Century Arms’ semi-auto DPM light machine gun is a blast from the past
By Leroy Thompson
The light machine gun is a compromise weapon designed to give a small infantry unit more sustained firepower than a rifle. Particularly in the days when most infantrymen were armed with a bolt-action rifle, the light machine gun provided a small unit base of fire.
However, the compromise with a light machine gun is that it must be readily transportable by the gunner and must have a feed device that allows as much sustained fire capability as possible without becoming unwieldy.
During the first decades of its existence, for the Soviet Red Army, the principal light machine was the DP—Pulemyot Degtyaryova Pekhotny—Degtyaryov’s infantry machine gun.
THE DPM’S DESIGN
As was generally the case with Soviet weapons, the DP was designed to be cheap and easy to produce by semiskilled or unskilled labor. Early models, in fact, had only 80 parts. Also typical of Soviet weapons, the DP was designed to function when dirty. During testing, it proved capable of firing hundreds of rounds after being buried in mud or sand.
Perhaps the most recognizable feature of the DP series of machine guns is the pan magazine, which rests atop the gun. This 47-round feed device resembles an old phonograph record and gave the DP its nickname: “the record player.”
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