The Maxim–Tokarev was the first domestic Soviet light machine gun accepted for service. It was based on the Maxim M1910.

Tokarev and his son posing with their model 1925 machine gun
TypeLight machine gun
Place of originSoviet Union
Service history
Used bySee Users
WarsSpanish Civil War
Second Sino-Japanese War
World War II
Korean War
Production history
DesignerFedor Tokarev
No. built2,500
Mass12.9 kg (empty)
15.5 kg (with typical ammo load)[1]
Length1330 mm[1]
Barrel length650 mm[1]

Caliber7.62 mm
ActionShort recoil, toggle locked
Feed systembelt-feed, 100 rounds belt


During World War I and the Russian Civil War, the Soviet army was equipped with light machine guns of foreign manufacture, mostly with the Lewis gun, the Chauchat and the Hotchkiss M1909. By the 1920s, these guns were showing their age, and owing to the Soviet Union's international diplomatic isolation, neither spare parts nor ammunition could be easily obtained for these guns.

In 1923 GAU emergency program was initiated for equipping the Red army with a light machine gun chambered for the domestic 7.62×54mmR.[1]

The first design submitted was the Maxim-Kolesnikov, designed by Ivan Nikolaevich Kolesnikov at the Kovrov Arms Factory, followed soon thereafter by the Maxim–Tokarev, designed by Fedor Vasilievich Tokarev at the Tula Arsenal. During field tests conducted in early 1925, Tokarev's model proved superior, so it was adopted on May 26.[3]

Of the 2,500 Maxim–Tokarev guns were produced by Tula arms factory (TOZ) in 1926–27; 1,400 were supplied to China between 1938 and 1939 in the Sino-Soviet Aid Program.[4] The rest were sent to the Republican forces during the Spanish Civil War[5] It was replaced in Soviet service by the much lighter DP.[6]


A US Army analysis mentions that "Tokarev was doubtless inspired by both the German Parabellum and the British Vickers. The arrangement of the trigger and the shoulder stock resembles very strongly that illustrated in United States Patent No. 942167, which was granted in 1909 to Dawson and Buckham, assignors to Vickers."[7]

The water jacket of the Maxim M1910 was discarded and replaced by a thin perforated steel jacket. The barrel was shortened and lightened from 2.1 kg to 1.7 kg. A mechanism for changing the barrel in field conditions was provided. The spade grips were replaced with a rifle-type stock and the thumb-trigger was replaced by a rifle-type trigger. A folding bipod with tubular legs was attached to the barrel jacket.[1]

The canvas-belt feed system was the same as on Maxim M1910 guns, except the standard belt capacity was reduced to 100 rounds. The 100-round belts were usually carried in separate drum-type containers, inspired from the MG 08/15. The barrel rifling was 4 right-turns in 240 mm.[1]


See also


  1. Семен Федосеев (2009). Пулеметы России. Шквальный огонь. Яуза / Коллекция / ЭКСМО. pp. 380–381. ISBN 978-5-699-31622-9.
  2. С. Л. Федосеев. Пулемёты России. Шквальный огонь. М., Яуза – ЭКСМО, 2009. стр.140–142
  3. Болотин, Давид (1995). История советского стрелкового оружия и патронов (in Russian). Полигон. pp. 166–167. ISBN 978-5-85503-072-3.
  4. Shih, Bin (2018). China's Small Arms of the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945). p. 169.
  5. Esdaile, Charles J. (2018). The Spanish Civil War: A Military History (1st ed.). Routledge. p. 284. ISBN 9781138311275.
  6. James H. Willbanks (2004). Machine Guns: An Illustrated History of Their Impact. ABC-CLIO. p. 99. ISBN 978-1-85109-480-6.
  7. Chinn, George M. The Machine Gun, Vol II, Part VII. US Department of the Navy, 1952, page 23
  8. Ness, Leland; Shih, Bin (July 2016). Kangzhan: Guide to Chinese Ground Forces 1937–45. Helion & Company. pp. 287, 295. ISBN 9781910294420.
  9. Kinard, Jeff (2010). "Machine guns". In Tucker, Spencer C.; Pierpaoli, Paul G., Jr. (eds.). The Encyclopedia of the Korean War: A Political, Social, and Military History. 1. A-L (2nd ed.). ABC-CLIO. p. 535. ISBN 978-1-85109-849-1.
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