The 5.45mm Kalashnikov RPK-16 light machine gun was developed by “Kalashnikov” Concern as the new Squad Automatic Weapon for the Russian Army, and was officially adopted as such in February 2018.

Based on traditional Kalashnikov layout and design, it has several novel technical and ergonomic features derived from the AK-12 program, as well as some specific “machine gun” upgrades such as detachable barrels that are available in two lengths, long and short. First displayed to the public at Army-2016 expo, it is still in development. Eventually this gun is intended to replace old 5.45mm RPK-74 light machine guns / squad automatic weapons.

The Kalashnikov RPK-16 light machine gun uses traditional gas operated action with rotary bolt locking. It fires from closed bolt, in single shots and full auto. It has interchangeable barrels in two configurations. Long barrels are useful for standard military operations, while short barrels are intended for close combat and Special Operations. Barrel replacement requires partial disassembly of the gun and takes about 2 minutes.

To further improve versatility of the gun, the RPK-16 has a polymer handguard with built-in top and bottom Picatinny rails – it is also possible to attach rails on the sides of the handguard. The RPK-16 can be equipped with a suppressor for added versatility. The gun is fed from standard 5.45x39mm AK magazines, as well as special 95-round drum magazines.


Caliber: 5.45x39mm

Weight: 4.0 kilogram

Length: 896 mm with short barrel

1076 mm with long barrel

Fire rate: 700 rounds per minute

This photo set from ‘Army Inside’ shows a Russian Spetsnaz operator clad in a MultiCam “Stryker BDU” from UF PRO running an RPK-16 on a wet day at the range (still better than a dry day in the office right?).

By clicking on the following link, you can find a promo video of the RPK-16 published by Kalashnikov Media.



Description – Modern Firearms and The Firearms Blog

Photos – ‘Army Inside’ Facebook page, Modern Firearms, and The Firearms Blog