The Americans developed their first “half-inch” machine gun in the 1920s and 1930s. However, the demand for a similar weapon also appeared in the USSR, where in 1929 the 12.7mm entered service DK machine gun constructor Vasiliy Alexeyevich Degtyarev. It was a promising design, but the low capacity of the drum magazine was a problem, so the engineer Georgy Semyonovich Shpagin added belt supply system. The result was the famous DŠK machine gun, which began to be delivered in 1938, was the standard weapon of its category in the Red Army during the Second World War, and in the modernized version of the DŠKM is still occasionally found on battlefields. In the early 1960s, however, the Soviet army specified requirements for its successor, which was to be characterized primarily by lower weight.
Introduction: Reliable lead-spewing half-inch guns: Duel of M2HB machine guns vs. NSV (1)
Compensation for DŠK
So CKIB SOO started the project (Central Design and Research Office of Sporting and Hunting Weapons)where the weapon under the working name A cliff developed by designers GI Nikitin, JM Sokolov and VI Volkov. The prototype of the machine gun was presented to the army in 1969, and the new weapon, according to the surnames of the designers and the caliber, received an official name composed of the initial letters of the surnames of its designers: NSV-12.7 (however, the numerical data is usually omitted). Sometimes there is also the departmental index 6P11, or even the work name Uťos. Serial production was originally supposed to take place at Degtyaryev’s factory in the city of Kovrov, but later the decision was made to build a completely new plant in the city of Uralsk.
This business named Metalist began deliveries in 1972. Similar to many contemporary machine gun designs, the NSV is powered by powder gases taken from the barrel. Gases drive a piston connected to the bolt carrier, but unlike the Kalashnikov principle, the bolt does not have a rotary drive, but a horizontal one. Therefore, the bolt is locked due to movement to the left. The machine gun is most often installed on a 6T7 tripod, and the whole assembly is then referred to as NSVS (stand soldier – on a pedestal)but there is also a 6U6 tripod with a seat and a higher elevation, which is usually used for air defense.
In the arsenal of the ACR
Like the American “fifty”, the NSV also boasts high accuracy, which is why a scope can also be installed on it and used as a heavy sniper rifle. Based on the NSV, it was subsequently developed i NSVT machine gun (tankovoj), characterized by an electric trigger with the possibility of direct or remote control. As the name suggests, it is mainly used in the armament of tanks and other combat vehicles, where it is usually mounted on towers or in various shooting ranges. Sometimes NSV can also be encountered on helicopters, and a turret was also created Uťos-M with a pair of machine guns mounted on light naval vessels.
The successful Soviet machine gun also found its way into the armies of dozens of other countries, and its users include the Army of the Czech Republic, as it can be found, among other things, on T-72M4 CZ tanks or Kajman and Cowboy vehicles, or Land Rover Defender cars for special and airborne units. Several countries have started license production of this weapon, and as a curiosity, Poland produces the WKM-B machine gun, which is essentially a derivative of the NSV for western ammunition.
However, the army of the Russian Federation itself already considers the NSV to be obsolete, and therefore, since the turn of the century, it has been introducing a new 12.7mm machine gun Kord. It is visually similar to the NSV, but features a new muzzle brake with a distinctive square shape, and its internal mechanism has changed considerably, as the bolt now moves vertically. Addition the weight of the weapon decreased and the service life of the barrel increased, as the last mentioned parameter is among the relatively serious shortcomings of the NSV. If around 100 shots are fired from it in one continuous dose, its service life is over, although of course the NSV also allows for a quick exchange of the barrel. In any case, Russia itself has not produced NSV machine guns for some time, and the new Kord model is increasingly being seen. However, there can be no doubt that the NSV will remain in the army of the Russian Federation and the armies of other countries for a long time.
NSV machine gun
- AMMUNITION TYPE: 12.7×108 mm
- TOTAL LENGTH: 1,560 mm
- MAIN LENGTH: 1,100 mm
- WEAPON WEIGHT: 25 kg
- WEIGHT WITH TRIPOD: 41 kg
- Muzzle Velocity: 845 m/s
- MAX. CADENCE: 700-800 rounds/min.
- EFFECTIVE RANGE: 2000 m
- MAX. RANGE: 6,000 m
Measurement of forces
The M2HB machine gun was born at a time when the tactical and technical requirements for 12.7 mm machine guns were still developing, which also applies to the Soviet DŠK type. Both then saw heavy use in World War II, but while the M2HB continued in service more or less unchanged, a new and significantly lighter NSV machine gun was constructed in the USSR. Its lower weight is thus one of its most significant advantages, which also applies to a higher cadence. On the contrary, it can be said about the M2HB type that it is better controlled when firing bursts, is simpler and has a longer service life. Both weapons are characterized by remarkable accuracy, so they are sometimes also used for sniping, but this option is easier in the case of the American weapon, which (rather unusually for a machine gun) has the ability to fire single shots as well.
The NSV lacks this mode, and therefore individual shots require an experienced operator who can press the trigger for just such a short moment that only one accurate shot comes out of the NSV. Both machine guns use belt feeding, but the capacities of the standard magazines differ, as the American one holds 110 rounds, while the Russian only holds 50 rounds. However, the practical effectiveness in a specific combat situation obviously depends a lot on the type of ammunition. In both calibers (i.e. the US 12.7x99mm and the Russian 12.7x108mm) many types of ammunition are produced, including anti-armor, explosive and incendiary, although it is worth pointing out that the use of some such ammunition against live force is prohibited international convention.
Overall, it can be said that the Western 12.7mm ammunition tends to be somewhat more accurate on average, while the Russian caliber offers slightly more armor penetration. In any case, both types of machine guns are very successful and have proven their qualities in a long series of conflicts. But it is certainly remarkable that Russia is already using the third generation of 12.7mm machine guns (i.e. DŠK, NSV and Kord), while in the USA there is only one basic M2HB design all this time. If we include the previous type M1921, then the American “fifties” have been produced for a hundred years without any indication that they should be retired soon. Few doubt that Browning’s M2HB machine gun is among the best firearm designs in the history of warfare.