RPK

RPK

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The RPK is a 7.62x39mm light machine gun
Light machine gun
A light machine gun is a machine gun designed to be employed by an individual soldier, with or without an assistant, as an infantry support weapon. Light machine guns are often used as squad automatic weapons.-Characteristics:...

 of Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 design, developed by Mikhail Kalashnikov
Mikhail Kalashnikov
Lieutenant General Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov is a Russian small arms designer, most famous for designing the AK-47 assault rifle, the AKM and the AK-74.-Early life:...

 in the late 1950s, parallel with the AKM
AKM
The AKM is a 7.62mm assault rifle designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov. It is an upgraded version of the AK-47 rifle and was developed in the 1950s....

 assault/battle rifle
Assault rifle
An assault rifle is a selective fire rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine. Assault rifles are the standard infantry weapons in most modern armies...

. It was created as part of a program designed to standardize the small arms inventory of the Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

, where it replaced the 7.62x39mm RPD
RPD
The RPD is a 7.62mm light machine gun developed in the Soviet Union by Vasily Degtyaryov for the intermediate 7.62x39mm M43 cartridge. It was created as a replacement for the DP machine gun chambered for the 7.62x54mmR Mosin rifle round...

 light machine gun. The RPK continues to be used by the armed forces of countries of the former Soviet Union and certain Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

n and Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

n nations. The RPK was also manufactured in Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

 and Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

.

Operating mechanism


The RPK functions identically to the AK-47
AK-47
The AK-47 is a selective-fire, gas-operated 7.62×39mm assault rifle, first developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov. It is officially known as Avtomat Kalashnikova . It is also known as a Kalashnikov, an "AK", or in Russian slang, Kalash.Design work on the AK-47 began in the last year...

. It also uses the same 7.62x39mm ammunition. It has a similar design layout to the AKM and AK-47 series of rifles, with modifications to increase the RPK's effective range and accuracy, enhance its sustained fire capability, and strengthen the receiver.

Features



Most notably, the RPK has a heavier and longer barrel than an AKM. This allows the RPK to fire for extended periods of time without major loss in accuracy due to the barrel heating up. The chrome
Chrome plating
Chrome plating, often referred to simply as chrome, is a technique of electroplating a thin layer of chromium onto a metal object. The chromed layer can be decorative, provide corrosion resistance, ease cleaning procedures, or increase surface hardness.-Process:A component to be chrome plated will...

-lined barrel is permanently fixed to the receiver, and cannot be replaced in the field. It is fitted with a new front sight base, gas block (lacks the bayonet
Bayonet
A bayonet is a knife, dagger, sword, or spike-shaped weapon designed to fit in, on, over or underneath the muzzle of a rifle, musket or similar weapon, effectively turning the gun into a spear...

 lug) and an under-barrel cleaning rod guide. The barrel also features a folding bipod
Bipod
A bipod is a support device that is similar to a tripod or monopod, but with two legs. It provides significant stability along two axes of motion .-Firearms:...

, mounted near the muzzle, and a front sight base with a lug that limits the bipod's rotation around the axis of barrel. The barrel's muzzle is threaded, enabling the use of muzzle devices such as flash hiders, compensators, and blank-firing adapters. When a muzzle device is not being used, the threads on the muzzle can be covered by a thread protector. The barrel is pinned to the receiver in a modified trunnion, reinforced by ribbing, and is slightly wider than the trunnion used on standard AKM type rifles. Symmetrical bulges on both sides of the front trunnion ensure proper fit inside the receiver.

The RPK's receiver cover is stamped from a smooth 1.5 mm (0.0590551181102362 in) sheet
Sheet metal
Sheet metal is simply metal formed into thin and flat pieces. It is one of the fundamental forms used in metalworking, and can be cut and bent into a variety of different shapes. Countless everyday objects are constructed of the material...

 of steel
Steel
Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...

 (compared to the 1 mm sheet metal receiver cover used on standard AKM rifles). Interchangeability of parts between the RPK and AKM is moderate.

The RPK uses a modified AKM recoil spring assembly. It consists of a rear spring guide rod from the AK, and a new forward flat guide rod and coil spring.

The RPK features a thick laminated wood foregrip, and a fixed laminated wood "club-foot" buttstock
Stock (firearm)
A stock, also known as a buttstock or shoulder stock, is a part of a rifle or other firearm, to which the barrel and firing mechanism are attached, that is held against one's shoulder when firing the gun. Stocks are also found on crossbows though a crossbow stock is more properly referred to as a...

, similar to the stock used on the RPD, which is designed to allow the user to fire from the prone position more comfortably. The RPK uses a standard AKM pistol grip
Pistol grip
On a firearm or other tool, the pistol grip is that portion of the mechanism that is held by the hand and orients the hand in a forward, vertical orientation, similar to the position one would take with a conventional pistol such as the M1911....

.

The weapon can use standard AKM detachable box magazines, but is most commonly used with a 40 round capacity magazine, or a 75 round drum magazine
Drum magazine
A drum magazine is a type of firearms magazine that is cylindrical in shape, similar to a drum. Instead of rounds being stored flat, as in a more common box magazine, rounds in a drum magazine are stored in a spiral around the center of the magazine, facing the direction of the barrel.There are...

.

Sights


The weapon's rear sight leaf is elevation adjustable, and graduated for ranges of 100 to 1,000 meters, in 100 m increments. The rear sight leaf also features a windage adjustment knob, unique to the RPK series of rifles.

Accessories


Supplied with the RPK are: spare magazines, a cleaning rod, cleaning kit (stored in a hollowed compartment in the buttstock), a sling, oil bottle and magazine pouches (a single-pocket pouch for a drum magazine or a 4-pocket pouch for box magazines).

RPKS


An RPK with a side-folding wooden stock was intended primarily for the air assault infantry. The former Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 issued the RPK mainly to motorised units
Motorised infantry
In NATO and most other western countries, motorised infantry is infantry which is transported by trucks or other motor vehicles. It is distinguished from mechanized infantry, which is carried in armoured personnel carriers, infantry combat vehicles, or infantry fighting vehicles...

. Changes to the design of the RPKS are limited only to the shoulder stock mounting, at the rear of the receiver. It uses a trunnion riveted to both receiver walls that has a socket and tang, allowing the stock to hinge on a pivot pin. The trunnion has a cut-out on the right side designed to engage the stock catch and lock it in place when folded. The wooden stock is mounted in a pivoting hull, which contains a catch that secures the buttstock in the extended position. The rear sling loop was moved from the left side of the stock body to the right side of the stock frame.

RPK-74



Introduced in 1974 together with the AK-74
AK-74
The AK-74 is an assault rifle developed in the early 1970s in the Soviet Union as the replacement for the earlier AKM...

 assault rifle
Assault rifle
An assault rifle is a selective fire rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine. Assault rifles are the standard infantry weapons in most modern armies...

 and chambered for the new 5.45x39mm
5.45x39mm
The Soviet 5.45×39mm cartridge is a rimless bottlenecked rifle cartridge. It was introduced into service in 1974 for use with the new AK-74 assault rifle. It gradually supplemented then largely replaced the 7.62x39mm round in service....

 high-velocity cartridge. The RPK-74 derives from the AK-74 rifle, with modifications that mirror those made to the AKM to create the RPK. The RPK-74 also uses a longer and heavier chrome-plated barrel, which has a new gas block with a gas channel at a 90° angle to the bore axis, and a ring for the cleaning rod. The RPK-74 was also equipped with a folding bipod and a different front sight tower. The muzzle is threaded for a flash suppressor
Flash suppressor
A flash suppressor, also known as a flash guard, flash eliminator, flash hider, or flash cone, is a device attached to the muzzle of a rifle or other gun that reduces the visible signature of the burning gases that exit the muzzle. This reduces the chances that the shooter will be blinded in dark...

 or blank-firing device.

The rear stock trunnion was strengthened and the magazine well was reinforced with steel inserts.

Additionally, the RPK-74 has a modified return mechanism compared to the AK-74, which uses a new type of metal spring guide rod and recoil spring. The rear sight assembly, forward handguard and receiver dust cover were all retained from the RPK.

The RPK-74 feeds from a 45-round steel or polymer box magazine, interchangeable with magazines from the AK-74, and is designed to be charged from stripper clips. Drum magazines similar to those used on the previous RPK models were tested during the development phase of the RPK-74, but were discontinued in favor of the 45-round box magazine.

Standard equipment includes: eight magazines, six stripper clips (15 rounds per clip), a speedloader guide, cleaning rod, cleaning kit, sling, oil bottle and two magazine pouches. Some variants do not come with the cleaning kit option.

It is in widespread use by member states of the former Soviet Union, as well as Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

.

RPKS-74


The RPKS-74 is the paratrooper model of the RPK-74, equipped with a wooden folding stock from the RPKS.

Night variants


The RPK family of light machine guns is also available in a night fighting configuration. These weapons are designated RPKN, RPKSN, RPK-74N, and RPKS-74N. They have a side rail mounting on the left side of the receiver that accepts a NSP-3, NSPU, or NSPUM night vision sight.

RPK-74M


An updated variant known as the RPK-74M was developed that includes a polymer
Polymer
A polymer is a large molecule composed of repeating structural units. These subunits are typically connected by covalent chemical bonds...

 foregrip, pistol grip and side-folding stock as well as a side rail for mounting optics. An export variant chambered in 5.56x45mm NATO
5.56x45mm NATO
5.56×45mm NATO is a rifle cartridge developed in the United States and originally chambered in the M16 rifle. Under STANAG 4172, it is a standard cartridge for NATO forces as well as many non-NATO countries. It is derived from, but not identical to, the .223 Remington cartridge...

 was also introduced, designated the RPK-201. Also for export is the RPKM chambered in 7.62x39mm; it uses the same polymer furniture as the RPK-74M variant.
A series of semi-automatic rifles based on the RPK receiver are manufactured by the "Molot" factory in Russia, these are known as the Vepr and Vepr 2. They are offered in several chamberings, including: .223 Remington, 7.62x39mm and .308 Winchester
.308 Winchester
The .308 Winchester is a rifle cartridge and is the commercial cartridge upon which the military 7.62x51mm NATO centerfire cartridge is based. The .308 Winchester was introduced in 1952, two years prior to the NATO adoption of the 7.62x51mm NATO T65...

. They are intended mainly for the civilian market.

Users



Uses both Soviet and locally produced ASh-78 Tip-2 rifles.: Produced by Arsenal as the LMG in three different calibers, 7.62x39mm, 5.45x39mm and 5.56x45mm NATO
5.56x45mm NATO
5.56×45mm NATO is a rifle cartridge developed in the United States and originally chambered in the M16 rifle. Under STANAG 4172, it is a standard cartridge for NATO forces as well as many non-NATO countries. It is derived from, but not identical to, the .223 Remington cartridge...

. A folding stock variant is known as the LMG-F.: RPK-74 variant is used by the Grup Gerak Khas
Grup Gerak Khas
The Grup Gerak Khas is a special forces regiment of the Malaysian Army which conducts special operations missions for the Malaysian government, such as direct action, unconventional warfare, sabotage, counter-terrorism, and intelligence gathering...

(GGK) of the Malaysian Army
Malaysian Army
The Malaysian Army is the land component of the Malaysian Armed Forces. Steeped in British Army traditions, the Malaysian Army does not carry the title ‘royal’ as do the Royal Malaysian Air Force and the Royal Malaysian Navy...

.: Type 64.: Built by Fabrica de Arme Cugir SA as the Puşcă Mitralieră model 1964 ("model 1964 light machine gun") and later, a 5.45mm version based on on the PA md. 86
Pusca Automata model 1986
The Puşcă Automată model 1986 is the standard assault rifle used by the Romanian Military Forces and manufactured in Cugir, Romania by firm RomArm S.A. located in Bucharest, Romania...

—the Mitralieră md. 1993 ("model 1993 light machine gun").

See also

  • List of Russian Weaponry
  • ČZW-762
    ČZW-762
    The ČZW-762 is a light machine gun of Czech origin and an improved derivative of the LCZ-B20. The weapon is chambered in the 7.62x39mm M43 round and is fed from 30 round AK magazines.-Overview:...

  • PK machine gun
    PK machine gun
    The PK is a 7.62 mm general-purpose machine gun designed in the Soviet Union and currently in production in Russia. The PK machine gun was introduced in the 1960s and replaced the SGM and RPD machine guns in Soviet service...

  • Zastava M72
    Zastava M72
    The Zastava M72 is a 7.62mm light machine gun developed and manufactured by Zastava Arms of Serbia, . The M72 is based on the RPK rifle from the USSR.-Overview:...

  • Tabuk Sniper Rifle
    Tabuk Sniper Rifle
    The Tabuk Sniper Rifle is an Iraqi modification of a Russian designated marksman's rifle, made from as a modified version of the AK-47 assault rifle...


External links