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General purpose machine gun

PK machine gun

The PK machine gun was used in countless wars and proved to be an excellent weapon

Country of origin Soviet Union
Entered service 1961
Caliber 7.62 x 54 mmR
Weight (unloaded) 9 kg
Length 1 173 mm
Barrel length 658 mm
Muzzle velocity 825 m/s
Cyclic rate of fire 650 - 720 rpm
Practical rate of fire 250 rpm
Magazine capacity 100, 200, 250 round belts
Sighting range 1 500 m
Range of effective fire 800 m


   The PK is one of the classic Russian machine guns. A durable and powerful General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG), the PK is widely used. Its updated versions are produced today, more than 50 years after it entered service.

   The famous Mikhail Kalashnikov, designer of the AK series rifles, designed the PK machine gun in the early 60s, as a replacement for various other older machine guns. It entered service in 1961. Since then, several variants have been introduced, with a total of over one million PKs built. The abbreviation PK stands for Pulemyot Kalashnikova, Russian for Kalashnikov machine gun.

   The key to the PK’s success is its extreme reliability, due in part to the usage of proven Kalashnikov parts from the AK series rifles, as well as having a small number of moving parts. This machine gun can withstand incredible abuse or extreme weather and continue to function. In addition, the PK is capable of sustained fire of the hard-hitting 7.62x54 mmR round that packs a punch out to long ranges.

   The PK is a gas-operated, air cooled, belt fed machine gun that fires from an open bolt. Its chrome-lined barrel can be quickly detached by means of the carrying handle. It uses non-disintegrating metal belts of 100 or 200 rounds. It can also use a 250 round box. It can only fire in fully automatic mode, with a maximum rate of fire of 720 rounds per minute. Although in real combat rate of fire is 250 rounds per minute or lower.

   The PK has standard adjustable (100 to 1 500 meters in 100 meter increments) iron sights. It is accurate out to 800 meters against area targets and 500 meters against specific targets. It can be adapted to carry an optical or night sight. The PK has an internal bipod for improved accuracy while firing from the prone position.

   The wooden stock is skeletonized to reduce weight, while the body of the weapon is made of stamped and riveted steel. The carrying handle/barrel detacher is found to the left of the receiver. At the forefront of the weapon is the internal bipod and a long muzzle break. The result is a functional weapon, though some people might call it ugly.

   While the PK fires a powerful cartridge and is reliable, it has some deficiencies. The round it fires (7.62x54 mmR), while powerful, is not the same round used by the rifles of the other members of a typical squad. So, although it is and will continue to be for some time an excellent vehicle or tripod machine gun, it can never appropriately fill the role of a squad automatic weapon.

   There was developed a special tripod for the PK machine gun. It weights 7.7 kg.

   In its prolific career, the PK and its variants have served in East Germany, Yugoslavia, Sweden, and Lithuania. It continues to serve in Zambia, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Ukraine, Turkey, Uganda, Syria, Turkmenistan, Georgia, Cuba, China, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Tajikistan, Malta, Mali, Macedonia, Serbia, Sri Lanka, South Sudan, Russia, Sudan, Panama, South Africa, Mongolia, Sao Tome and Principe, Poland, Romania, Panama, Moldova, North Korea, Nigeria, Mozambique, India, and many other countries.

   Some of the wars that the PK has fought in include the Vietnam War, the Soviet War in Afghanistan, the Iran-Iraq War, the Gulf War, the Chechen Wars, the American War in Afghanistan, the Iraq War, and the Syrian Civil War. In all these conflicts, the PK has provided excellent service.




   PKS: is a designation of the PK, mounted on the tripod.

   PKM: modernized version. Entered service in 1969. It is probably the most important and widely distributed version, even more so than the basic PK itself. It has a lighter barrel and uses improved construction methods. Weighing 1.5 kilograms less than the PK and somewhat shorter, it is just as effective. It has a number of its own variants. The PKM was adopted alongside with a new tripod, which weights significantly less - just 4.5 kg.

   PKT: electronically-operated model for usage in tanks and other vehicles. It lacks the stock and has a heavier and longer barrel. The barrel was deliberately lengthened in order to achieve ballistics of the previous SGMT machine gun, that the PKT replaced. It allowed to retain the same optics. Muzzle velocity of the PKT increased to 865 m/s and maximum rate of fire - to 800 rounds per minute. Sighting range increased from 1 500 to 2 000 m.

   PKB: variant for use as a pintle-mounted machine gun on aircraft and helicopters. The main difference is the swivel in the middle of the weapon; in addition, some PKBs have spade-style grips instead of traditional pistol grips and stocks.

   PKP ‘Pecheneg’: new GPMG designed to replace the PKM. It entered Russian service in 2001, but has barely begun to replace the PKM. Improvements include much better accuracy and a more durable barrel.

   KT-7.62: Ukrainian-produced model of the PKT.

   Kulspruta m/95: Swedish name for the PKT.

   M84: Yugoslavian-produced version of the PK.

   M86: Yugoslavian-produced model of the PKT.

   Mokhtar: Sudanese-produced variant.

   Type 80: Chinese-produced version of the PK.

   Type 86: Chinese-produced version of the PKT.

   MG Series: Bulgarian licensed-produced variants.

   Cugir Mitraliera md. 66: Romanian copy.


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PK machine gun

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PK machine gun

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PK machine gun

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PK machine gun

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PK machine gun

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PK machine gun

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PK machine gun

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PK machine gun

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