General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG)
The Yugoslavian Zastava Arms M84 GPMG is based on the Soviet PK-PKM series of machine guns and has seen service with several national forces.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
In 1984, there emerged a new, locally-designed and produced Yugoslavian General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) as the Zastava Arms M84. No doubt influenced some by the Soviet PK/PKM series system, the M84 served in the same role and featured a similar appearance complete with its utilitarian design approach at the receiver, belt-feeding and chambering for the ubiquitous 7.62x54R cartridge. Service entry into the Yugoslavian Army occurred during 1985.
As with other GPMG systems, M84 is intended to serve multiple missions in the scope of ground forces. This means that the weapon can be fitted to a bipod as a portable measure or fixed atop a tripod in a more defensive-minded role. Only full-automatic fire is generally seen in this class of weapon and the barrel is cooled through simple air cooling, relying on the operator to manage heat build-up and change out barrels as necessary. Belt-feeding allows for consistent firepower without the need to change magazines frequently. Additionally, GPMGs typically used higher-powered, rifle-caliber cartridges in the 7.62mm range or larger.
Indeed, the M84 can be fielded in many battlefield roles including helicopter door gun pintle mounts and as a vehicle-served weapon. It sports a quick-change barrel function which aids in overheating and is serviceable as a dual-purpose weapon - capable of engaging ground-based targets or incoming aerial threats. When on its bipod, it can prove a handy area-suppression weapon at the squad-level.
Overall weight is 19lb while overall length if 46 inches with a 26-inch barrel. The action relies on a proven gas-operated, rotating bolt arrangement allowing for 700 to 800 rounds per minute to be achieved in its rate-of-fire. Muzzle velocity is listed at 2,700 feet per second with an effective firing range out to 1,000 meters. Feeding is through a 100- or 250-round belt. Iron sights allow for accurized ranged fire and are adjustable. Optical sights are supported though only when a mounting device is utilized.
While the nation of Yugoslavia no longer exists, its M84 weapon still resides in the inventories of several militaries of the world including Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Iraq, Montenegro, Macedonia and Serbia.