The RPD is a 7.62 mm light machine gun developed in the Soviet Union by Vasily Degtyaryov for the intermediate 7.62x39mm M43 cartridge. It was created as a replacement for the Soviet 7.62 mm DP light machine gun, chambered for the 7.62x54mmR Mosin rifle round.
RPD's were used by SOG teams due to there firepower and lighter weight (compared to an M60) They were further lightened by removing the barrel after the gas tube, gus removing the bipod (this hasnt been done on the weapon). The sound of an RPD would also confuse enemy troops as to the source of the firing. SOG teams would also line the drum magazine for noise suppresion purposes and the length of the belt was increased to 125 rounds from the standard 100 rounds. The extra drum magazines are seen here carried in Arctic canteen covers.
The RPD is an automatic weapon using a gas actuated piston system (long piston stroke) and a locking system analogous to other Degtyaryov designs, consisting of hinged flaps set in recesses on each side of the receiver, which are controlled by inclined surfaces on the bolt carrier assembly. The weapon fires from an open bolt. The RPD is striker fired (the bolt carrier acts as the striker) and features a trigger mechanism that is limited to fully automatic fire only. The bolt is equipped with a spring-loaded extraction system, while a fixed insert in the receiver housing serves as the ejector. Spent cartridge casings are ejected downward through a chute in the bolt carrier and receiver. The RPD has a manually operated lever-type safety mechanism that secures the weapon from accidentally firing by blocking the bolt catch when engaged.
The machine gun feeds from the left-hand side from a segmented, open-link metal belt (each segment holds 50-rounds). Two combined belts (linked by cartridge), containing a sum total of 100 rounds are stored in a metal container resembling a drum, attached to the base of the receiver. The feed system is operated by a roller connected to the reciprocating bolt carrier assembly and the belt is moved during rearward motion of the bolt carrier.
The weapon is equipped with a non-removable barrel with a 3-position gas adjustment valve, a folding bipod, wooden shoulder stock and foregrip, pistol grip and open-type, mechanically adjustable iron sights. The sights are composed of a front post (adjustable in both windage and elevation) and a notched rear sight mounted on a tangent with a sliding elevation adjustment knob and marked with range indicators from 100 to 1000 m (graduated every 100 m). Certain machine guns were fitted with a side rail (fixed to the left side of the receiver), used to mount the NSP-2 night sight.
The firearm consists of the following major groups and components: the receiver and barrel, bolt, bolt carrier, feed tray and feed cover, the return mechanism and the trigger group and stock. Standard accessories supplied with the weapon include: ammunition containers, extra belts, a cleaning rod (attached to the left side of the receiver), cleaning kit (stowed in a compartment inside the stock), sling and pouches for the ammunition drums.