Ukrainian Adaptation of PKTs to Infantry Use

I have had several people send me this video, showing a Ukrainian shop converting PKT machine guns to an infantry configuration. The PK machine gun is used in a lot of Russian armored vehicles, but in vehicular form it uses a solenoid trigger, and doesn’t have a pistol grip or shoulder stock. The basic mechanism is identical to the standard PK/PKM though. So these mechanics are adding a grip and stock (and bipod) to the PKT receiver to adapt the guns to infantry use.

Interestingly, this was done a bunch in the US for a while. PK and PKM parts kits were a lot harder to get than PKT parts kits for a while, and a fair number of people built semiauto guns out of PKT kits – including essentially the same sort of modification these Ukrainians are doing now.

Original video:


  1. Ian, you had it right without correction. The Russians are certainly acting like the Soviets of old. The same reason I joined the US Army in the 1980’s.

      • It’s as if the Russians have forgotten everything they paid so dearly to learn in WW II, and didn’t learn a thing from the 1856 Hungarian Revolution. Very bizarre.

        • “the 1856 Hungarian Revolution” Interestingly enough, we had a platoon sergeant in my company who had fought the Russians in Budapest. He got into Austria one step ahead of the secret police and was recruited into US Army Special Forces right out of the refugee camp. He was doing a tour with “the real army” and was my “guest speaker” when I ran a battalion school on the employment of tank killer teams out at the Fort Lewis Combat in Cities site.

  2. Next logical question:
    Can the Ukrainians take the big guns off of the tanks, put them on a wheeled carriage and use them as artillery pieces?

    • Guns in T 72 have autoloader, I’m not tank expert but seems to me that maybe they are so interconnected that it would be major pain in the ass to separate all this, and from the turret.

      Second problem is that tank by design, when it blows the whole turret goes flying, and that causes probably enough damage that using the cannon afterwards is out of the question, I dont know if there is an easy way of knocking a tank out, that cannon is spared.
      I think its really not worth the effort, as you can blow enemy tanks 10x simpler with portable launcher.

    • No, you’d have to design and manufacture not only the carriage, but its recoil/recuperator system – a job that requires factory level precision machining. That’s the reason the carriage actually takes longer to manufacture than the gun,

      • Also it should be noted that Cold War-era tank guns generally does not have ability to adjust powder charge (and thus muzzle velocity), therefore it would be less flexible in that regard than proper field gun in that regard.
        Also, what should not be overlooked you need tables corresponding to gun ballistic if you want to use it for indirect fire.
        Whilst Cold War era tank guns are poor suited for “wheeling” there is known case of such improvisation during WW2 when in Leningrad towed gun was crafted from 45 mm tank gun, see 1st photo from top

  3. That would really not be feasible, no.
    Like theoretically you could basically build a whole new gun+mount system around a salvaged tank gun tube, but there doesn’t seem to be any sensible reason for anyone to bother doing so.

  4. I’ve seen pictures of wrecked BTR wheeled APC’s with the 14.5 KPVT intact in the turret.

    sure, a mount for that would take more work..but the end result might be worth their time…

  5. The tank shown in Ian’s video is a KhT flame tank – based on the T-26 light tank. Note that it is rigged for towing, presumably due a failure in the engine or drive train, as it does not look bogged down.

  6. It’s worth remembering that we basically got the M240 in the ground role through this exact sort of thing… The initial tranche of weapons were war-stock coaxial guns for the M1, Bradley, and other applications to which the Rangers and Marines applied the conveniently-marketed “ground kit”. That was the supposed “M240G” variant, and it wasn’t until the Army started buying purpose-built M240B guns that actual production guns got out to the forces. Some might have been rebuilds, but I never ran into any.

    The logistics folks were still livid about the whole deal as late as 2003-4. I personally witnessed an encounter between the erstwhile program manager for the M240 and a Marine logistics officer in Kuwait; the Marine was giving the Army officer a bunch of crap about the slow turn-around on his weapons getting replaced (and, supplemental issues thereof from the prepo stocks…), and the Army officer just gave him a dead-ass stare and said something to the effect that if the Marines hadn’t pulled a fast one and raped the war stocks, they’d still have enough “float” in the M240 fleet to support the Corps when they needed it, but since they never backfilled the funding, welllllll… So far as that Colonel was concerned, the Marines could go to the back of the line. There was a definite undercurrent of resentment and outright rage over the way that whole deal had gone down–The way that Colonel told the story, the Marines got all their M240 receivers basically for free, and did so by telling Congress that they were “excess”. The reality was that they weren’t, and with the Army going to the M240B for an M60 replacement, the whole thing was just a nightmare for the program manager in place at the time. The reverberations on that whole deal didn’t cease until well after I retired…

    The Marines have this cultural mentality of being the underdog who has to beg, borrow, and “scrounge”, usually at someone else’s expense. This does not play well with the people they “scrounge” off of, because someone, somewhere has to pay for it all. There ain’t no “free lunch”, and the price paid for the Marines telling Congress that all those guns were “excess” was that the war stock didn’t get refilled when it should have been. An awful lot of the Army support structure regards the Marines with disdain because of what they see as short-sightedness and a lack of cooperation in their logistical efforts. And, it shows–The Marines will often tell you that anything that’s more than 90 miles from the sea, over 90 days in length, or which has 90 days of notice is the Army’s problem, not theirs. Which don’t play so well when you’re demanding truck companies from the Army that you didn’t create yourself because you didn’t want them, but you still want to be put in charge of a sub-theater that you really can’t hack running with your own assets.

    In general, I’d say that I observed an awful lot of animosity towards the Corps from the Army logistics types. The Navy logistics and SeaBees just nod understandingly when the odd pallet of plywood goes missing adjacent to any Marines; they know how they think, and the flippin’ SeaBees told me that they didn’t “issue” the Marines anything for construction; they just left the Marine’s allocation unguarded where the Marines could “steal” it, because that made the Marines involved happy.

  7. Tank in Russian is “Tank” with a short instead of a long a. (“tahnk”)
    Shelling hospitals and fleeing refugees is an intentional terror tactic by Putin’s army. There was no mistake. Like any modern army, the Russians have a street by street knowledge of their targets.

  8. “(…)The PK machine gun is used in a lot of Russian armored vehicles, but in vehicular form it uses a solenoid trigger, and doesn’t have a pistol grip or shoulder stock. The basic mechanism is identical to the standard PK/PKM though.(…)”
    Note that beyond heavier barrel, tank version has also greater Rate-of-Fire
    The cyclic rate of fire of the PKT and PKMT is 700 to 800 RPM. The firing rate was deliberately increased from the 650 RPM rate of the PK and PKM because it was determined to be optimal for a mounted machine gun, where recoil control is a non-issue. For such a weapon, the deciding factor was that a large supply of ammunition could be carried aboard the armoured vehicle so a higher rate of fire provided a more rational compromise between a variety of requirements including ammunition conservation, hit probability on infantry targets, fire correction, barrel heating rate, and so on. This increased fire rate was paired with a thicker barrel.

    “Interestingly, this was done a bunch in the US for a while.”
    Interestingly there exist photo dated August 1992 from Haut-Karabagh showing coax PK converted for infantry use, see

    I want to note that that during WW2 also aircraft machine gun (progress in aeroplane-building means that rifle-caliber machine gun become obsolete quite quickly, so there was excess of them), for example see Vickers G.O. (used by LRDG) xor AN/M2 Stinger toted by Cpl. Tony Stein

  9. Sure, an automatic weapon can be effective against troops. But an HE round? Or a fragmenting round? Bada-Bing. One and done.

    • Here’s the viewpoint of someone who was a tanker for a quarter century, starting on M48A5’s and moving through M60A1’s, M60A3’s, M1’s, M!A1’s and finishing with M1A2’s.
      In the M1, you’ve got 10000 to 11000 rounds (depending on model) of 7.62mm, 900 rounds of 50 Cal and 40 or 42 rounds (again, depending on model) of 120mm. 120mm comes in two flavors, Sabot (primary tank killer) which is essentially a depleted uranium dart with no explosive charge
      and MPAT, which has an explosive charge for everything else
      There are also the M908 Obstacle Reduction and M1028 Cannister rounds, but you almost never see them
      Standard load out is at least 3 M829 for 1 M830.
      Point – you just don’t have that many explosive rounds to piss around with, so save them for hard targets like bunkers, defended buildings, etc
      Also, there is a technique known as recon by fire. You see a tree line, hedge or something else that may contain infantry armed with nasty hand held AT weapons (Panzerfaust, LAW, RPG-7, etc), so you put a couple of bursts into it and see what happens. You do NOT waste a main gun round on what might not be there.

    • Note that while M1 tank (without A, first version, 105mm gun) then latter variant code-named TUSK I despite having bigger gun (bigger shell = you might pack more explosive) did get
      …additional remotely controlled 12.7-mm machine gun over the main gun that is fitted with a spotlight. In addition, the TUSK includes a 7.62-mm coaxial machine gun…
      I doubt they would add that if they would find HE round (for 120 mm gun) sufficient for dealing with soft targets.

  10. Depends on the size of the H.E round; in regards a .50 will not hold “much” bang.

    Rpo A sheml cross with a fligeherfaust, rpo’ish main charge in the middle; I don’t know “coal dust” fligeherfaust multiple barrels around; you pull a lever and (ducksfoot) it, via the middle section moving back; Pop! Very low pressure middle canister and now same- 9 outers; spread out. Fire via the ducksfoot- Pop… Ssssssh Ignighters ignighting. Main charge pop. Kaboom.

    50yrds duck when you fire it, thermobaric pensioner vaporiser maybe.

    Could call it Hammer. A sort of Grenade.

    I hope they sign a peace deal. This is nonsense the place is being flattened.

    • Point over a Sheml; more “coal dust in middle projectile” external ignigtion.

      Ukraine are winning, oh aye… Flattened.

      Farce, anyway fuck the lot of you peace deal for me.

    • “(…)fligeherfaust(…)fligeherfaust(…)”
      As far as I know it is Fliegerfaust without h and with uppercase first F.

  11. Interestingly, the Mechanic speaks Russian; the Soldier speaks Ukrainian.
    So the language does not matter.

    Shoot well and stay safe!

      • I know passable Rusian and I am British-Polish; I have been several times to Ukraine, for holidays and as a teacher. Ukrainian language shares many features with Polish _and_ Russian; actually it seems to fall between these two languages, at least in lexical terms. I never studied Ukrainian though I understand it quite well; sort of Swedish-Danish-Norwegian scenario… Kyiv is largely Russophone. But this by no means pro-Russian; to the contrary. Shche ne vmerla Ukrainy i slava, i volia!

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