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Subsystems / Cannon / KPV


General Facts

  • TYPE
    Heavy machine gun


    PKP (early designation for KPV)
    Type 56 (Chinese production)

    Early 1940's


    1944 - present

    China - state arsenals
    Russia - V.A. Degtyarev plant
    USSR - V.A. Degtyarev plant



    Rugged and reliable
    Very powerful for a heavy machine gun
    Limited production cost
    Too heavy for infantry use
    Heavy recoil
    Limited range for anti-aircraft use


The KPV is a powerful heavy machine gun of Soviet origin. It was developed during World War 2 for infantry use. The intended targets were infantry positions, armored vehicles and aircraft. The KPV has become one of the most ubiquitous Soviet weapons. It has been used on numerous armored vehicles, anti-aircraft gun mounts and patrol craft.


The KPV is a gas operated weapon that uses the short recoil mechanism and has a rotating bolt. It is belt fed and feeds from either left or right. A slotted shroud covers the air cooled barrels. These can be changed but are not true quick change barrels. The KPVT is a derivative for vehicle use. It has a heavier barrel jacket, shorter receiver and can be solenoid fired.


The KPV fires the 14.5x114mm round from a 50 round belt. The cyclic rate of fire is 550 to 600 rpm. For a heavy machine gun the KPV is very powerful. It has twice as much muzzle energy as Soviet and Western 12.7mm heavy machine guns. In theory the maximum range is 3 km against ground targets and 2 km against aircraft. In practice the effective ranges are 2 km and 1.5 km respectively. Since most armored fighting vehicles are designed to withstand 14.5mm rounds over the frontal arc the KPV is no substitute for an autocannon.


The KPV was issued on a Kharanin two wheel mount for infantry use during World War 2, but saw limited use. In post war use the KPVT saw widespread use on the ZPU series of light anti-aircraft guns that mount one, two or four KPVT. The KPVT is also used as the primary armament of many Soviet armored fighting vehicles, including the BTR-60PB, BTR-70, BTR-80 and BRDM-2. The KPVT has also been mounted on numerous patrol craft. Usually on the MTPU pedestal mount or naval derivatives of the ZPU mounts.



KPV: Original version of the KPV developed during World War 2. It is lighter than the KPVT which has a thicker barrel shroud.
KPVT: KPV modified for mounted use. It has a heavier barrel jacket, shorter receiver and is either trigger or solenoid fired.

  • Specifications:
  • KPVT
TypeHeavy machine gun
Caliber14.5x114mm Soviet
MechanismGas operated, short recoil mechanism with rotary bolt
Barrel1.346 m, rifled
Dimensions1.980 m long, 162 mm wide, 225 mm tall
Weight52.5 kg overall
FeedingSingle belt feed, 40 or 50 round belt
Rate of fire550 - 600 rpm
Muzzle velocity1.005 m/s


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