This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Type 58 assault rifle" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (August 2012) (Learn how and when to remove this message)
Type 58
The Type 58
TypeAssault rifle
Place of originNorth Korea
Service history
In service1958–present
Used bySee Users
Production history
DesignerMikhail Kalashnikov[a]
ManufacturerFactory 61/65
No. built800,000[4]
Rate of fire600–650 rounds/min[3]
Feed system30-round detachable AK magazines
SightsIron sights
Type 58 assault rifle
Revised RomanizationOpalsik jadongbochong
McCune–ReischauerOp'alsik chadongboch'ong

The Type 58 (Korean: 58식자동보총) is an assault rifle made in North Korea derived from the Soviet AK-47[4] designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov. This was the first weapon made in North Korea alongside the PPSh-41, made under license as the Type 49.[5] It was made in Factory 61 and 65[5] in Chongjin.[3]


After the Korean War (1950–1953), North Korea was allied with the Soviet Union and continued to receive military support from them throughout the Cold War.[6] President Kim Il Sung ordered the fabrication of the Type 58. The assault rifle was first produced in 1958.[5] These were made initially with Soviet components until the North Koreans were able to make the parts on their own.[5]

Before production of the Type 58 ceased, it's reported that around 800,000 were made.[4] North Korea eventually turned production towards the Type 68 since it was getting too much time-consuming to make the Type 58 even though the cost of labor to make the assault rifle is not a problem.[4] Production eventually was halted in 1968[3] and shifted to the Type 68 in the same year.

The Type 58 was exported to Cuba and Vietnam in the 1960s before it showed up in parts of Africa, the Middle East and South America.[5]

The Type 68 was reported to be exported to the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front covertly in the 1980s.[3]


Type 58

While the Type 58 is based on the AK-47 with the milled receiver,[5] the difference between the two assault rifles is that the former has identifying marks such as the five-point star in a circle and Type 58 in hangul.[5] The Type 58 has a firing rate at 600-650 RPM.[3]

The Type 58's quality of finish bluing depends, which usually ranges from average to poor.[3]

Initial production models were not made with bayonet lugs.[7] Later models were produced with said bayonet lugs.[7]

Type 68

The Type 68 was made with features from the Type 58 with features such as the solid catalpa wood stock, wood pistol grip, handguards and smooth sheet-steel top covers.[3] It has a swivel retaining bracket spot-welded on the left side of the receiver.[3] The pistol grip stud and lower stock tang are riveted in place.[3] The milled gas block is flat on both sides and, like the Type 58, has a sling swivel that extends outward from the left side.[3] The folding stock variant of the Type 68 has the Soviet underfolding design with stamped steel struts and buttplate.[3] The rear sights are graduated to a distance of 800 meters.[3] The trigger group is not based on the Soviet AKM. Instead, the trigger is a double-hook design based on milled receiver-based AKs.[5]

The rifle has a barrel length of 415 mm with a velocity of 715 m/s.[8] Its practical rate of fire is at 40-100 RPM.[8] While it has a sight range of 800 meters, its effective range is at 300 to 400 meters.[8]

While Type 68s used hangul markings in the fire selectors, exported versions uses non-hangul markings[3] with 1 for semi-auto and an infinity symbol for automatic fire.[5] The markings consist of a five-point star in a circle and Type 68 in hangul.[5]


Type 58-1

A variant of the Type 58 with a folding stock.[4]

Type 68

The Type 68 also known as Type 68 NK, is a North Korean version of the AKM, it was adopted in 1968 to replace the Type 58.[8] It has no rate reducer.[9] It has its own bayonet, which is based on the AK-47 bayonet, but it has a different pommel mount for it.[10] These bayonets were also issued in Cuba, which have green scabbards instead of tan scabbards, which is used in the Korean People's Army.[11]

Type 68-1

The Type 68-1 features an underfolding stock like the AKMS with holes in it to help reduce overall weight.[4][12]


Non-State Actors



  1. ^ Being the inventor/designer of the AK-47, which the Type 58 is based on.


  1. ^ a b Interagency Intelligence Assessment: Grenada: A First Look at Mechanisms of Control and Foreign Involvement. CIA. 19 December 1983.
  2. ^ a b c Islamic State Weapons in High-Profile Operations in North-East Syria (Report). London: Conflict Armament Research. January 2024. pp. 34–36. Retrieved 7 March 2024.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Iannamico, Frank (4 May 2012). "AK Rifle of the Democratic People's Republic of (North) Korea". Small Arms Review. Archived from the original on 26 September 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Shea, Dan; Hong, Heebum (27 March 2013). "North Korean Small Arms". Small Arms Defense Journal. p. 3. Archived from the original on 16 August 2019. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Iannamico, Frank (11 September 2018). "DPRK's AKs: Inside the Shadowy World of North Korean AK Rifles". Tactical Life Gun Magazine. Archived from the original on 12 March 2023.
  6. ^ McCollum, Ian (19 September 2016). "North Korean Type 58 Milled AK". Forgotten Weapons.
  7. ^ a b Roodhorst 2015, p. 1417.
  8. ^ a b c d "Type 68 Assault Rifle".
  9. ^ US Department of Defense. "TYPE-68 (AKM) ASSAULT RIFLE" (PDF). North Korea Country Handbook 1997, Appendix A: Equipment Recognition. p. A-77.
  10. ^ Cobb, Ralph E. (2010). "Bayonets of North Korea".
  11. ^ Cobb, Ralph E. (2009). "Bayonets of Cuba".
  12. ^ Roodhorst 2015, p. 1420.
  13. ^ "Communist Military Aid to Nicaragua:Trends and Implications" (PDF). 8 December 1987. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 January 2017. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  14. ^ a b "Fusiles De Asalto" (in Spanish). Desarrollos Industriales Casanave Perú. Archived from the original on 13 April 2014.
  15. ^ A Syrian-produced North Korean Type 68 rifle on sale in Yemen. We can notice the Syrian Defense Laboratories logo stamped on it, which we have seen in the past across Syria. (h/t @FighterXwar_ar).[better source needed]