KvKK 62: The Ugly Duckling of Light Machine Guns
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The KvKK 62 was a squad automatic counterpart to the Rk 62, Finland’s domestic Kalashnikov rifle. It is an open bolt light machine gun chambered for 7.62x39mm, feeding from push-through RPD-style belts and firing at a rate of about 1000 rounds/minute. Mechanically, the design borrows a lot from the Czech ZB-26 and Bren, with a vertically traveling locking block and long stroke gas piston. Along with that mechanism, it also takes a cue from the Czech 52/57 family of machine guns, in that the pistol grip assembly slides back and forth to function as the bolt handle.
It is also without a doubt the ugliest light machine gun ever fielded by a military force. The weapon elicited a pretty awful reaction whenever I mentioned it to Finns who had used them during military service, but I think this cannot be entirely blamed on the design. When the weapon is clean and in good order, it is not bad to shoot. The high rate of fire is remarkably controllable, and the recoil is not bad (contrary to some reports I have heard).
The two sources of problems are the age of the guns, and the possibility of causing malfunctions through improper handling. During the shooting session where I filmed this, I managed to cause a malfunction that required field stripping the weapon to clear, by loading a belt while the bolt was forward and then attempting to open the bolt to fire. While this was a problem because I goofed the manual of arms, a properly designed military weapon will not allow the user to create this sort of malfunction.
The age of the KvKKs in inventory also contributes to their poor reputation, much like the M60 in US service. As the guns were used by year after year after year of soldiers doing their year of mandatory service, they because worn and unreliable. Combine this with a gun that can be easily jammed up through poor handling, and you have a recipe for a disliked weapon.
In current active-duty Finnish military use, the KvKK 62 has been replaced by the PKM, which is an excellent choice.
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