The DP Light Machine Gun (DP LMG), sometimes known as the DP-27 or DP-28 and nicknamed the "Record Player" due to its unique "pan" or "film reel" magazine, was the standard light machine gun system issued to Soviet infantry squads in the decade leading up to World War 2. At the time of its inception, the DP stood alone as one of the more original Russian weapon designs that was more or less wholly indigenous. To go along with traditional Russian thinking, the gun was designed as a simple-to-manufacturer product that could be produced in the thousands and, once in the field, it proved to be a most reliable weapon system regardless of the environmental abuses laid upon it. The legacy of the DP was such that Soviet Army forces continued to use the type well into the 1950s. The DP was designed by Vasily Degtyaryov as early as 1927 to which the weapon system entered formal trials and was accepted by the Red Army in 1928. From there, the DP could be found fighting in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), the Winter War against Finland (1939-1940), World War 2 (1939-1945), the Korean War (1950-1953), the Chinese Civil War (1946-1950), the Vietnam War (1955-1975), the Cambodian Civil War (1970-1975) and the Cambodian-Vietnamese War (1975-1989). Her reach has ensured that the weapon type makes an appearance on the modern battlefields of today in places like Afghanistan and Somalia.
Externally, the DP was of a decidedly Russian design, characterized mostly by the use of its pan magazine atop the forward portion of the receiver. The receiver itself was rounded at the edges with slab sides and the forend was metal with oblong, rectangular venting for cooling the barrel. A bipod was affixed to the forward portion of the barrel jacket to which the barrel protruded a distance away from the gun body. The muzzle was capped by a conical flash suppressor. The trigger unit was held under the aft portion of the receiver and protected by an oblong trigger ring. There was no pistol grip but instead an ergonomic shoulder stock. A shoulder strap could be linked to the left side of the weapon, this at the stock and at the vented forend barrel jacket. Sights were present at the receiver rear top (tangent leaf) and at the end of the barrel jacket (front post with ears). The weapon system weighed in at approximately 20.11lbs.
The DP was chambered to fire the Russian 7.62x54mmR cartridge, this from a 47-round pan magazine. Other versions eventually came online that featured belt-feeding and a 30-round overhead box magazine instead. The weapon was a gas-operated system achieving a rate-of-fire of 500 to 600 rounds per minute. Muzzle velocity was listed at 2,755 feet per second. Effective range was out to 800 meters. The barrel measured in at 23.80 inches with a 4-groove, right-hand twist design. The DP utilized a simple locking mechanism that made for a solid and robust machine gun. The internal working components were well protected from dirt and dust that would be encountered on most any battlefield. A piston tube was mounted underneath the barrel assembly and contained the operating spring. Construction was rather solid by Soviet standards.