Although the Russian Kalashnikov assault rifle is the one that is most famous, it is arguably the Chinese Type 56 AK that made the bigger impression on the world in the 1960s and 70s. This rifle was initially developed with Russian technical assistance just before the Sino-Soviet split beginning in 1956, but subsequent development took place without Russian input, leading to an entire family of unique AK variants. The name “Type 56” actually refers to this entire family of Chinese AKs, which includes milled receiver variants derived from the Russian Type 2 AK, as well as stamped versions similar to (but distinct from) the AKM. These guns showed up all over the world, and for many they are THE iconic “AK-47”. They were the primary weapon of the North Vietnamese Army in the latter half of the Vietnam War, were exported by the Chinese to Africa, Asia, and South America. It was the most used AK variant by the mujahideen during the Soviet-Afghan War, up against Russian AK-74 rifles. Too this day remains one of the most common if not the most common AK variant, and it’s the Chinese Type 56 with its distinctive integral spike bayonet that is famously depicted as a symbol of liberation on the Flag of Mozambique.
Kalashnikov Concern, the conglomerate that includes the original AK factory in Izhevsk, recently released an educational video on the Type 56 and its differences with the genuine Russian AK, released in both Russian and English language versions. KC representative Vladimir Onokoy hosts, speaking with AK expert Pavel Pticin of AK-Info.ru:
Of course, Vladimir recommends: “Make the right choice, and go with the good old Russian friend.” I wouldn’t expect anything different from Kalashnikov Concern, who take great pride in their rifles. Vladimir tells TFB that this video will be the first of many English-language educational videos from Kalashnikov Concern. “I think I am in a great position to make some really good videos on the AK,” he says. Sounds like we can look forward to some very cool stuff!