The Type 56 (Chinese: 56式突击步枪; literally; "Assault Rifle, Model of 1956")  is a Chinese 7.6239mm rifle. It is a variant of the Soviet-designed AK-47 (specifically Type 3) and AKM rifles. The Type 56 rifle was designated by the Chinese military as "Type 1956 Sub-Machinegun", because the Type 56 took the role of SMG rather than infantry service rifle in the PLA in the rifle's early service years. Production started in 1956 at State Factory 66 but was eventually handed over to Norinco and PolyTech, who continue to manufacture the rifle primarily for export.
During the Cold War period, the Type-56 was exported to many countries and guerrilla forces throughout the world. Many of these rifles found their way to battlefields in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East and were used alongside other Kalashnikov pattern weapons from both the Soviet Union as well as the Warsaw Pact nations of Eastern Europe.
Chinese support for the Democratic Republic of Vietnam before the mid-1960s meant that the Type-56 was frequently encountered by American soldiers in the hands of either Vietcong guerrillas or PAVN soldiers during the Vietnam war. The Type-56 was discovered far more often than the original Russian-made AK-47s or AKMs.
When relations between China and North Vietnam crumbled in the 1970s and the Sino-Vietnamese War began, the Vietnamese government still possessed vast quantities of Type-56 rifles in its inventory. The People's Liberation Army still used the Type 56 as its standard weapon during this time as well. Thus, Chinese and Vietnamese forces fought each other using the same rifle.
Since the end of the Cold War, the Type-56 has been used in many conflicts by various military forces. During the Croatian War of Independence and the Yugoslav Wars, it was used by the armed forces of Croatia. During the late 1990s, the Kosovo Liberation Army in Kosovo were also major users of the Type 56, with the vast majority of the weapons originating from People's Socialist Republic of Albania, which received Chinese support during much of the Cold War.
In the United Kingdom and United States, the Type-56 and its derivatives are frequently used in the filming of movies and television shows, standing in for Russian-made AK-47s due to their rarity among Kalashnikov style weapons. Type-56s are oftentimes visually modified to resemble other AK variants. In addition, versions of the Type-56 that have had their select fire ability removed (referred to as "sporter" rifles) are also available for civilian ownership in most parts of the United States.
In the mid-1980s, Sri Lanka began to replace their British L1A1 Self-Loading Rifle (SLR) and German HK G3s with the Type 56-2. Currently, the side-folding stock variant (Type 56-2) issued as the standard primary firearm.
The Type 81, Type 95 and Type 03 replaced the Type 56 in PLA front line service, but the Type 56 remains in use with reserve and militia units. Type 56s are still in production by Norinco for export customers.
Use of the Type 56 in Afghanistan also continued well into the early 21st century as the standard rifle of the Taliban such as when Taliban forces seized control of Kabul in 1996 (a majority of the Chinese small arms used by the Taliban were provided by Pakistan).
Since the overthrow of the Taliban by U.S.-led Coalition forces in late 2001, the Type-56 assault rifle has been utilized by the Afghan National Army, serving alongside many other AK-47 and AKM variant rifles.
The Type-56 has been used by the Janjaweed in the Darfur region of Sudan with pictures and news footage showing members of the Janjaweed carrying the rifles (most of them provided by the Sudanese government).
In 1987, Michael Ryan used a legally owned Type-56 rifle, and two other firearms, in the Hungerford massacre in the United Kingdom, in which he shot 32 people, 17 of whom died. The attack led to the passage of Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988, which bans ownership of semi-automatic centre-fire rifles and restricts the use of shotguns.
In the United States, a Type-56 rifle, purchased in Oregon under a false name, was used in the 1989 Stockton schoolyard shooting in which Patrick Purdy fired over 100 rounds to shoot one teacher and 34 children, killing five. The shooting led to the passage of California's Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act of 1989. A Type 56, along with a Type 56 S-1, were used by Larry Phillips, Jr. and Emil Mătăsăreanu during the 1997 North Hollywood shootout.
Originally, the Type-56 was a direct copy of the AK-47's final iteration, the Type 3 AK-47, and featured a milled receiver, Starting in the mid-1960s, the guns were manufactured with stamped receivers much like the Soviet AKM. Visually, most versions of the Type 56 are distinguished from the AK-47 and AKM by the fully enclosed hooded front sight (all other AK pattern rifles, including those made in Russia, have a partially open front sight). Many versions also feature a folding bayonet attached to the barrel just aft of the muzzle. There are three different types of bayonets made for Type 56 rifles. The first Type-56s were near-identical copies of the Soviet milled AK-47. There is some speculation[by whom?] that the Chinese had to reverse engineer a copy of the AKM with the stamped receiver as they were not given a licence to produce the AKM and RPK by the Soviets because of failing relations after the Sino-Soviet split.
The "Type 56" designation was also used for Chinese versions of the SKS and of the RPD, known as the Type 56 carbine and Type 56 light machine gun respectively. However, unlike the popular Type 56 rifle, all Type 56 carbines have been removed from military service, except a few used for ceremonial purposes and by local Chinese militia.
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For sale is a Norinco 56S-1 semi-automatic rifle in 7.6239. Serial number- 518565. This AK is in great condition and comes with 2 magazines and a bayonet. All SNS appear to be matching! As far as the collecting of Pre-Ban semi-auto Kalashnikov type rifles goes, these pre-ban rifles are extremely sought after and avidly collected. Copy of the AKS, with an under-folding steel shoulder stock. As with the original Type 56, milled receivers were replaced by stamped receivers in the mid-1960s, making the Type 56-1 an equivalent to the Russian AKMS. V2-B1-NV Barrel Length: 16.5 Bore condition: Excellent
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