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PK machine gun
PKM machine gun.jpg
PKM general purpose machine gun
Type General purpose machine gun
Place of origin  Soviet Union
Service history
In service 1965-present
Used by See Users
Production history
Designer Mikhail Kalashnikov
Designed Ca early 1960s
Number built over 1,000,000
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).
PKT (tank): 10.5 kg (23.15 lb)
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 7.62x54mmR
Action Gas-Operated, open bolt
Rate of fire PK, PKM: 650 round/min. PKT: 800 round/min
Muzzle velocity PK, PKM: 825 m/s
Effective range 100—1,500 m sight adjustments [1]
Feed system Belts in 100/200/250 round boxes
Sights Open 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. The PK machine gun can be used as a light anti-aircraft weapon when it is put on an AA mount. One feature typical of Soviet machine guns is that the standard model feeds from the right and ejects its spent cases via an ejection port on the left side of the weapon, as opposed to the right side ejection port seen in most Western machine guns.


Design Details

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. Most are belt-fed, using linked 25 round belts. These 25-round belts can be linked to any length necessary.




The PKM (ПК Модернизированный: "Kalashnikov's Machine-gun Modernized") is the current model. 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 N?: "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 Pecheneg

The PKP Pecheneg is a 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 the Soviet Union's campaign in Afghanistan, where the RPK was found to be lacking in sustainable suppressive firepower.

Foreign Variants

HCP PKM-"NATO" (Poland)

In early 1990's 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)

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)

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

Production Status

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.


Hungarian soldier armed with a PK machine gun.
Members of SOB with PK machine gun in Chad.
A Kurdish Peshmerga (COBRA special forces) officer fires a PKM machine gun.
Polish soldier with a PKM machine gun.
Iraqi Army Soldiers spend a day at the range, firing the PKC machine gun as part of the School of Infantry.
Syrian soldier aiming with a PKM machine gun.

Former Warsaw Pact users


See also

External links

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