The PKM is the most important and numerous variant of the PK. A durable and powerful General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG), the PKM is widely used nearly 50 years after it entered service. Its improved variants are still produced today.
The famous Mikhail Kalashnikov, designer of the AK rifles, designed the original PK machine gun in the 1960s, as a replacement for various other older machine guns. It entered service in 1961. In 1969, the improved PKM appeared. It was significantly lighter and was built to improved construction methods. Since then, several variants have been introduced. The abbreviation PKM stands for Pulemyot Kalashnikova Modernizirovannyi, Russian for Kalashnikov machine gun modernized.
The key to the PKM’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 gun can withstand incredible abuse or extreme weather and continue to function. In addition, the PKM is capable of sustained fire of the hard-hitting 7.62×54 mmR round that packs a punch out to long ranges.