Chinese PLA Internal Issue Type 56 with L & D Selector Markings
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    Chinese PLA Internal Issue Type 56 with L & D Selector Markings

    DID THE PLA ISSUE TYPE 56 AKs TO THEIR OWN TROOPS WITH L & D SELECTOR MARKINGS?

    I am looking for photos of Chinese military personnel with Type 56s which have visible Pinyin L & D Selector markings. I am trying to determine if Type 56s with L and D Pinyin selector marks were also used internally; or were these made exclusively for export? This question seems unsettled.

    PINYIN

    I minored in Mandarin having studied it for four years. My classes included both spoken and written Chinese, including traditional Characters, Simplified Chinese Characters and Pinyin. I concur that the L and D are Pinyin for Automatic and Single fire as has been reported everywhere.

    Pinyin was developed in the late 1950s to theoretically completely replace Chinese characters in the PRC. The communist government realized that with millions to educate, it made sense to simplify the writing system from full form traditional Chinese characters, to simplified Chinese characters, to Pinyin.

    This was dramatic thinking. As with anything cultural and historic, there was backlash to switching to Pinyin amongst the population. Pinyin is still around but it never got the full traction that the PRC wanted.

    PINYIN AND CHARACTERS IN THE 1960s


    Some PRC arsenals obviously went along with this government Pinyin decree as evidenced on the M22 AK which was reportedly first made in 1960. The M22 has L and D Pinyin selector markings.

    Concurrently, during the 1960s, the Chinese Type 56, with and without folding bayonet, was made with Chinese selector marks. Hundreds of thousands of these ended up in the hands of the NVA and VC.


    1970s and 1980s MADE-FOR-EXPORT TYPE 56s

    In the 1970s and 1980s, when China massively ramped up its Type 56 export program for the Middle East and Africa, they made millions of made-for-export Type 56s. These bore no Chinese characters anywhere. These Type 56s simply bore 56 or 56-1 on the trunnion or receiver instead of the Chinese Characters for 56 Type. These made-for-export weapons also had L and D selector marks.

    Keep in mind that many Chinese character marked Type 56s ended up in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Balkans. It is not known if these were direct-from-China-exports of existing stocks of PLA issue AKs or were exported through third parties.

    THE QUEST

    All that said, my goal is simple: Let's find photographic evidence of Type 56s with L and D selector markings being used by the PLA.

    As a secondary goal, it would be nice to know the serial number range on examples you post. We may be able to find a pattern.

    THANKS
    Little Gunny and MrM1A1 like this.

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    Chinese PLA Internal Issue Type 56 with L & D Selector Markings

    That is absolutely correct about the Pinyin and simplified Chinese. I am glad I was taught in traditional Chinese though. Traditional Chinese characters are beautiful and have thousands of years of history.

    Unfortunately only one small country that still uses it officially these days.


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    Here are some examples of the Pinyin L and D selector markings through the years:

    First is an M22 produced in the early 1960s. It has straightforward L and D letters.

    1 M22.jpg

    Next is a 27 Million (Circa 1983) T56-1 milled UF. Note the D has "tails" that hang over the vertical. The L is normal.

    27 million L and D.jpg

    Here is a 31 million (Circa 1987), MAK90 third pin hole import. Note the D has short tails and a normal L.

    31 Million MAK90 3rd Pin Hole 2.jpg

    Last is a Type 56-2 with Pinyin L and D selector markings. This one was a Somali Pirate capture.

    Somalimerirosvojen_type_56-2_Maneesi_3.jpg

    Serial numbers on the Type 56-2 military version do not follow the normal serial number pattern. Most I can find photos of are in the 4 million range.


    As you can see they all have the football shaped milled selectors switch notches found on Chinese Type 56 AKs.
    Last edited by Original AK; 12-27-2015 at 05:32 PM.

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    These third pin MAK 90s, including the one posted above, were actually PLA military issue Chinese Type 56s with 31 and 32 million serial range; meaning circa 1987 and 1988 production.

    In order to fill a US export semi-automatic order, the Arsenal milled off the Chinese Arsenal mark and model designation. They also plugged the 3rd pin hole and kept the Pinyin L and D selector marks in place.

    We can agree that these were not imported until later.
    Last edited by Original AK; 12-27-2015 at 08:27 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Original AK View Post
    These third pin MAK 90s, including the one posted above, were actually PLA military issue Chinese Type 56s with 31 and 32 million serial range; meaning circa 1987 and 1988 production.

    In order to fill a US export semi-automatic order, the Arsenal milled off the Chinese Arsenal mark and model designation. They also plugged the 3rd pin hole and kept the Pinyin L and D selector marks in place.

    We can agree that these were not imported until later.
    Do you have a reference on this? The Type 81 was the standard PLA issue during that period and I don't see why the Type 56 would be issued to the PLA at this time.

    I don't believe the export variant with L/D selector markings was ever issued to the PLA from everything I ever read but never say never with the Chinese. I can understand how a 31M series SN could end up on a MAK-90 if it were in storage.
    Last edited by Bunker9939; 12-28-2015 at 02:19 AM.

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    Thanks Bunker9939 and Elliot 308 for adding to this conversation.

    Here is a photo of the above MAK90 cut up.

    china-23.jpg


    As you can see, the serial number is in the 31 million range, circa 1987. Note the steel around the MAK 90 markings where the Arsenal mark and 56-1 would have been. These markings have been milled out with the mill apparently coming from the front of the trunnion, You can also see that the font on the number 9 and 0 in the MAK 90 is not the same as on the other 9 and 0 in the serial number. Last, you can also see that the letter K in MAK is not well aligned. I saw another MAK 90 with a 32 million range done the same way. I also have at least one example of this type of milling in my Chinese parts bin from a former third pin MAK90. I will try to post pics front of the trunnion when I dig it out.

    I have found photos of stamped MAK90s with a small oval milling mark where the Chinese selector marks would have been. These bore S and F for export here. Seems to me these were also military Type 56s "pressed into commerce." I will post a pic if I come across it.

    My guess is that there was an order to fill and Type 56s sitting around so they milled off the Chinese markings, stamped MAK90, put a pin through the third evil hole, did some touch up bluing and shipped them here to their happy customers.

    I keep in mind that the old Communist economic model is to produce goods rather than sitting idle, even when there may not be an apparent need for what is being produced. Also, China's PLA oversaw large militias so it stands to reason they would continue to produce small arms for these militias to replace older weapons and not necessarily issue them Type 81s. If so there would have been a need to make even obsolete weapons for internal use.

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    some of the guns were crosstrained with used or mixed with a supply of crosstrained guns. ill explain. the 3rd pin mak 90s ive seen were a mixture of the following. milled chicom fixed stock L-D sel markings [most common] stamped L-D underfolder, L-D stamped rec fullstock [uncommon], also ive seen 2, one Russian and a second north Korean where they removed selector markings on milled recs with a round end mill cut leaving only the serial numbers not letters on opposite side. those were all rifles hanging around gunshows over the last 20 odd years. the L-D marked ones are so common I usually joke to other dealers and they to me ''hey I saw another learning disabilities ak over there'' stuff like that with a few guys I see a lot. there must have been endless amounts of them imported for the atf to have tracked them all down afterwards and so many escape into the wild.

    also I went thru boxes at an ogca gunshow [and later purchased the inventory] of 3rd pin mak 90 parts kits and parts trays pulled from em and asked the dealer about em he said they were recently released and atf had em fighting compasseco from 1990s until then [say it was around 2005] and when they finally allowed compeseco their goods once demilled the atf or someone had ground out the fucking bolt heads so a portion not all the guns just a portion of em were sabotaged to never work again even if built. I have the bolts ill be posting pics of em asap once I get a camera in my hands working again this evening. cheers!

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    almost forgot by the way the m22 so called export series probably was actually made for export as they went out of their way to put various countries proofmarks on the early m22 barrels under the handgaurds. youll find a polish s and a Hungarian proof then a Russian proof. then theres the uniquely odd mags they made up originally. take a close look at early m22 aks found in nam or plo kits or these 3rd pin semis youll see what im talking about. they were somewhat confusingly clandestine off the bat which seems to yield to an export use. its not hard to imagine how the pla or training schools would have been using these. they use a lot of crap in china at various places looks like. they had about a million chicks sporting these things dancing in courtyards at some point looks like in videos. if none made it into a system like that it would be crazy I guess.

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    Thanks for the clarification...I see where you're coming from now. Agree the militias were still outfitted with older weapons but the Type 81 was standard issue for the PLA (proper) during that timeframe. No doubt the Type 56 was still being produced domestically and for export long after the Type 81 was officially adopted by the Chinese military.

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    WHY L and D and NOT SOMETHING ELSE?

    So far, no one has put forth any photos or evidence of Type 56s with Chinese Characters on the trunnion or receiver with L and D selector marks. Until that happens we have to presume they were not made this way. We have to ask why?

    When you begin to consider why the Chinese marked some Type 56s with L and D, instead of some other number, letter or symbol, it is easy to see that these markings served a dual purpose. They were simultaneously:

    1. Made for clandestine export, and;
    2. Ready issue for the untrained Chinese masses.


    CHINESE MADE FOR CLANDESTINE EXPORT SMALL ARMS

    As Comm Bloc previously pointed out, the Chinese went to great lengths to obscure the fact that China was the maker of the M22, a sterile, made-for-clandestine-export AK. As he wrote, the Chinese even used various European proof marks on the barrel. The M22 was part of the Chinese “M Series” which were made-for-clandestine-export Chinese small arms. They made the M7 (RPG2), M20 (TT33) and M21 (SKS) and sent them all over the world. This was the dawn of their small arms export program.
    Later, in the mid-1960s, as the world became aware of their weapons export program, the Chinese abandoned their clandestine export program and sent Hanoi hundreds of thousands of Chi-Com weapons full of Chinese marking.

    As China continued to export small arms in the 1970s and 1980s they retained the L and D on their export weapons. These export weapons included either an obvious Chinese arsenal mark, such as /66\ or an oval with three or four numbers inside.

    WHY NOT SOME OTHER SELECTOR SWITCH MARKINGS?

    If the Chinese wanted to manufacture an export-only AK, they could have chosen S A and SA for safe, automatic and semi-automatic, respectively.

    Vietnam chose 0 30 and 1 as their selector markings.


    Receiver Selector.JPG
    Hungary chose the infinity symbol.
    Selector Hungarian 1.jpg

    North Korea chose the infinity symbol and a Roman Numeral 1 on its’ made-for-export Type 68 weapons.
    Selector North Korean Export.jpg

    Romania and Egypt selected S A R on their made-for-export AKs.
    Selector Egyptian Export.jpg



    AK CRATES AS BUG OUT BOXES

    As you know, Communist Countries often crate up 10 AKs, 40 magazines, 10 magazine pouches, 10 slings, 10 sets of various cleaning equipment and sometimes even 10 bayonets in a "bug out box." These are made to be issued off the back end of a truck if the need ever arises, such as if the USSR ever invaded the PRC, something the Chinese dread.

    JUmDVIf.jpg


    PINYIN - THE NEXT BEST SELECTOR SWITCH CHOICE FOR RESISTING THE BIG INVASION

    Because Pinyin was being taught almost universally in the PRC, at least for many years, any made-for-export Type 56 which bore L and D selector switch markings, which had not yet been exported, could easily be pressed into service within the homeland if necessary.

    Any soldier, militiaman or citizen, who had been schooled in rudimentary Pinyin could quickly understand the selector switch markings, L for Automatic and D for single shot.
    Last edited by Original AK; 01-08-2016 at 01:43 PM.
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    My understanding was L&D was only for export as well. Hard to tell on my milled Type 56, but if you look at it from a certain light, you can faintly see the outline of L&D.
    WTB: Russian Slabside mags, Yugo 4 cell mag pouch

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    Quote Originally Posted by Original AK View Post
    Later, in the mid-1960s, as the world became aware of their weapons export program, the Chinese abandoned their clandestine export program and sent Hanoi hundreds of thousands of Chi-Com weapons full of Chinese marking.
    From a macro level it's not that they abandoned their clandestine exports but strategic and ideologic considerations played a vital role.

    The CCP leaders had paid close attention to the Vietnamese Communist revolution from the beginning. Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, and other Chinese leaders had developed close relationships with Ho Chi Minh. China's determination to offer material and manpower support for the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) was based on a mixture of strategic and ideological considerations. Chinese leaders comprehended Vietnam's strategic importance to the security of China's southern border. Beijing regarded Vietnam along with Korea and Taiwan as the most likely places where the United States might establish bases and possibly initiate military hostilities.

    Under the terms of the 1954 Geneva Agreements, the DRV could not augment its military forces. Nevertheless, Beijing continued to supply significant quantities of arms and ammunition to Hanoi. As Hanoi developed its army (the People's Army of Vietnam, or PAVN) into a modern force in the late 1950s, China stepped up its efforts to equip and train North Vietnamese soldiers.

    1955: Chairman Mao Zedong and President Ho Chi Minh of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam at a reception in Peking (Beijing), China celebrating the signing of the Joint Communiqué between their Countries.


    Between 1955 and 1963, China provided the DRV with 247 million yuans' worth of military aid, including 240,000 guns, 2,730 pieces of artillery, 15 planes, 28 naval vessels, 175 million rounds of ammunition, and other military equipment and supplies. In 1962 alone, Beijing supplied 90,000 rifles and machine guns to North Vietnam.

    In the early 1960s, when Soviet policy toward Indochina was equivocal at best, Ho Chi Minh and the North Vietnamese government regarded China as the only reliable source of military supplies for their revolutionary cause. Even though, under Brezhnev and Kosygin, Moscow adopted a more active policy of support for the DRV, Ho Chi Minh continued to look to China for ways to achieve unification and independence. Ho regarded the Soviet Union and China as Vietnam's big brother and big sister, and he hoped for united Sino-Soviet support for his revolutionary cause in Vietnam.

    In 1960, revolutionary prospects in South Vietnam looked good, and Chinese leaders agreed to give Hanoi full support. Beijing had its own reasons for supporting Hanoi's new strategy for the liberation of South Vietnam. The growth of U.S. military involvement in South Vietnam, culminating in the formal establishment of the U.S. Military Assistance Command in Vietnam (MACV) in February 1962, caused Chinese leaders deep concern. They believed that the United States, which in their view had failed in Korea and Taiwan in the 1950s, was now expanding the war against China into Vietnam.

    In order to meet Hanoi's urgent needs, Beijing gave highest priority to supplying arms and military equipment to Hanoi. Between 1961 and 1972, China supplied Hanoi with 280 122mm howitzers, 960 57mm antiaircraft guns, and 20,237 mortars, while the People's Liberation Army (PLA) received 200 howitzers, 2,000 antiaircraft guns, and 17,000 mortars. The Chinese Type 56 assault rifle was provided to nearly all the regular PAVN soldiers even before the PLA soldiers had been equipped. Often, when Hanoi's requests exceeded China's production capability, Beijing transferred arms and equipment directly from the PLA to Hanoi's inventory. (REF: Journey of Military History - Vietnam War)
    Last edited by Bunker9939; 01-09-2016 at 12:32 AM. Reason: typo

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    Very good write up on this subject--Frenchy
    Youth is wasted on Young people,Ben Franklin

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    Frenchy - Thanks for your service and for posting on this thread.

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    CIRCA 1967 CHI-COM TYPE 56 WITH CHINESE CHARACTERS AND L & D SELECTOR MARKS?

    It appears that the Chinese likely issued Type 56s to the PLA with L and D selector markings.

    Here is the possible "evidence" from Martin Brayley's book KALASHNIKOV AK-47 SERIES, first published in the UK in 2013.

    Page 32 and 33 show what appears to be the very same Chinese Type 56.
    z page.jpg

    This photo shows the serial number, 11001943. If you accept that adding the first two digits of a Chinese Type 56 serial number to 1956, you conclude this particular AK was made circa 1967 (1956 plus 11) . Pinyin was being widely taught in China at this time.

    Hanzi markings.jpg


    This photo shows the L and D Pinyin selector markings.

    selector marks.jpg

    Is this the same Type 56? Each photograph depicts dark wood; as does the one page 34. The photo on page 34 is the same Type 56 on page 32 in that there is a noticeable vertical scratch in the buttstock in both photos. The magazine appears to be the same one in each photograph. While by not means proof, these photos suggest that it is the same Type 56. There is some marking on the bolt carrier but I can not tell if it is a serial number that corresponds to the receiver serial number or a proof mark. This particular Type 56 bears a non-Chinese proof mark near the /66\ Arsenal mark. If it is a non-Chinese proof mark and the left side of the rifle has a non-Chinese proof mark it is likely the same Type 56. If so, the question has arguably been settled: The Chinese did, indeed, manufacture L and D selector marked AKs with Chinese Characters Type 56, at least in circa 1967.

    I have a Vietnam bring back Type 56 with a 10 million serial range. The selector markings are Chinese characters.

    If you have an opinion, or alternative photos of a Type 56 with Chinese Characters and L and D selector marks, please post them.

    Thanks.
    Elliot308 likes this.

 

 
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