The DShKM is a gas-operated, belt-fed, air-cooled machine gun that fires from an open bolt and in automatic mode. The gas piston and chamber are located below the barrel, with the gas piston of the long-stroke type attached to the bolt carrier. The gas chamber is fitted with a gas regulator, which requires a specific wrench to make adjustments. The rear of the receiver houses two spring buffers, one for the bolt and one for the bolt carrier. The heavy barrel is finned for better cooling and is fitted with a large muzzle brake. The barrel can be detached from the weapon and replaced quickly and easily. The machine gun is chambered for 12.7x108mm ammunition and primarily designated for defeating light armored targets and enemy personnel at a distance up to 1,500 to 2,000m, as well as for the defeat of slow-speed low-altitude air targets (helicopters, aircraft, UAVs) at angled distances of up to 1,500m.