switch of the Type 56-2 has 3 positions for "safe", "semi-auto" and "full-auto". In "safe" position it blocks the trigger and prevents from loading the weapon. Also in the "safe" position it serves as a dust cover.

   This assault rifle is fed from detachable 30-round capacity magazines. Late production models were completed with distinctive red plastic magazines. This weapon is compatible with the Soviet AK-47 and AKM magazines.

   The Type 56-2 comes with a side-folding skeletal metal buttstock. So the same basic weapon could be used by all kinds of troops. When the stock is folded, it do not obstructs the trigger.

   It looks like early production Type 56-2 assault rifles had a wooden foregrip and pistol handle. However most of these weapons came with polymer housing. Pistol handle had a different shape and resembled that of a Czechoslovak vz.58 assault rifle.

   It looks like early production models were optionally fitted with an integral spike bayonet, similar to that of the original Type 56 assault rifle. When not required, the bayonet could be underfolded into the foregrip. However the cross-sectional bayonets were banned by Geneva convention on human warfare, as the wounds they produce do not close easily. On later production models of the Type 56-2 the integral bayonet was completely discarded. Instead the weapon could mount a detachable knife-bayonet.

   This assault rifle has got simple iron sights. It seems that maximum sighting range is 800 meters. Though range of effective fire is limited to 300-400 meters.

 

Variants

 

   Type 81 is a successor to the Type 56 series assault rifle. The Chinese army had never been wholly satisfied with its Type 56 series performance, particularly accuracy. So a new indigenous assault rifle was developed to address the shortcomings of the Type 56 series. 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 US M16. Furthermore it has the same level of durability and reliability in adverse conditions as the Kalashnikov designs.

 
Type 56-2

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Type 56-2

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Type 56-2

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Type 56-2

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Type 56-2

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Type 56-2

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Personal appeal from Andrius Genys

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