Review: Semiauto DPM by SMG Guns

I have had a parts kit for a Soviet DPM light machine gun (actually a Polish one, but the design is identical) stashed away for many years now, with the hope to eventually have it built into a live gun. When I found out that SMG (maker the the sweet semiauto FG42 replicas) was making a new production run of DP and DPM barrels, receivers, and semiauto trigger conversions I jumped at my chance. I sent my kit to SMG, and they built it into this complete semiauto rifle.

The DP was introduced in 1928 as the standard Soviet light machine gun, and served through World War Two. In 1944, several defects were acknowledged and improved, notably the location of the recoil spring, the grip, and the bipod. This created the DPM, which did see some slight use at the very end of WW2, as well as use by several eastern bloc nations after the war (including in Korea). It would be updated again in 1946 with the RP46 conversion assembly to feed from Maxim belts instead of the distinctive pan magazines (and in fact, SMG is working on a reproduction of the RP46 conversion as well, although it is not yet ready).

Anyway, I took my new semiauto DPM out to the range and got a firsthand understanding of why these guns were so well liked by troops who used them. The design is nothing if not solid, rugged, and dependable. Like other iconic Soviet firearms, the DP/DPM is elegantly simple and bombproof. It is easy and comfortable to shoot, and SMG’s new and very clever linear hammer-fired semiauto conversion gives it a better trigger than any other semiauto machine gun conversion I have handled. Most such guns have really heavy and really creepy triggers, but this is about 8lb and very crisp – and that makes a huge difference in its shootability.

In a nutshell, the gun zeroed easily and shot well, it had no malfuctions in my 3 or 4 pans of ammo expended (using Czech surplus steel-case ammo), and was really a joy to shoot. I would not hesitate to recommend them, and SMG is offered everything from individual parts for you to build yourself to kit build services, and turnkey complete guns (don’t let the terrible web site design deter you!).



  1. “1944, several defects were acknowledged”
    In 1942 there was competition for new machine gun, with mass no greater than 7.5 kg, there were 2 models done by Degtyaryov:
    box-feed (1st photo from top) and belt-fed (2nd photo from top), that belt one was abandoned early due to unreliable feeding

  2. I must “LOL” on the comment of us finns, “those well-known connoisseurs of military firearms”. Thank you Sir 🙂

  3. Ian is ‘molodyets’ (hardy fellow). Reason why I say that is that recoil is hefty yet he does not complain about it (in full auto it would be felt). It seem to me that this ‘kulspruta’ is well on par if not simpler and more efficient to produce and use that MG42.

  4. A description I read somewhere from the author Stephen Hunter is at the gun was designed by plumbers in a hotel room while they were waiting for the hookers to arrive. 🙂

    Looks like a lot of fun.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.