RedWolf Airsoft Review: Real Sword Type 56


Due to the political circumstances and events after the second world war, the Soviet Union and People's Republic of China were friendly neighbours to each other. A lot of technological advancements from the former were adopted in China, most notably (from the viewpoint of this article), the Kalashnikov AK-47. 

The first Type 56 assault rifles were manufactured with milled receivers, true to the original. As the more cost-effective and lightweight stamped receiver along with other improvements was adopted and the AK-47 redesignated the AKM, China followed suit and the Type 56 wasn't produced with milled receivers for long. As an innovation, the Chinese added a folding spike bayonet to the assault rifle. Another characteristic of the Type 56 is the full front sight hood.

The Type 56 and its various variants have been widely exported for both military and other LE organizations, as well as civilian sport shooters and hunters worldwide. The Type 56 was widely used by the NVA and VC in the Vietnam war, and was also met in Afghanistan by the Russians in the eighties. It has also seen use in Iraq, despite their domestic production of weaponry.


As with the RS Type 97, the Type 56 is packaged in a carboard box with a limited amount of prints. Everything is held securely in place without having the various accessories rattle around. The box includes the AEG, one 150 round steel magazine, a loading tube, accessory/cleaning kit, rear sight removal/installation tool, small oil bottle and a manual.

The overall feel and looks of the RS Type 56 is incredibly hard to separate from the real thing. The RS is just slightly lighter, as the bayonet is flexible plastic instead of actual steel. The difference is very hard to tell. Having a motor in the pistol grip, this part is a bit fatter than the real one, but it feels a bit smaller thanks to the rounded contours. The wood parts are actual pressed wood with a durable treatment to protect the wood from environmental elements - made precisely the same way and from the same wood as the real ones!


The RS Type 56 is as tough as they come. Not only is the finish on the wood parts durable, but the all steel construction gives them a solid spine to attach to. The receiver is pressed and riveted into shape, and finished by oxidation just like the real one. Even the spot-welds are made to give a realistic appearance, even though the internal parts aren't there! The steel outer barrel fits snugly into a trunion block attached to the receiver, and is secured in place by two set screws. A groove on the top aligns it straight every time, and a flange prevents it from sinking too deep into the trunion block. This is the most durable construction we have seen in an airsoft AK! The rear of the outer barrel has two extended tangs to attach the hop-up unit. Having the entire outer barrel and hop-up attachment points as one piece ensures proper alignment and makes the structure even stronger.

The installation method of the sights and gas block is certainly worthy a mention. Instead of screws, these parts are interference-fitted securely to the barrel, just like on real AKs. There are no screws to come loose, so the structure is more realistic and strong than typical airsoft replicas. The front collar of the handguard has a lever for unlocking it, and it is tight. Naturally the accessory/cleaning kit doubles as a tool for this purpose, like many others.

The front sight is adjustable for elevation and windage. The tool for elevation adjustments is included, but the windage tool is sold separately, as it is a bit more complex and would just increase the price tag for most users. Real AK sights are commonly adjusted with a hammer, so if you don't mind a few dents on your AEG you can take this route as well.

The rear sight has adjustments for various ranges, obviously marked with the real Type 56 in mind. It is advisable to zero the AEG using the front sight like with the real one, and then figure out what rear sight setting is optimal for longer ranges. The rear sight spring is extremely stiff, so the rear sight is installed and removed with a special tool. This is especially handy, in case you want to add an adjustable ghost ring "Mojo" sight to your Type 56.



Ever tried to fit a real AK receiver cover to an airsoft AK, and found that the measurements were just a little bit off? And how mad you were for buying it for the rail, only to find out it didn't fit after all and you would have to find another way to put a scope on your AK? This won't be the case with Real Sword. The change they made is very subtle, but all the more important in cases like this.

The careful designers of RS found that to cut corners, previous makers of airsoft AKs had actually enlarged the receiver just a little bit, to fit the standard sized gearbox inside. Instead of the easy way out, RS modified the gearbox design to be a bit shorter. Most of the gearbox parts are still general, but the piston is modified in the rear, and the stroke is one tooth shorter.

Another change was made to the attachment of the selector, which has less play and more contact area with the levers on the inside. The selector lever is a bit like a leaf spring, and curves inwards along its length to the front. This, coupled with the stamped steel receiver, gives that infamous "AK-clack" sound to the selector! It is a very recognizable sound, and could mean you're in big trouble if you happen to be on the OD-wearing side with an M16 in your hands! Of course the more lethally trained guerrillas would lift the selector just a little bit for stealthy action.

The folding stock 56-1 model has a stock that has no competition in the airsoft market. Instead of using second grade materials, RS went all the way with the stock and made it really sturdy. It would not make sense to make an AEG with a steel outer barrel and receiver, but make a stock that cracks and folds when you shoulder it. Instead, RS made a CNC-machined locking piece and stamped the stock with a similar process as the real ones are made. You can almost feel the stock alone nudge against your shoulder, that's how real it feels!



The standard velocity of the RS Type 56 series is around 295 fps. After seeing and hearing the internals in action, we are confident that the gearbox and parts can handle much higher velocities just by changing the spring. The battery space is not a really limiting factor either.

The standard 455 mm inner barrel is made to similar specs as Tokyo Maruis, which means that for a higher accuracy a tightbore barrel is advisable. The outer barrel however is made to fit the inner barrel snugly, which reduces vibrations and offers a higher potential for accuracy, especially on full auto.



That is what we thought after getting to know the RS Type 56. For the sake of being objective, we must admit that an AK is always an AK for the ergonomics, but that's hardly the fault of the replica. Initially we thought of it as another airsoft AK with just a bayonet and something, but more and more details were uncovered one by one. Maybe a captive screw here or hidden thread adaptor attachment there don't make a difference alone, but together the amount of detailing and thought that has gone into the RS Type 56 is just astonishing.

There we were, thinking that no-one could bring something new in the field when it comes to something as basic as an AK.

The bucket is one drop short of full, but a big splash is the price. About half of what you have had to pay for a conversion kit before, and now you get great internals with the deal? It couldn't get any better really!




NOW GO GET ONE! (Click on the RedWolf Airsoft Logo Below To Proceed to Check RS Type 56 AEG and Accessories)

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