Kalashnikov Concern Tells Us the Difference Between Russian AKs and Chinese ‘Type 56’ AKs

All AKs are equal. But some AKs are more equal than others. Right?

Kalashnikov Concern, Russia’s preeminent AK manufacturer, put out this video on the difference between Russian AKs and Chinese “Type 56” AKs.

So, what’s the difference? Well from a legacy standpoint, one can argue that while it was the Russian original that introduced the AK to the world, it was the Chinese Type 56 that made it a mainstream battle implement.

SEE ALSO: 100% American Made AKs: Century Arms RAS47 & C39V2

As noted by the host in the video, the Type 56 derivative was used in armed conflicts the world over, from Columbia to Vietnam, from Mozambique to Afghanistan.

In terms of how the two differ from an accessory standpoint, the Type 56 came equipped with a folding “spike” bayonet.

At the end of the day, the good folks at Kalashnikov will tell you, as they did in the video, that when it comes time to choose between the two, “Make the right choice, and go with the good old Russian friend.”

But we will leave that call up to you.  Shop for AKs on GunsAmerica

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • mblack November 3, 2017, 11:16 am

    Actually, in that movie clip of Platoon that is not a true type 56 rifle. If you look at the receiver, it is actually a polytech legend with a type 56 front bayonet. All the type 56 receivers were stamped not milled. You can clearly see that this receiver was of the milled variety due to the square relief cut on the right side.

    • Mahatma Muhjesbude January 27, 2018, 6:58 pm

      I’m not sure what you are saying exactly mblack? But there were a lot of AKs in Nam with milled receivers and Chinese markings. We took them off the enemy bodies and had them laying around our basecamp for our pet monkeys to practice with.
      We wouldn’t let them play with frags, though. Too dangerous!

  • mauser6863 November 3, 2017, 10:41 am

    While it is true that the world is not awaiting the latest new quality and innovative products from either Russia or China, that does not mean that everything they make is junk or crap. In fact Russia still makes the best Rocket Engines on the market for satellite launch vehicles.

    All of the Weapons I have ever seen, shot and inspected from Russia and China are first rate and WORK. This is more than I can say for some America companies, like Remington (lately). Mao said that all political power, derives from the barrel of a gun, therefore these countries have made it a priority to produce first class arms. Sometimes to American eyes, the designs and/or finish may seem crude, but they work.

    The best submachine gun of World War 2 was the Russian PPS-43, which cost around $2-$4 US Dollars to make in 1943. Around the same cost as the later STEN guns, maybe cheaper. A Thompson ran around $200 and a Grease Gun around $15. The Russians made around 2 million of these guns starting in 1943. The guns WORK. With their 7.62x25mm, 75 grain steel core incendiary round (std issue), they were flatter shooting and simply more effective than their contemporaries.

    The people who designed and produced the AK used the same philosophy. I would love to be able to buy a newly imported Type 56 for $429 vs. the Crap AK’s that Century puts out today.

  • joefoam November 3, 2017, 9:39 am

    Guys, if they hand it out to the military it’s not a seal of approval. If it’s done there like it’s done here the contract goes to the lowest bidder. That was a caution handed to my brother when he went to Viet Nam “remember, your gear that you’re relying on to keep you alive was provided by the lowest bidder”.

  • Gunflint01 November 3, 2017, 7:48 am

    If it comes from Cheena…Its JUNK.

    • Dennis Tucker November 3, 2017, 10:28 am

      You are one confused individual. My NORINCO is my favorite rifle that I own.

    • Winston November 3, 2017, 11:11 am

      You obviously do not know much about military small arms weapons.

    • Chris November 3, 2017, 12:25 pm

      That might be true for most things but not Chinese AK’s. I have two Polytech Legends that are AWESOME! You won’t find a better AK. There is a reason these are commanding 3K-5K in today’s market.

  • jeff November 3, 2017, 7:45 am

    Have had my type 56 underfolder for 30 years and love it as much as first day I got it.

  • Darryl November 3, 2017, 4:45 am

    from what i’ve read and seen in video’s next to the true russian ak47 the bulgarian ak SA93 with milled recvr. is the best to be had. what i’ve read it the same as their military version except for the wood stock which means you’re getting the same version as they hand out to their people in the military. these also bring a very good price if you have one in original condition with the thumb hole stock which they had to use to get them imported to the US as it was called the sporter model i think. yes others are just as good stamped recv’r as good as milled and so on. but these can sell for in the $1200 range in original condition in the box so must be something to them. i’ve had one since they came in to the USA and love it. sad part is i didn’t know they would be worth what they are now so after having it a while i did so changing to the stock hurt the value. but the meat of the thing is as good as new and thats the main thing. i don’t ever plan on selling it anyway.

    • Nighthawk November 4, 2017, 11:27 am

      The Bulgarians build great rifles . have a look at arsenals

    • Mahatma Muhjesbude January 27, 2018, 7:19 pm

      I remember something a long time ago an ATF guy once telling me they had a problem they couldn’t resolve with a lot of either Bulgarian or Yugo Aks coming in from Europe to wholesalers like Century to sell to FFL dealers. Apparently they were surplus military and were just changed to semi auto parts and shipped and got through customs. But the receivers were still select fire capable! And nobody could tell the difference at first glance! When they did find out they sent out a letter to all the dealers telling them to get them back. The dealer I knew said he never got any back because everybody said they sold theirs to person’s unknown, and the ATF never seemed to follow up? It was different back then. LOL!
      There was also a similar thing for a while with FN/FALs as I recall.

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