A general purpose machine gun is a Medium machine gun chambered in a full-power rifle cartridge (7.62x51mm NATO, 7.62x54mmR, .30-06 Springfield, etc.). It is usually mounted on a tripod, or a vehicle; however, some are man-portable. These weapons almost always fire from an open bolt.
General purpose machine guns are used to engage targets at ranges beyond what a light machine gun can reach. They may also be mounted as coaxial guns on tanks, and may serve as anti-personnel weapons when mounted on helicopters.
- Belgian FN MAG, the most widely used GPMG among NATO and other western armies.
- American M60 (later replaced by the M240 (an FN MAG variant) in US service).
- French AA-52, widely used in African countries.
- German MG3, a direct descendant of the MG 42, is still in service with the German Army and others.
- Russian PK/PKM family of multi-purpose machine-guns, widely exported.
- People's Republic of China, the Type 67 and later improved models.
- South African Vektor SS-77.