Russian SAW: Tokar-2 5.45x39mm Belt Fed Light Machine Gun Showed Off at National Guard Open House 2017

The Tokar-2 5.45mm belt-fed light machine gun. Image source: Armytex

The elusive Tokar-2 5.45mm belt-fed machine gun made an appearance at the recent Rosgvardia Open House event late last month. The event demonstrated weapons and equipment being used by the Russian National Guard (Rosgvardia), and was open to the public. Russian media outlet Armytex posted pictures of the event to their page on the social media site VK.com, including photos of the Tokar-2:

A Rosgvardia VV trooper holds the Tokar-2 for demonstration. Image source: Armytex

 

The Tokar-2 firing fully automatically from a standard AK-74 pattern magazine. Image source: Armytex

 

Tokar-2 light machine gun firing fully automatically from a non-disintegrating belt. Image source: Armytex

 

The Tokar-2 is a belt-fed small caliber (5.45mm) light machine gun developed at the request of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD). Originally called “Kord-5.45”, the new machine gun is being procured for the VV Internal Troops, which were the special operations forces of the Ministry until 2016, when they were reorganized under the new National Guard of Russia. It’s not clear how the reorganization has affected the development of the Tokar-2, although – as evidenced by the photos – the program apparently still continues. Although Kalashnikov Concern seems to have produced a weapon for this solicitation, the weapon in the photos is evidently Degtyarev’s design.

Technically, the Tokar-2 is a very similar weapon to the Western Minimi (in US service called the M249 SAW/LMG). Like the Minimi, it is belt-fed, with an alternate magazine-feed system; however the belt links for the Tokar-2 are non-disintegrating similar to the Russian PKM machine gun. The weapon in the photos at Rosgvardia Open House is equipped with what appears to be a detachable combination moderator/flash hider, as well.

With the development of the Kalashnikov 96-round drum for the new RPK-16, it is unclear whether the heavier, more complex, and harder to operate Tokar-2 offers any substantial improvement over more conventional magazine-fed weapons. With the USMC and possibly even US Army moving away from belt-fed 5.56mm weapons, it seems plausible that the Russian National Guard may also choose a simpler weapon like the RPK-16 to fill the role, instead of the more-expensive Tokar-2. However, that remains to be seen.

 

 

Thanks to Retiv for the tip!



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • ShootCommEverywhere

    So the Russians finally make a weapon where it’s possible to get a decent cheek weld…. And they make the most ridiculous stock ever so you can continue to use your AK chin weld that you love so much?

    • Green Hell

      AK stock was designed decades ago to be used with iron sights.

    • iksnilol

      Because gunners wearing helmets and visors isn’t unusual.

      You do know those bent stocks do have a purpose. and that’s to allow for face protection while aiming.

      It’s really weird how obsessed Americans are with the cheek weld. I sometimes wonder why y’all conceal carry pistols, I mean, you can’t have a cheek weld on them.

      • Brett baker

        Because that is what we are used to. Also we don’t train to say “I surrender” to armed German tourists.

        • iksnilol

          So in a gunfight. You have the time and space to take up a perfect stance and shot every time?

  • jono102

    It would be interesting to compare side by side the operating systems between this, the Minimi/M249 and the Negev. I wonder if the Russians have skinned the belt/mag fed cat a different way to either of them.

    • PK

      I’m not too enamored of the M249, personally, but when it runs well it’s a little devil. If the Tokar-2 manages reliability with either mags or belts, and does it without having an absurd rate of fire, I’ll be impressed.

      • jono102

        I wonder if a lot of the issues with Minimi’s/M249’s come from training and maintenance. A lot of the ones the US (101st) guys we were working with were shot to crap even though they were a lot newer. Our guys would stick to short sharp 3-5rd bursts where these guys would generally run 5-10 rd bursts on the rare time the went to the range and wonder why they’d cook the guns. They said coming through IET etc they had little to no training on them prior to deployment to the point we ended up teaching them our drills. I think the Para barrel is a waste of time for them, you loose to much on target end effect for what you gain in mobility.

    • Wow!

      The negev is way better than the M249 hands down. I think 5.56 is the best SAW cartridge since it is very light weight and more powerful than 5.45×39, but the 5.45 isn’t too far behind to the point that it is probably negligible.

  • Aleksey Chernov

    Photo of new machine gun from TsKIB (Central Design and Research Bureau
    of Sporting and Hunting Weapons) http://i2.guns.ru/forums/icons/forum_pictures/018915/18915990.jpg
    http://i2.guns.ru/forums/icons/forum_pictures/018916/18916052.jpg

  • PK

    I’d say non-disintegrating like the RPD, more than the PKM. Push-through, after all.

    Speaking of belts, I hope this enters production so that the belts become available on the collector’s market. I’d love to build myself a little belt fed 5.45x39mm too!

    • DW

      This thing seems like a very modernized RPD- the way it operates and using Troop’s rifle ammunition and also the design team it came from.

      • Wow!

        Seems like a downgrade from the RPD to me just from looks. It looks heavier and bulkier. To me I think the DSA RPD was the best iteration ever created. Some people have had reliability issues, and I don’t own one, but some of my co-workers who do don’t have problems with it.

  • Mike

    Do the Russians use 7.62×39 or 5.45×39 for standard use by regular troops and special forces?

    • Major Tom

      5.45 with intermittent use of 7.62×39 for certain situations/roles.

      • Kivaari

        Reserve units and police/prisons still use 7.62x39mm. But, the mix of guns is not uniform.

        • Major Tom

          Some police/wilderness rescue outfits from the Urals going east still use the Mosin-Nagant. So not uniform is an understatement.

          • Wow!

            It probably the same as here in the states. Underfunded departments take what they can get and scrounge up what they can’t.

    • Anonymoose

      7.62×39 is more of an OMON (SWAT) thing than a Spetsnaz thing, but police foot patrols have their choice of AKS74Us or AKMs. The military uses the 7.62x54R a lot more than the x39 (lots of PKMs, PKPs, and Dragunovs going around).

      • Sermon 7.62
        • drambus

          Same. While 5.45×39 is an excellent round and logistics and soldier friendly, sometimes you need the thump to win an engagement without having to call in a force multiplier.

        • Anonymoose

          Those are AK-103s. Notice the AKS-74-style stock hinge and the 90-degree gas block. Point taken on the 7.62×39 though.

          • Sermon 7.62

            You’re right. But AKM underfolders are also common. See them a lot suppressed

          • Max Glazer

            Possibly the old AKMN and AKMSN. They came with side rail so special forces, having the ability to choose weapons, like their higher knock-down power and cover penetration at close quarters

  • Major Tom

    I think the Russians win this round. They’re upgrading to new age SAW’s while we pursue a downgrade to imitation RPK’s.

    • Not so sure the SAW is such an upgrade tbh.

    • Sermon 7.62

      You mean that M27 is an imitation of RPK? I think M27 is the best automatic rifle at the moment

      • What? No, you’re not allowed to say that. Take it back, and say the RPK-16 is the best.

        • Sermon 7.62

          RPK-16 is on trial.

          I am afraid that it isn’t going to outperform the M27, at least because of the handguard and the receiver’s design. I don’t think that their idea to keep that top removable is a good one. And the rail on the top of the handguard is useless on AK.

          But as a whole it is a step in the right direction

      • int19h

        It’s an imitation in a sense that it’s trying to fill the same niche (which many argue is kinda pointless in the first place).

        • Sermon 7.62

          Yes but it also raised the bar. M27 is a much better gun than the old RPK

          • BrandonAKsALot

            As a huge AK lover and enthusiast, I can emphatically say the RPK is probably the single worst variation of the Kalashnikov Russia ever produced. That being said, I absolutely love mine, but I rarely ever shoot them because just zeroing them in is a PITA. The constantly shifting POI is horrible if you use the bipod at all.

            Now I would love to try out an RPK-74m and see how much better it is and it’s one of the best looking guns in the world IMO.

          • Sermon 7.62

            There used to be a tactical explanation of that but it is no longer relevant: in the past each 10-men unit had one RPK and it was supposed to be used for suppressive fire. Just to support the troops, from the same range. So it didn’t matter how accurate it was.

            Now, after the M27 it’s a shame to use something like that but the new RPK-16 looks promising.

          • Wow!

            The M27 is a $3000 solution for a $650 M16.

          • Secundius

            M16A1 cost ~$109.52 in 28 February 1967 when it was introduced into the US Military. In 2017, it would cost ~$564.00 to produce the Same Rifle. If you Devalue the M27 into 1967 prices, it’s about ~$814.69. But also Consider that the M16A1 in 1967 was Mil-Std, NOT Mil-Spec. in 2017…

          • Wow!

            You cant compare an M27 in a deflated 1960 price to an M16 in today’s price. We ARE paying $3,000 per unit for the M27 and we ARE only paying around $650 for the various M16/M4 variations.

            Look at the mechanism of the H&K416/M27 platform. It is literally just a heavier M16. DI does not contribute to reliability, that is more to avoid being gassed out when using silencers. It is better to have 4 M16s you can swap out when worn than one M27 which you are going to keep when past its service life because it is too expensive to replace.

            H&K is somewhat like the Tesla of the firearms industry to me, except unlike Tesla they actually pull a profit. They don’t produce the best options available and anyone can have the R&D and reliability they have if people were paying ridiculous prices for their weapons. I think a better sign of a quality manufacturer are those who can produce a quality weapon at an economy price. And there are plenty of those.

          • Secundius

            Colt’s Manufacturing Last Won US Military Rifle Replacement Competition was in 2007. After 2008 “ALL” US Arms Manufacturers Re-Tooled from Mil-Std. to Mil-Spec. NO US Manufacturer has WON the US Military Rifle Replacement Competition SINCE 2007. The ONLY US Manufacture to come close was Colt’s Manufacturing. And they Dropped Out after the First Phase of the Competition. Colt’s Manufacturing has been Relegated to the Status of Replacement Parts ONLY…

    • CavScout

      True story. Our ‘automatic rifleman’ will have no more firepower than the average rifleman. Lol

      • Secundius

        Maybe Not?/! The NEW US Army SAW uses a 6.5mm CT (Cased Telescopic) round, that’s ~51.61mm Long (including Cartridge). And an Effective Range of ~1,200-meters and being able to Carry ~36% More Ammunition then the Current SAW…

  • Denny

    Couple of observations: receiver is quite long which translates to low RPM which is desirable; charging handle is located on op-rod which simplifies bolt design; receiver structure is void of multiple welds which helps with heat distortion during manufacture.
    That strangely stepped stock is there primarily to keep (together with low scope mount) low shooter-weapon silhouette. Less exposure – less chance of getting hit.

  • Rusty S.

    Thanks for the informative article, Nathaniel! I wasn’t aware that they renamed the Kord-5.45 to this. Do you know when that occurred?

    • If I have it right, Kord-5.45 is the name of Degtyarev’s entry to the program, and the program is called Tokar-2.

      • noob

        does it share any design principles with the other Kord?

  • iksnilol

    So does a chin weld. Main factor is that you’re consistent.

  • Sermon 7.62

    In truth the Russian AK has the same cheek weld as AR and the stock is just as straight.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c3fcd622be747a71015e04505ace5f4d9671f8863078174b4f009c2b80445845.gif

    • int19h

      Only with iron sights.

      • Sermon 7.62

        No.

        Even CQB optics such as Kobra raise the cheek weld about 0.8 inch above the iron sights. Most optics are designed like this, so that a man can keep his head straight.

        • int19h

          Have you tried shooting an AK with Kashtan, Obzor or Rakurs on it?

          • Sermon 7.62

            Some sights, such as Obzor are on purpose made to sit about an inch higher than the iron sights.

          • int19h

            Most sights, no matter how mounted, cannot cowitness with the iron sights on the AK at all – which, by definition, means that their sight height over bore is significantly higher (and so, if iron sights have proper cheekweld, than those other sights do not).

            The only exceptions that I know of are micro-dots (Aimpoint Micro and clones) mounted on low profile side rail mounts, or on the gas tube. Those give something like lower 1/4th cowitness.

          • Sermon 7.62

            That is true Russian sights are about an inch (or a bit less higher) and the red dot doesn’t stand on the tip of the front sight, and this particular feature of AR is a good one

  • Sermon 7.62

    In Russia this rubber thing is preferred for maintaining the correct relief

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7f67e118d75f7e73beec31d322426fb11ae4701c81a68980af7d03720fbf97a6.jpg

    • Kivaari

      The rubber eye cushions are unfomfortable to use. Especially on a rifle like the SVD. That blast of compressed air is odd feeling.

      • Sermon 7.62

        The Russians find them comfortable. Next time, don’t get too close to that rubber thing.

  • Raoul O’Shaugnessy

    “Shown”, not showed.

    • It’s not a past participle, so “showed” is acceptable.

  • Raptor Fred

    Lets see some video of these bad boys firing?

  • Brett baker

    For once, the Russians waited for the patent to expire before they copied something.

    • Max Glazer

      Please specify what exactly they copied?

      • MichaelZWilliamson

        Minimi, possibly. I’d have to see the internals. OTOH, there are only so many ways to make a gun operate.

        • Max Glazer

          Ummm noone had seen what Tokar-2 looks like inside and yet mr Baker just blurts out that it’s a copy of some other design.

          I just fail to understand this sheer idiocy of trash talk.

  • BrandonAKsALot

    I thought this project was dead a while back. Cool to see it make it to the light of day.

  • CavScout

    The Ruskies will have to change barrels like crazy on these. The jacket on the 5.45×39 wears bores out like crazy. That plus belt fed…. 8k round barrel like I bet.