PK machine gun
PKM machine gun
PKM general-purpose machine gun
Type Squad automatic weapon, General-purpose machine gun
Place of origin Soviet Union
Service history
In service 1961-present
Used by Several
Wars Several
Production history
Designer Mikhail Kalashnikov
Number built over 1,000,000
Weight PK: 9 kg (Script error lb) (gun + integral bipod) + 7.7 kg (Script error lb) (tripod).
PKM: 7.5 kg (Script error lb) (gun + integral bipod) + 4.5 kg (Script error lb) (tripod).
PKT (tank): 10.5 kg (Script error lb)
Length PK: 1,203 mm (Bad rounding hereScript error in)
PKM: 1,192 mm (Bad rounding hereScript error in)
PKT: 1,098 mm (Bad rounding hereScript error in)
Barrel length PK: 658 mm (Script error in)
PKM: 645 mm (Script error in)
PKT: 772 mm (Script error 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 range 1,640 yd (100–1,500 m sight adjustments) [1]
Feed system Belts in 100/200/250 round boxes
Sights Tangent iron sights

The PK is a 7.62 mm general-purpose machine gun designed in the Soviet Union and currently in production in Russia. The PK machine gun was introduced in the 1960s and replaced the SGM and RPD machine guns in Soviet service. It remains in use as a front-line infantry and vehicle-mounted weapon with Russia's armed forces, and has been exported extensively.

Design detailsEdit

The original PK (Пулемёт Калашникова: Pulemyot Kalashnikova, or "Kalashnikov's Machinegun") was a development of Kalashnikov's automatic rifle design, firing the 7.62x54mmR Eastern Bloc standard ammunition originally from the Mosin–Nagant. It 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 linked 25 round belts. 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.


PKM DD-ST-85-01257



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


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


The PKMSN (ПКМС Ночной: "PKMS Night-Vision") is a special model of the tripod-mounted variant that can mount night sights for low-visibility operations. The PKMSN1 model uses the NSPU night-vision sight. The PKMSN2 model uses the improved NSPUM night-vision sight.


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

PK PechenegEdit

The PKP Pecheneg is a new Squad Automatic Weapon variant of 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. Its design incorporates lessons learned in the Soviet Union's campaign in Afghanistan, where the RPK was found to be lacking in sustainable suppressive firepower.

Foreign VariantsEdit

HCP PKM-"NATO" (Poland)Edit

In early 1990s the Polish armed forces were looking for a replacement for the PK-series machineguns they had in service as part of a preparation to join NATO. 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 (Serbia)Edit

The Zastava M84 is a Serbian-made licensed copy of the PK / PKS. The Zastava M86 is a copy of the solenoid-triggered PKT.

Norinco Type 80 (People's Republic of China)Edit

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

Arsenal MG-1 & MG-1M (Bulgaria)Edit

The MG-1 is a licensed copy of the PKM and has 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.

Production statusEdit

The PKM and other variants are in production in Russia and currently are 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.


External linksEdit

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