AK 47 vs AK 56: Difference and Comparison

Rifles are a type of gun that has a long barrel and is designed for shooting. Rifles are to be handled with both hands and sometimes, it is put upon the shoulder via gunstock for shooting. Gunstock gives it stability. It is used in self-defence, warfare, hunting, sports, etc.

Rifles have a trigger point, and it is very easy to use. It consists of helical grooves called rifling, which makes it distinct from a normal gun. AK 47 and AK 56 are the two types of rifles that are used in warfare.

Key Takeaways

  1. AK-47 has a larger caliber (7.62mm), while AK-56 uses a smaller caliber (5.56mm), resulting in different firepower and range capabilities.
  2. AK-56 is an unauthorized Chinese copy of the AKM, a later variant of the AK-47, leading to varying quality and performance.
  3. Due to the lighter ammunition, AK-56 has a higher magazine capacity than the AK-47.

AK 47 vs AK 56

The difference between AK 47 and AK 56 is that AK 47 was designed by Russia. While AK 56 is a Chinese Copy of AK 47 made in China. AK 47 was manufactured in the year 1947, and AK 56 was manufactured in 1956. AK 56 is more lightweight than AK 47. AK 47 can be used in every situation, and it is soldier friendly. AK 56 has an enclosed front sight which is hooded. Whereas AK 47 has a partially enclosed front sight.

AK 47 vs AK 56

AK 47 is also called Avtomat Kalashnikova or Kalashnikova, or simply AK. It is a gas-operated assault rifle which means that its magazine is detachable, and at one go, it can fire 30 rounds. It was developed in the Soviet Union by a person named Mikhail Kalashnikova.

After so many years since its manufacturing, it is still the most popular rifle in the world. The number 47 represents that it was inducted for official trials in 1947. It is very reliable and used widely because it can be used in any of the harsh conditions.

AK 56, also called Type 56, and it an assault rifle. It is a variant of AK 47, which is made by the Soviet Union.

AK 56 is a Chinese rifle that is 7.62*39mm long. Its production was started in the year 1956, and later it was handed to the company Norinco and Poly Tech, and they continued to manufacture and export it to different countries.

In the Cold War era, AK 56 was exported to many countries where guerilla warfare was taking place. It has been used in many warlike the Sino-Vietnamese war, Yugoslav war, Croatian war etc.

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Comparison Table

Parameters of Comparison AK 47Ak 56
Place of OriginSoviet UnionChina
No builtMore than 75 million.10 Crore +
VariantsAKS 47, AKSN, AKM, RPN, Type 56 etc.Type 56, Type 56-1, Type 56-2
Firing range350 m300-400 m
Rate of FireIt has a different rate of fire like Cyclic, combat, semi-auto and bursts. 650 rounds/min

What is AK 47?

The model for AK 47 was first developed in 1943 when Soviet Union forces were highly impressed by Germany’s Sturmgewehr 44 rifle during the second world war. They soon began to develop semi-automatic rifles.

AK 47 soon replaced SKS in Soviet Service in 1949. Designer Mikhail Kalashnikova began to develop it as he was a soldier in the year 1941. AK 47 was a hybrid of all the previous rifle technology.

It is a gas-operated assault rifle that gave service in Soviet Army from 1949 to 1974. After almost seven decades of its manufacturing, it is still popular and widely used in all the other countries.

Ak 47 is used because it can be used in any harsh conditions, has a very low cost of production, easy to use and is available in every geographical area. It is manufactured in almost every country and used in armed forces, insurgencies as well as in irregular forces.

The design of the AK 47 is very simple, fully automatic, reliable, cheap and manufactured quickly. It was manufactured in bulk during the 1940s. It consists of a long-stroke gas system that can be used in any adverse situation.

AK 47 has a velocity of 715 m/s when it fires. Its penetration is excellent, as it can go through walls, metal bodies etc. It has a detachable magazine which comes with a standard capacity of 30 rounds. But it also has 10, 20, 40 round box magazines and 75 round drum magazines.


What is AK 56?

Production of AK 56 was started in the year 1956 at State Factory 66, but later it was handed to Norinco and Poly Tech, who continues to manufacture it. It is exported widely in many countries. It has been used in many battlefields like in South-East Asia, Africa, Middle-East etc.

It was made in the same lines as AK 47 was manufactured. AK 56 can also be called one of the variants of AK 47. It has been used in many wars like in Cold War, Croatian Wars, Yugoslav Wars etc.

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In the USA and UK, AK 56 is mostly used in television shows, and film sets as it resembles AK 47 closely. In America, AK 56 is also available for civilian ownership. AK 56 has three variants like Type 56, Type 56-1, and Type 56-2.

In the year the 1980s, Sri Lanka replaced its British SLRs with AK 56. In the People Liberation Army, AK 56 is replaced by Type 95, 81 and O3 in front services. It is still a part of reserved and militia units.

Type 56 consists of a milled receiver, and it is distinctive concerning AK 47. It has a fully enclosed front side which is hooded.

Since the year 1956, it is still produced and exported. Even the Taliban and the terrorist groups have these rifles. It is slightly lighter in weight than AK 47. It weighs 3.8 to 4 kg. It can fire 650 rounds in a minute.

Its firing range is between 300-400 meters. It also has 20, 30, and 40 detachable box magazines. It has adjustable iron sight. Till now, almost 10 crores + units have been made of AK 56. Its users range from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Somalia etc.

ak 56

Main Differences Between AK 47 and AK 56

  1. AK 47 was built by the Soviet Union after the second world war by Russian designer Mikhail Kalashnikova. AK 56 was a copy of AK 47, built by China.
  2. More than 75 million units have been made up of AK 47. More than 10 crore units have been made up of AK 56.
  3. AK 47 has different variants like AKS 47, AKSN, AKM, RPN, Type 56 etc. AK 56 has three variants like Type 56, Type 56-1, and Type 56-2.
  4. AK 47 has a firing range of 350 meters. AK 56 has a firing range between 300-400 meters.
  5. AK 47 has a different rate of fire, like Cyclic, which can fire 600 rounds/min, Combat, Semi-Auto(40 rds/min) and bursts(100 rds/min). AK 56 can fire 650 rounds per minute.
Difference Between AK 47 and AK 56
  1. https://frwiki.info/en/Kalashnikovs-6644680626

Last Updated : 24 November, 2023

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25 thoughts on “AK 47 vs AK 56: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The historical context of the AK-47’s creation, combined with its tactical advantages and global manufacturing, underscores its profound influence on modern military strategies and irregular warfare.

    • Absolutely, the AK-47’s sustained relevance in modern arms manufacturing, global conflicts, and geopolitical dynamics testifies to its enduring significance in military narratives and scholarly discussions.

  2. The AK-47’s impact on modern warfare and its subsequent variants demonstrate the long-lasting influence of its simple yet effective design and its ability to perform in diverse combat conditions.

    • Agreed, the strategic role of the AK-47 in different conflicts and the subsequent iterations of the rifle highlight the enduring legacy of its design, production, and battlefield performance.

    • Indeed, the consistent manufacturing and evolution of the AK-47 across various countries underscore its intrinsic value as a military firearm, further enhanced by its adaptability in global conflicts.

  3. The comparison table provides a clear overview of the key parameters. The AK-47’s widespread use is fascinating given its performance and reliability.

    • Absolutely, the versatility of the AK-47 in different environments is quite remarkable. Also, the technological advancements leading to variations like Type 56 in AK-56 highlights the significance of progression in firearm designs.

    • Agreed, the engineering evolution of rifles is evident in the creation of the AK-56 and its variants. It’s interesting to study how manufacturing and exportation are impacted by geopolitical influences.

  4. The comparison and technical specifications of AK-47 and AK-56 epitomize the sustained relevance of these rifles in global warfare and strategies.

    • Agreed, the historical evolution and global deployment of AK-47 and AK-56 reinforce their relevance in contemporary military conversations, conflict studies, and international strategic analyses.

    • Indeed, the AK-47 and AK-56’s considerable impact on battle tactics, guerrilla warfare, and military doctrines reflects the intrinsic value of these firearms in diverse conflict scenarios.

  5. The extensive service period of the AK-47 in the Soviet Army and its subsequent rise to global popularity is a testament to its technological design, cost-effectiveness, and battle performance.

    • Absolutely, the AK-47’s cost-efficient production, combined with its combat reliability and historical significance in global warfare, highlights its enduring legacy in modern times.

    • Agreed, the AK-47’s widespread manufacturing post-1940s and its use in insurgencies and irregular warfare underline its strategic importance in global conflicts.

  6. The historical background behind the AK-47 and its production is quite intriguing. The designer’s inspiration from previous rifle technologies has contributed to its enduring popularity.

    • Indeed, the tactical advantages of the AK-47, combined with its lower production cost and ease of use, make it a rifle worthy of study and analysis.

    • Absolutely, the AK-47’s historical significance in various global conflicts has shaped warfare and insurgency strategies. Its adaptability in adverse conditions is particularly remarkable.

  7. The simplicity and reliability of the AK-47’s design, especially in adverse environments, have contributed to its sustained popularity. These features are vital for military, insurgent, and irregular forces.

    • Indeed, the adaptability of the AK-47 in harsh conditions and its velocity and penetration capabilities make it a formidable firearm in multiple scenarios, including irregular warfare.

  8. The differentiation between AK-47 and AK-56, particularly in terms of place of origin, is quite fascinating. Both the Soviet Union and China have made significant contributions to firearm development.

  9. The comparison of firing range and rate of fire between AK-47 and AK-56 provides valuable insights into their respective battle performances and tactical usage.

    • Indeed, the differences in ammunition and variants of the two rifles are quite substantial. It’s intriguing to evaluate their impact on combat scenarios and battlefield strategies.

    • Agreed, the tactical considerations for militaries and insurgent groups regarding magazine capacity and firing rate are substantial factors influencing the choice between AK-47 and AK-56.

    • Indeed, the AK-47 is a remarkable rifle that has been reliable even in harsh conditions. However, the differences between AK-47 and AK-56 are quite interesting, particularly due to the variations in caliber.


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