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Type 58

Assault Rifle [ 1958 ]

The Type 58 is the locally-produced North Korean version of the famous Soviet-era Kalashnikov AK-47 Assault Rifle.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 12/28/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

During the Cold War that followed World War 2, Korea became a divided nation after the Japanese occupation was ended. The North was governed by the communist-aligned Soviet Union with the South managed by the United States. This, naturally, influenced the stock of weapons kept in inventory for the decades that followed. When North Korea invaded the South in an attempt to force unification under the communist agenda, Soviet leader Josef Stalin and neighboring China both blessed the effort, thusly beginning the Korean War (1950-1953).

Following the end of the war, which saw a loose armistice drawn up (though the war was never fully declared over through a truce) and the Soviet influence of North Korean weapons continued. With the widespread acceptance and subsequent use of the famous Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle, the North Korean began adoption of the type as the "Type 58". The Type 58 formally entered DPRK service in 1958 through localized production and continues in its defined assault rifle role today. The Type 58 has seen production reach some 50,000 units - a rather modest total for a Kalashnikov-inspired weapon system.

At its core, the Type 58 retains much of the design and function of the original AK-47. This includes the internal rotating bolt design, automatic function and gas-operation - the latter by way of a gas cylinder mounted atop the barrel assembly, tapping expelled gasses from the barrel and using this pressure to drive a piston. The receiver remained largely unchanged complete with the fire selector allowing for semi-automatic and full-automatic fire. The weapon was chambered for the Soviet 7.62x39mm rifle cartridge and fed from the same curved detachable box magazine inserted ahead of the trigger group. Spent shell casings were ejected through a port along the right frontal side of the receiver. The trigger resided in an oblong ring with the magazine release just ahead. Aft of the trigger was a standalone pistol grip. A solid stock was fitted to the end of the receiver in the usual way. The barrel protruded from the receiver and was partially shrouded by a hand guard. The under-cylinder barrel approach made the AK-47 and its derivatives one of the most identifiable guns of the Cold War. The barrel was capped by a short muzzle and front sight. The rear sight was fitted over the receiver ahead of the magazine area. The furniture (stock, upper and lower hand guard sections) were wooden and sling loops allowed a shoulder strap to be affixed and facilitate transport. A field bayonet could be fitted under the muzzle.

The Type 58 features a weight of 8.4lbs with an overall length of 890mm. The barrel is 415mm in length. Rate-of-fire is approximately 600 rounds per minute with a muzzle velocity of 715 meters per second. Effective target range is roughly 300 to 400 meters while maximum target area range is listed at 2,500 meters.

Beyond its use by North Korea, the Type 58 has seen limited procurement across Cambodia, Laos and North Vietnam (and subsequently Vietnam proper). Additionally the type was identified and used throughout Iran and Nicaragua. Its reach has ensured it a place in bloody conflicts such as the Vietnam War (1955-1975), Laotian Civil War (1953-1975), the Cambodian Civil War (1970-1975), the Cambodian-Vietnamese War (1977-1989), the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) and the Sandinista Revolution of Nicaragua (1961-1990).

The Type 58 assault rifle has since appeared to two distinct forms - the original with solid stock (Type 58A) and another with a stamped steel folding stock for a more compact form, the hinged dual-strut stock folding under the receiver (Type 58B). North Korea also produced the AKM/AKMS as the Type 68A/B and the AKS-74 as the Type 88.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


Service Year

North Korea national flag graphic
North Korea


Assault Rifle

State Factories - North Korea
(View other Arms-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of Iran National flag of Nicaragua National flag of North Korea National flag of Vietnam Cambodia; Iran; Laos; Nicaragua; North Korea; North Vietnam; Vietnam
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Automatic Function
Features a mechanical function to automate the firing action.
Assault Rifle
Modern class of long gun featuring select-fire properties, automatic internal function, and magazine feeding.

Overall Length
890 mm
35.04 in
Barrel Length
415 mm
16.34 in
Empty Wgt
8.38 lb
3.80 kg

Iron Front and Rear.


Gas-Operated; Rotating Bolt; Selective Fire

Rotating Bolt
System utilizes internal mechanism to lock the breech or rear barrel assembly prior to firing.
Gas-operated system is featured, typically involving a gas cylinder and rear-driven piston directing energy to the bolt component.
(Material presented above is for historical and entertainment value and should not be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation - always consult official manufacturer sources for such information)



Sample Visuals**

Graphical image of a 7.62x39mm rifle cartridge
Rounds / Feed

30-round detachable box magazine
Cartridge relative size chart
*May not represent an exhuastive list; calibers are model-specific dependent, always consult official manufacturer sources.
**Graphics not to actual size; not all cartridges may be represented visually; graphics intended for general reference only.
Max Eff.Range
1,312 ft
(400 m | 437 yd)
Muzzle Velocity
2,345 ft/sec
(715 m/sec)

Type 58 - Base Series Designation
Type 58A - Solid Stock
Type 58B - Folding steel metal stock

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Images Gallery

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Image of the Type 58
Image courtesy of the United States Army

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