ShKAS (7.62 mm)

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ShKAS sideview.jpg
ShKAS machine gun
Aircraft revolver machine gunType
Soviet Union CountryIcon SUN.pngCountry of origin
Production History
Boris ShpitalniyDesigner
Irinarkh Komaritsky
1933 - 1945Produced
10.5 kg (23.1 lb)Gun mass (turret)
9.8 kg (21.6 lb)Gun mass (wing)
Other Information
7.62 mmCalibre
Gas with rotary feeding mechanismAction
1,800 RPMRate of fire
825 m/s (2,710 ft/s)Muzzle velocity
Belt-fed with metal disintegrating linksFeed System
400 m (1,312 ft)Effective distance
2,000 m (6,561.7 ft)Maximum distance


Side view of an ShKAS (7.62 mm) machine gun in the defensive turret of an Su-2 (M-82).

The ShKAS (7.62 mm) (Shpitalny-Komaritski Aviatsionny Skorostrelny or Shipitalny-Komaritski rapid-fire for aircraft – Russian: ШКАС - Шпитального-Комарицкого Авиационный Скорострельный) is a 7.62 mm caliber machine gun which was first produced in 1933 for usage in Soviet aircraft which saw action all the way through World War II in many of the fighters, attackers and bombers of the day. The ShKAS is a single chamber, gas-operated revolver-type machine gun in which a firing pin strikes the primer of the bullet in the chamber to fire the round.

Vehicles equipped with this weapon

Vehicles equipped with this weapon
I-153  I-153 M-62 · Zhukovsky's I-153-M62
I-16  I-16 type 5 · I-16 type 10 · I-16 type 18 · I-16 type 24 · I-16 type 27 · I-16 type 28
LaGG  LaGG-3-4 · I-301
MiG-3  MiG-3-15 · MiG-3-15 (BK)
Yak  Yak-1
Twin-engine fighters  I-29 · Pe-3bis (Defensive) · Pe-3 (e)
IL-2  IL-2 (1941) · IL-2 (1942) · ▀IL-2 (1942) · IL-2-37 · IL-2M type 3 · IL-2M "Avenger" · IL-2M (1943)
Su-2  Su-2 (M-82) · Su-2 MV-5 · Su-2 TSS-1
Su-6  Su-6 (AM-42) · Su-6 (M-71F)
Other  BB-1 · IL-10 · Tandem MAI · Yak-2 KABB
Pe-2  Pe-2-1 · Pe-2-31 · Pe-2-83 · Pe-2-110 · Pe-2-205 · Pe-2-359
SB-2  SB 2M-100 (Defensive) · SB 2M-103 MV-3 (Defensive) · SB 2M-103 (Defensive) · SB 2M-103U (Defensive) · SB 2M-103U MV-3 (Defensive) · SB 2M-105 (Defensive)
Yer-2  Yer-2 (M-105) (Defensive) · Yer-2 (M-105) TAT (Defensive) · Yer-2 (M-105R) LU (Defensive) · Yer-2 (M-105R) TAT (Defensive)
Other  Ar-2 (Defensive) · DB-3B (Defensive) · IL-4 (Defensive) · MBR-2-M-34 (Defensive) · Pe-8 (Defensive) · Po-2 Night Witch (Defensive) · Yak-4

General info

A diagram of the operation of the ShKAS (7.62 mm) machine gun with identification of parts.

The designers Boris Shpitalniy and Irinarkh Komaritsky departed from traditional methods of feeding belt linked ammunition into the ShKAS and utilised a feed design nicknamed “bird-cage” or “squirrel-cage”[1]. Even declassified documents regarding the United State’s evaluation of the feed system stated, “…an interesting departure was made from the heretofore orthodox practice of feeding ammunition to a gun of this caliber [sic].” [2]

The ammunition belt enters the feed cage forward of the firing chamber. When the gun is fired, a gas piston actuates an arm connected to the cylindrical feed cage, rotating it one position to introduce the new bullet. As the feed cage (holding ten rounds) rotates a helical groove and guides the bullets rearward. Through this process of working the bullets rearwards, they are automatically delinked from the metal disintegrating link belt. The rounds make it to the final position at the bottom of the drum where they are then chambered into the receiver, ready to be fired.

One of the benefits of this feed system is during the camming of the rounds; there is relatively no drag on the ammunition allowing the gun to be fired at high rates of speed; however, prolonged actuation can provoke these guns to jam. Rates of fire could be regulated through changing of the holes in the gas regulator, three different hole sizes going from largest to smallest would slow down the rate of fire to a more moderate rate.

Quote icon.png

The ShKAS machine gun had a high rate of fire but it also had 48 ways of jamming. Some of them could be fixed immediately, some could not. And 1,800 rounds a minute was an insanely high rate of fire. If you pulled the trigger too long, the ShKAS would fire all its ammo in one go and that would be it!![3]

— Viktor M. Sinaisky - Soviet machine gun technician

Available shells

  • Default (T/Ball/Ball/AP-I/AI)
  • Universal (AP-I/AI/API-T)
  • Tracers (AP-I/API-T)
  • Stealth (AP-I/AP-I/AP-I/AI)

Comparison with analogues

Comparable machine guns to ShKAS (7.62 mm)
Name Year of Creation Mass Rounds Per Minute Ammunition Feed Type Engine Mount Wing Mount Turret Mount
Browning (7.62 mm) 1919 14 kg 600 RPM 7.62 x 63 mm Belt
Type 92 navy (7.7 mm) 1932 8 kg 600 RPM 7.7 x 56 mm R Drum
Darne 1933 (7.5 mm) 1916 8.4 kg 1,100 RPM 7.5 x 54 mm MAS Belt
Breda-SAFAT (7.7 mm) 1935 12.5 kg 850 RPM 7.7 x 56 mm R Belt
MG 17 (7.92 mm) 1934 10.2 kg 1,150 RPM 7.92 x 57 mm Belt
MAC 1934 (7.5 mm) 1934 10.7 kg 1,450 RPM 7.5 x 54 mm MAS Belt/Magazine

Usage in battles

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Pros and cons


  • The fastest firing rifle-calibre machine gun in WWII
  • Every belt is extremely effective at causing fires on enemy aircraft (tracers and stealth are the most effective)
  • Incredibly easy to knock out gunners and pilots on enemy aircraft (or exposed crew members on ground and naval forces)
  • If fired in short bursts, most aircraft can make a belt last an entire game in realistic battle


  • Can easily jam. It is recommended to fire in bursts lasting no longer than one second


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See also

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External links

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Aircraft machine guns
7.62 mm  Browning · M134 Minigun
12.7 mm  M2 Browning · M3 Browning
7.62 mm  MG3
7.92 mm  MG 15 · MG 17 · MG 81
12.7 mm  FN M3P
13 mm  MG 131
7.62 mm  DA · GShG-7.62 · PV-1 · ShKAS
12.7 mm  A-12.7 · Berezin UB · YaK-B
7.62 mm  L8A1
7.7 mm  Browning · Vickers E · Vickers K
7.7 mm  Te-1 · Type 89 · Type 89 'special' · Type 92 · Type 97 navy
7.92 mm  Type 1 · Type 98
12.7 mm  Ho-103 · Ho-104
13 mm  Type 2
13.2 mm  Type 3
7.7 mm  Breda-SAFAT · Lewis
7.92 mm  FN Browning
12.7 mm  Breda-SAFAT · FN M3M · Scotti
7.5 mm  Darne 1933 · Fabrique Nationale Mle 38 · FN Browning · MAC 1934 · MAC 1934T · Mle 33 · Mle 1923
7.62 mm  PKA
8 mm  Ksp m/22 · Ksp m/22 Fh · Ksp m/22 Fv · Ksp m/22-37 R
12.7 mm  Akan m/39A · Akan m/40 · Akan m/45 · LKk/42
13.2 mm  Akan m/39 · Akan m/39A

  1. Ian V. Hogg (1978). The illustrated encyclopaedia of firearms. New Burlington Books. p. 279. ISBN 978-0-906286-41-8
  2. Chinn, George M. The Machine Gun, Vol II, Part VII. US Department of the Navy, 1952, p. 78-79
  3. Drabkin, Artem. The Red Air Force at War: Barbarossa and the Retreat to Moscow – Recollections of Fighter Pilots on the Eastern Front. Barnsley, South Yorkshire, UK: Pen & Sword Military, 2007. ISBN 1-84415-563-3