Entering service in 1969, the PKM is a product
improved PK with a lighter, unfluted barrel,
a feed cover constructed wholly of stampings
and a hinged butt-rest fitted to the butt-plate.
The weight is around 8.4 kg.
In 1961 the PK replaced
the RP-46 in front libne service. It is a mixture
of components and ideas from other weapons.
The rotating bolt comes from the other Kalashnikov
weapons, the AK-47 and RPK; the cartridge gripper
and barrel change come from the Goryunov SGM.
The system of feed operation using the piston
to drive the feed pawls comes from the Czech
Model 52 light machine gun. The trigger comes
from the Degtyarev RPD.
7.62 mm PK machine gun was first seen in 1964.
Since then it has been modified and improved
so that it has become a true general purpose
machine gun. The latest base production standard
is the PKM.
The PK family of machine guns are gas operated,
rotary bolt locked (Kalashnikov system), open
bolt fired, fully automatic, belt-fed machine
guns firing the 7.62 × 54R cartridge.
The ammunition is fed by non-disintegrating
metallic belts; current belts are composed of
joined 25-round sections but earlier feed belts
were made of one 250-round length. The belts
are held either in 250-round ammunition boxes,
in special large capacity boxes on tanks (for
the PKT) or in a 100-round assault magazine
attached to the bottom of the gun's receiver.
receiver is constructed of riveted stampings.
It carries the very simple, automatic only,
trigger and the belt feed mechanism.
barrel is chrome plated and has a change system
which is not as quick as that employed in most
modern guns. To change a barrel the gun must
be unloaded; the feed cover comes up when the
return-spring guide is pressed and the feedway
pivots up on the same pin. The barrel lock comes
out to the side in the same way as the SGM and
the barrel can be pulled forward out of the
receiver with an asbestos glove. A new barrel
is inserted, the lock is replaced, the feedway
is lowered, the belt replaced and feed cover
lowered. The gun is then ready to fire.
boxes for 100-, 200- and 250-round belts are
available. The 100-round box can be attached
to the underside of the PK for the assault role.