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, 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. He can be reached via email at [email protected]