- Effective Range: 1,000 yards
- Weight: 14.55 lb
- Length: 40.8 in
- Barrel Length: 20.5 in
- Cartridge: 7.62x39mm
- Action: Gas-operated
- Rate of Fire: 650-750 rounds/min
- Muzzle Velocity: 2,411 ft/s (735 m/s)
- Effective Range: 100-1,000 m
- Feed System: 100-round belt contained in drum magazine
- Sights: Open-type sights with rear sliding notch and semi-hooded front post
The RPD was developed in the Soviet Union during World War II, and remained in service with the Red Army until the 1960's, when it was replaced by the RPK. During the mid 40s and 50s this was the dominant machine gun within the Soviet Union; replacing the cheap yet structurally flawed Degtyaryov machine gun. The RPD is still in service in a number of countries around the world.
The RPD was pitted against the RPK of Saddam Hussein. The two guns were first tested against 5 targets in phase 2 of the first test. Since both guns were equally successful, a second test was devised simulating a motorcade ambush with two targets inside. The RPK killed both in 58 seconds, while the RPD killed both in 46 seconds. The edge was given to the RPD due to it's 100 round drum magazine.
- After the tests the RPD got the edge over the RPK, which was designed to replace it. But in the results of the simulation the RPD got less percentage than the RPK. The Aftermath showed that the RPD does jam more often, is harder to reload and is heavier than the RPK.
- The RPD was the main light machine gun of the Viet Cong.