Pecheneg machine gun

The PKP "Pecheneg" (Russian: Печенег) is a Russian light machine gun chambered for the 7.62×54mmR round. It is a modernized PK machine gun. The Pecheneg is said to be more accurate than all its predecessors due to a heavier, non-removable, forced air-cooling barrel with radial cooling ribs and a handle which eliminates the haze effect from hot gases and keeps the barrel cooler, making the weapon more reliable. Furthermore, the weapon is capable of having a telescopic sight or other sights mounted on it, increasing its accuracy and effective range. The GRAU index of the Pecheneg is 6P41 or 6P41N (Pecheneg-N) when fitted with a mounting rail for a night vision sight. The Pecheneg is currently in use by Russian Army Spetsnaz and other troops in significant numbers.

The Pecheneg is named for the Pecheneg people, a warlike tribe of Turkic origin who lived in what later became steppes of Southern Russia and Ukraine. The Pecheneg is a standard 7.62×54mmR PKM machine gun without the rapid barrel-change option, and intended for use from an integral bipod as a squad support weapon. It can provide more sustained firepower than the standard-issue RPK-74, and the 7.62×54mmR cartridge offers a longer effective range and better penetration of light structures and improvised covers in urban and forest environments.

Country Name Origin Year
Russia (USSR) 2001
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Russia (USSR) 2001 View

The Pecheneg MMG can be considered as a modification of the PKM machine gun, but it is built for only one tactical role; that is, as a true squad-level light machine gun for mechanized infantry and Spetsnaz troops. Its key difference from the parent design is the barrel, which is not a "quick-change" barrel, meaning that it is not intended to be replaced in the field, although it can be removed for inspection and maintenance. The barrel is somewhat heavier than that of the PKM, and has radial cooling ribs. This is enclosed in a steel jacket, which runs up to the muzzle to provide forced air cooling, similar to the distinctive Lewis machine gun designed during the World War I era. Cooling air enters the jacket through oval windows at the rear of the jacket, and exits at the muzzle, propelled by the pressure differential created by the high-velocity gun gases escaping from the muzzle. Whereas early versions of the Pecheneg had a standard PKM-type flash suppressor, resulting in significant muzzle blast once the gun had warmed up, current production version guns have a special flash suppressor that eliminates the issue. The rear of the barrel-encasing steel jacket features a permanently attached carrying handle with a characteristic elongated profile, as it is also intended to protect the line of sight from mirages generated by convection of air heated up by the barrel. The manufacturer claims that the Pecheneg can fire 600 rounds in continuous sustained fire without any danger to the barrel. The practical sustained rate of fire is 250 RPM.

Another change from the PKM parent design is the location of the integral, non-removable folding bipod which is placed near the muzzle. This feature improves stability and long-range accuracy when firing from the bipod, but it also limits the arc of fire available without moving the position of bipod or shooter. Another consequence of said placement is that the Pecheneg is less comfortable to fire from the shoulder or the hip, as it does not have a handguard and the bipod is located too far forward to be used to hold the gun. However, the Pecheneg has sling swivels and can be fired from the hip using a sling and carrying handle to hold the gun, or by supporting it under the ammunition box with the off hand.

In all other technical respects, such as action, feed, sights and stock, the Pecheneg is similar to modern PKM machine guns. It also retains the standard PKM mounting interface and therefore can be used from the same tripod, but it is always issued as a light machine gun (without tripod mount).

Type Medium machine gun
General purpose machine gun
Place of origin  Russian Federation
Service history
In service 2001 - present
Used by  Russian Federation
Wars Second Chechen War, 2008 South Ossetia war, Syrian civil war, Annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation
Production history
Designer TsNIITochMash
Specifications
Weight 8.2 kilograms (18 lb) on bipod; 27.7 pounds (12.6 kg) on infantry tripod mount
Length 1,200 mm (47 in)
Barrel length 658 mm (25.9 in)
Cartridge 7.62×54mmR
Action Gas-operated
Rate of fire 600–800 RPM
Muzzle velocity 825 m/s (2,707 ft/s)
Effective firing range 1500 m
Feed system Belt. 100, 200 or 250-round

End notes