PK machine gun

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"PKT" redirects here. For other uses, see PKT (disambiguation).
PK machine gun
7,62 KK PKM Helsinki 2012.JPG
PKM general-purpose machine gun
Place of origin Soviet Union
Service history
In service 1961–present
Used by See Users
Wars Vietnam War
South African Border War
Cambodian Civil War
Yom Kippur War
Cambodian–Vietnamese War
Sino-Vietnamese War
Soviet war in Afghanistan
Iran–Iraq War
First Chechen War
Yugoslav wars
Second Congo War
Second Chechen War
War in Afghanistan
Iraq War
Cambodian–Thai border dispute
2008 South Ossetia war
2011 Libyan Civil War
Syrian Civil War
War in Donbass
Yemeni Civil War (2015)[1]
Various others
Production history
Designer Mikhail Kalashnikov
Number built Over 1,000,000
Variants PK, PKT, PKM, PKP
Weight PK: 9 kg (19.84 lb) (gun + integral bipod) + 7.7 kg (16.98 lb) (tripod).
PKM: 7.5 kg (16.53 lb) (gun + integral bipod) + 4.5 kg (9.92 lb) (tripod).
PKTM (tank): 10.5 kg (23.15 lb)[2][3][4][5]
Length PK: 1,203 mm (47.4 in)
PKM: 1,192 mm (46.9 in)
PKT: 1,098 mm (43.2 in)
Barrel length PK: 658 mm (25.9 in)
PKM: 645 mm (25.4 in)
PKT: 772 mm (30.4 in)

Cartridge 7.62×54mmR
Action Gas-operated, open bolt
Rate of fire PK, PKM: 650–750 round/min.
PKT: 800 round/min
Muzzle velocity PK, PKM: 825 m/s
Effective firing range 1,000m (100–1,000 m sight adjustments)[6]
Feed system Belts in 100/200/250 round boxes
Sights Tangent iron sights (default);
Optical, Night-vision, Thermal and Radar sights[7]

The PK is a 7.62 mm general-purpose machine gun designed in the Soviet Union and currently in production in Russia.[8] The original PK machine gun was introduced in 1961 and then the improved PKM in 1969 to replace the SGM and RP-46 machine guns in Soviet service. It remains in use as a front-line infantry and vehicle-mounted weapon with Russia's armed forces. The PK has been exported extensively and produced in several other countries under license.

Design details[edit]

The original PK (Russian: Пулемёт Калашникова: Pulemyot Kalashnikova, or "Kalashnikov's Machinegun") was a development of Kalashnikov's AK47 automatic rifle design, firing the 7.62x54mmR Eastern Bloc standard ammunition originally from the Mosin–Nagant. The bolt and carrier design are similar to the AK, as is the stripping procedure performed to remove those mechanisms from the gun for cleaning. The bolt and bolt carrier are oriented upside down compared to the AK, with the piston and gas system being underneath the barrel. The long stroke piston is hinged off the bolt carrier group to make it possible to bend the group in and out of the receiver for maintenance. The gun uses a non-reciprocating charge handle on the right side of the receiver to charge the gun, and the gun fires from an open bolt, which improves cooling compared to a closed bolt design, and prevents the gun from being able to cook off if extremely overheated. The barrel is a quick detach type with a carry handle that sits to the left of the receiver. The rear sight is identical in design to the AK and Mosin–Nagant, except that it is oriented backwards with the notch forward and the hinge behind. It also features full windage adjustment in the form of small dials on either side of the notch, a feature not seen on the guns that preceded it.

The gun is equipped with a simple bipod and is designed as a squad-level support weapon; it is also suitable for installation and vehicle mounting. The PK machine gun can be used as a light anti-aircraft weapon when it is put on an AA mount. Most are belt-fed, using 25 round non-disintegrating belts, which have links that wrap around the case shoulder all the way around, and are linked by a coiling wire on each side. These 25-round belts can be linked to any length necessary. Typical of Soviet machine guns, the standard model feeds from the right and ejects its spent cases via an ejection port on the left side of the weapon, contrary to the right side ejection port seen in most Western machine guns. For the light machine gun role, the PKM is used as the standard squad automatic weapon of the Russian Army, and uses a 100-round non-disintegrating belt contained in a metal can that can be attached under the gun. All openings on the gun, particularly the ejector port on the left and the belt feed entrance, are covered with spring-loaded dust covers so that the openings are only exposed when they need to be.

The rimmed 7.62x54mm cartridges are set in the belt, held against the shoulder inside the full looped links, leaving the rim exposed at the rear. Rimless cartridges can be fed forward through the link with semi-looped links. The PK series of guns uses a mechanism to pull the rounds out of the belt from the back and drops them down into the feed way, allowing the bolt to strip them and feed them into the chamber on firing.




The PKM (ПК Модернизированный: "Kalashnikov's Machine-gun Modernized"), was adopted into service in 1969. It is a modernized, product-improved version of the PK weighing only 7.5 kg without ammunition.


The PKMN (ПКМ Ночной: "PKM Night-Vision") is a variant that can mount a night sight. The PKMN-1 can thus mount the multi-model NSPU-3 (1PN51) night vision scope[9] while the PKMN2 can mount the multi-model NSPUM (1PN58) night vision scope.[10]


For heavier employment, the PKMS (ПКМ Станковый: "PKM Mounted") is based on the Stepanov tripod mount and weighs 12 kg.


The PKMSN (ПКМС Ночной: "PKMS Night-Vision") is similarly to the PKMN a special model of the tripod-mounted variant that can mount night sights for low-visibility operations. The PKMSN-1 model uses the multi-model NSPU-3 (1PN51) night vision scope[9] and the PKMSN2 uses the multi-model NSPUM (1PN58) night vision scope.[10]


The PKT (ПК Танковый, "PK Tank") is a further development of the PK to replace the SGMT Goryunov vehicle-mounted machine gun. Modifications include the removal of the stock, a longer and heavier barrel, a gas regulator and an electric solenoid trigger.

PKP Pecheneg[edit]

The PKP Pecheneg is a new General-purpose machine gun based on the PKM. It has a heavy fixed barrel encased in a radial cooling sleeve that uses forced-air cooling, much like the Lewis Gun of World War I.

Foreign Variants[edit]

HCP PKM-"NATO" (Poland)[edit]

In the early 1990s, as part of the preparations to join NATO, the Polish armed forces were looking for a replacement for the PK-series machine guns then in service. The H. Cegielski - Poznań S.A. Works in Poznań modified the PK/PKS to feed standard 7.62x51mm NATO cartridges and use NATO standard ammo belts. The new model received the code-name PKM-NATO. The modifications included a heavier barrel, a larger chamber, and a redesign of the lock, extractor, and the entire feeding mechanism. The prototype was tested from 1997 to 1999, but was rejected. The Polish Army adopted the UKM-2000 machine gun instead – which was also based on the PKM.

Zastava M84/M86 (Yugoslavia/Serbia)[edit]

The Zastava M84 is a Yugoslav/Serbian-made licensed copy of the PK / PKS. The Zastava M86 is a copy of the solenoid-triggered PKT. These variants can be easily recognised by their unhollowed stock.

Norinco Type 80 (People's Republic of China)[edit]

The Type 80 is a Chinese-made copy of the PKM / PKMS.

Arsenal MG-1 & MG-1M (Bulgaria)[edit]

The MG-1 is a licensed copy of the PKM with a synthetic buttstock and pistol grip. The MG-1M, an improved Squad Automatic Weapon variant, has improved features, such as a redesigned barrel that allows for better cooling.

Cugir Mitraliera md. 66 (Romania)[edit]

The Mitraliera md. 66 is a Romanian-made copy of the PKM.

KGK general purpose machine gun (Hungary)[edit]

the KGK universal (general purpose) machine gun was based on the SG43 Goryunov machinegun and produced in Hungary during the 1960s and 1970s. It was used by the Hungarian army on a limited scale and was later replaced by a domestically produced copy of the Kalashnikov PKM machine gun.

Production status[edit]

The PKM and other variants are in production in Russia and are currently exported to many nations. Additionally, various models are manufactured locally around the globe. Zastava Arms produces the PK under license as the M84 (along with the PKT as the M86), and it remains in use with many of the former Yugoslav successor states. The most recent modification is the Russian Pecheneg, which features a forced air cooling barrel that cannot be removed in the field for quick replacement, unusual for a modern machine gun.


Ukrainian soldier training with a PKM machine gun.
A U.S. Marine firing the PKM machine gun.
Finnish peacekeeper in Chad armed with PKM machine gun.
Hungarian soldier armed with a PKM machine gun.
Polish soldier with a PKM machine gun.
Iraqi Army soldier firing a PKS machine gun as part of the School of Infantry.
Syrian soldier with a PKM machine gun.
Mongolian soldier with a PKM machine gun with a telescopic sight (Polish PCS-5).

Former users[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Yemen War 2015 - Heavy Clashes On The Saudi Border As Houthi Rebels Attack Saudi Military Outposts (in Arabic). Yemen. 2015. Event occurs at 6:14. Retrieved 19 June 2015. 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies – Russian Arms
  7. ^ "Sights". Russian Close Combat Weapon. Moscow: Association "Defense Enterprises Assistance League". 2010. ISBN 978-5-904540-04-3. 
  8. ^ "7.62mm PKM Kalashnikov modernized machine gun". Retrieved 13 November 2014. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao Jones, Richard D. Jane's Infantry Weapons 2009/2010. Jane's Information Group; 35 edition (January 27, 2009). ISBN 978-0-7106-2869-5.
  12. ^ a b c d "G3 Defence Magazine August 2010". Retrieved 13 November 2014. 
  13. ^ "Small Arms Survey - Working Papers" (PDF). 8 November 2012. Retrieved 13 November 2014. 
  14. ^ Type 80 7.62mm General Purpose Machine Gun. Retrieved on September 11, 2008.
  15. ^ Mikulka, Zdeněk (19 February 2010). "Střelby z palubních zbraní vrtulníků Mi-171Š v Afghánistánu". Zahraniční mise. Ministerstvo obrany. Retrieved 16 May 2013. 
  16. ^ "Puolustusvoimat". Retrieved 13 November 2014. 
  17. ^
  18. ^[verification needed]
  19. ^ [1]
  20. ^ "SLAHLAR". Retrieved 13 November 2014. 
  21. ^ "NVA". Retrieved 13 November 2014. 
  22. ^ Försvarsmakten - Avvecklade materielsystem (Swedish Defence Forces)

External links[edit]