Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between AK-47 and AK-56

ak-47Both the AK-47 and AK-56 are assault rifles and widely used in modern warfare. There is a common perception among people that AK-56 is a newer version of AK-47 but it is not so. Read on to know the similarities and differences between these two guns.

AK-47 stands for Avtomat (meaning automatic) Kalashnikov (name of the designer, Mikhail Kalashnikov) and 47 being the year 1947 (the year it was introduced in service). This gun was designed in the Soviet Union. The type 56 assault rifle (popularly known as AK-56), on the other hand, is the Chinese copy of AK-47. The postfix 56 stands for 1956, the year since when it was manufactured.

Both the guns have similar dimensions but the AK-56 assault rifle is a bit lighter, weighing 3.8 kg compared to the 4.3 kg weight of the AK-47 rifle. They both use 7.62 mm cartridges and have a 30 round feed system meaning that one magazine can hold up to 30 bullets. The AK-47 is also compatible with a 40 round box or 75 round drum magazine. Here the box and drum refers to the shape of the magazine. Both of them have a gas-operated, rotating bolt firing action. Gas-operated loading action uses the pressure of gas inside the cartridge to eject the spent case and mount a new cartridge. They both have a maximum effective range of about 400 metres. The AK-47 is very soldier friendly and can be used in any possible condition, even underwater and under mud. Its simple design and high reliability makes it one of the most highly produced weapons in the world.

The only visible difference between the AK-47 and the AK-56 is that the AK-56 has a fully enclosed, hooded front sight whereas the AK-47 sports a partially enclosed front sight. Some versions of the AK-56 also have a folding spike bayonet whereas the AK-47 has a detachable knife bayonet. Apart from these it is almost impossible to visually distinguish between the rifles.

The AK-47 rifle is produced in many countries including Germany, Poland, Israel, and North Korea and even in the USA. But finding an original and genuine AK-47 is rather difficult these days. The AK-56 rifles were the standard weapon of the Chinese military until the 1980s. Many other countries and liberation groups use the AK-56.

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  1. Am seaman Ikwuegbu Paulinus from Nigerian Navy, please sir can u update on NK-49.
    Thank you for your co-operation


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