After 4 years of inspection by the RCMP lab, they’ve determined that the Type 81 is definitely not an AK.
While at first glance you might be forgiven in thinking this Chi-Com creation is a descendant of the Kalashnikov, it actually uses a short stroke piston and bolt carrier much closer to the classic SKS. The Type 81 was developed in China and issued to the People’s Liberation Army during the 1980s as a domestic alternative to the AK. You’ll notice that the front sight block is quite a bit further back than your regular AKM, and that the barrel is profiled for rifle grenades.
While the 7.62×39 version can run off AK pattern mags, they’ll ship with proprietary magazines that feature a last round bolt hold open. So far Canadian Tactical Imports has confirmed that they’ll be bringing in the Type 81, but there’s been a flurry of interest in the market with any retailer with connections in China looking for a factory that can produce dedicated semi-auto rifles.
You might remember earlier this year that Alex C did a field strip video with one of the very few Type 81s to make it into America. Canadian shooters should study up on that one.
For those of you unfamiliar with the criminal code up in the Great White North, our law explicitly prohibits any and all AK variants. As a result rifles like the Vz58 and Type 81 enjoy immense popularity as “almost AKs” that meet the caliber and ergonomics, but lack the actual AK components that would make them banned.
There’s no word yet whether anyone will be bringing in the modernized NAR-10 rifle, but I can imagine it’s on the minds of a few shooters. I for one would love to see another .308 battle rifle alongside this new 7.62×39 import.
So far MSRP has not been nailed down, and we’re seeing guesses ranging from $600-$1500, so take that with a grain of salt. With any luck we’ll see shipments of rifles arriving this summer, and Canadian shooters can thumb their noses at the AK ban.