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Izhmash RPK (Ruchnoy Pulemyot Kalashnikova)

Light Machine Gun (LMG)

Izhmash RPK (Ruchnoy Pulemyot Kalashnikova)

Light Machine Gun (LMG)

OVERVIEW
SPECIFICATIONS
VARIANTS
HISTORY
IMAGES
OVERVIEW



The RPK saw combat action in the Vietnam War and continues as a frontline component today.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: Soviet Union
YEAR: 1961
MANUFACTURER(S): Izhmash Joint Stock Company - Soviet Union
OPERATORS: Afghanistan; Albania; Bulgaria; Cambodia; Cape Verde; Chad; Comoros; Cuba; Djibouti; East Germany; Egypt; Ethiopia; Iraq; Iran; Hungary; Mali; Nicaragua; Nigeria; North Korea; Poland; Romania; Russia; Sudan; Vietnam
National flag of Afghanistan
AFG
National flag of Albania
ALB
National flag of Bulgaria
BUL
National flag of Cambodia
CAM
National flag of Cape Verde
CPV
National flag of Chad
CHA
National flag of Cuba
CUB
National flag of Djibouti
DJI
National flag of Egypt
EGY
National flag of Ethiopia
ETH
National flag of Germany
GER
National flag of East Germany
EGR
National flag of Hungary
HUN
National flag of Iran
IRA
National flag of Iraq
IRQ
National flag of Mali
MAL
National flag of Nicaragua
NCR
National flag of Niger
NGR
National flag of Nigeria
NGA
National flag of North Korea
NKO
National flag of Poland
POL
National flag of Romania
ROM
National flag of Russia
RUS
National flag of Sudan
SUD
National flag of ; Vietnam
VTN
SPECIFICATIONS



Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible. * Calibers listed may be model/chambering dependent.
ACTION: Gas-Operated; Rotating Bolt
CALIBER(S)*: 7.62x39mm M43 / 5.45x39mm M74
SIGHTS: Rear Sliding Tangent w/ Adjustable Notch; Front Post
ADVERTISEMENTS
LENGTH (O/A)

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BARREL LGTH

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WEIGHT

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MUZZLE VEL.

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fps
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RATE-OF-FIRE

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rpm
RANGE (EFF)

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VARIANTS



Series Model Variants
• RPKS – Equipped with folding stock for air assault.
• RPK-74 – Fitted with heaver barrel, revised front sight and folding bipod; and increased structural integrity.
• RPKN – Side rail on the left side to mount NSP-3, NSPU or NSPUM night vision sight.
• RPKSN – Side rail on the left side to mount NSP-3, NSPU or NSPUM night vision sight.
• RPK-74N – Side rail on the left side to mount NSP-3, NSPU or NSPUM night vision sight.
• RPKS-74N – Side rail on the left side to mount NSP-3, NSPU or NSPUM night vision sight.
• RPK-74M – Fitted with polymer foregrip, pistol grip and folding stock; improved rail for mounting optics.
• RPK-201 - Chambered for the 5.56x45mm NATO round.
• RPKM – Chambered for the 7.62x39mm round.


HISTORY



Detailing the development and operational history of the Izhmash RPK (Ruchnoy Pulemyot Kalashnikova) Light Machine Gun (LMG).  Entry last updated on 12/28/2018. Authored by JR Potts, AUS 173d AB. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The RPK ("Ruchnoi Pulemyot Kalashnikova") entered service in 1961 as a powerful firearm, developed from the PK series of weapons. Externally, the weapon is essentially similar in appearance to the AK-47 assault rifle. This similarity is due to both systems being developed by the prolific and highly successful designer Kalashnikov, the hero of the Soviet Union. The success of the AK-47 led to the Soviet military asking for a similar design to replace the light machine gun that was in service at the time - the Degtyarev RPD. So Kalashnikov lengthened the AK with a heaver barrel and fitted a bipod to support sustained automatic fire. Kalashnikov also stole the RPD stock design, which was popular with the troops, and changed the rear sight to allow for windage adjustments. The 30-round AK magazines were interchangeable, however, larger magazines of 40 rounds and a 75-round drum were needed to satisfy the full automatic requirement. The gun was eventually ordered for the Red Army in 1961 but did not enter service until 1964. Each infantry squad was issued one RPK along with the 75-round drum magazine. Airborne units were issued the RPKS featuring the folding stock.

The RPK was produced to operate with ease and to be nearly jam free. A major bonus was the commonality of parts with the AK service rifle series. The RPK utilizes a simple gas operated system firing from a closed bolt. Pulling the trigger begins the firing action - a round is fired and gas is produced when the powder burns and enters a small gas port pushing small pistons. The bolt is pushed back and the gas pressure is released allowing the bolt to be pushed forward by a spring. For night actions the NSP-2 infrared sight can be attached.

As with all weapons the RPK has her drawbacks. The closed bolt firing action and the barrel are not a quick change in the field. If the operator has good fire discipline few problems occur, however in combat situations discipline can go out the window. Optimal sustained fire is around 80 rounds per minute - if overused, chambered rounds could "cook off" and barrel damage could ensue. The size and weight of the box magazine is limited the amount of ammunition carried by the weapons crew - very different from the amount of belt ammunition carried around the necks of US soldiers in Viet Nam for the M60 general purpose machine gun.

The RPK is still in service, seeing first combat action in the Vietnam War while it is being used by terrorists today in Afghanistan and around the world with many thousands having been produced.






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