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Kalashnikov PKM (Pulemyot Kalashnikova Modernizirovany) General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) / Light Machine Gun (LMG)

Some 1,000,000 PK machine gun systems and associated variants are estimated to have been produced.

 Updated: 8/2/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

The PK General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) is a highly respected weapon that was added to the Soviet Army arsenal to replace the aging RP46 system. The PK was chambered to fire the same 7.62mm round that was and continues to be common throughout Russian supply depots and in former Soviet-supported states and clients.

As a squad support weapon, the PK compliments the existing array of assault rifles that fire a middle-range version of the same round. A bipod is fitted to the underside of the barrel system for stabilized support and can be folded up and into the design when portability is required. Additionally, a carrying handle is added atop the barrel towards the middle of the weapon to make transit a snap. The weapon feeds into a feed system similar to that as found on the AK systems before it, and can fire from a 100, 200 or 250 round belt (either fired as a free-fed belt or held in a box). For overheating concerns, the barrel is designed to be replaceable and most necessary when sustained fire of upwards of 650 rounds per minute is reached.

The PK has been developed into other serviceable versions based on the same successful design. The PKS represents the PK when mounted on a heavy duty tripod mount. The tank machine gun version is known as the PKT. A true general purpose machine gun that is light and reliable, the PK family continues to serve throughout the world in the most deadly-effective of roles.

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Kalashnikov PKM (Pulemyot Kalashnikova Modernizirovany) Technical Specifications

Service Year: 1969
Type: General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) / Light Machine Gun (LMG)
National Origin: Soviet Union
Manufacturer(s): Kalashnikov / State Factories - Soviet Union - Russia

Design (Internal, Dimensions and Weights)

Firing Action: Gas-Operated; Open Bolt
Available Caliber(s): 7.62x54R Russian
Ammunition Count / Feed: 100-, 200- or 250-round belt
Overall Length: 1,193 mm (46.97 inches)
Weight (Empty): 19.62 lb (8.90 kg)


Rate-of-Fire (RoF): 650 rounds-per-minute (rpm)
Typical Range: 3,280 feet (1,000 meters; 1,093 yards)

Global Operators / Customers

Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; Armenia; Azerbaijan; Bangladesh; Belarus; Bulgaria; Cambodia; Cape Verde; China; Croatia; Cuba; Czech Republic; Democratic Republic of the Congo; East Germany; Egypt; Finland; Georgia; Greece; Hungary; India; Iran; Iraq; Israel; Kazakstan; Kyrgyzstan; Mali; Moldova; Nicaragua; North Korea; Panama; Poland; Romania; Russia; Republic of the Congo; Serbia; Slovakia; Soviet Union; Sri Lanka; Tajikistan; Turkmenistan; Turkey; Ukraine; Uzbekistan; Vietnam; Yugoslavia; Zimbabwe

Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

PK - Original production model
PKT - Vehicle Mounted Variant
PKM - Current production model
PKMS - Heavy model; tripod fitting; night sight scope capability.
M84 - PK produced under license by Zastava Arms in Serbia.
M86 - PKT produced under license by Zastava Arms in Serbia.