Firearms / Sniper rifles / SVD

SVD

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Sniper rifle

  • ORIGIN
    USSR

  • NICKNAMES
    Al-Kadisa or Al-Qadissiya (Iraqi production PSL)
    FPK (PSL nickname)
    NDM-86 (Type 79 nickname)
    Ots-03 (SVU nickname)
    PSL-54C (PSL nickname)
    ROMAK-3 (PSL nickname)
    SSG-97 (PSL nickname)
    SVD-137 (development designation)
    SWD (Polish designation for SVD)
    TKIV Dragunov (Finnish designation for SVD)
    Type 79 (Chinese production)

  • DESIGNED
    1958 - 1963

  • DESIGNER
    Evgeniy Dragunov

  • PRODUCTION
    1964 - present

  • PRODUCERS
    China - NORINCO
    Iraq
    Romania
    Russia - Izhmash
    USSR - Izhmash

  • QUANTITY
    Unknown

  • UNIT COST
    Unknown

  • CHARACTERISTICS
    Limited production costs
    Semi-automatic
    Limited accuracy
    Limited range
    Low quality optics

Introduction

The SVD is a sniper rifle of Soviet origin. It was developed in the early 1960's to extend the range of squads equipped with the AK-47. The new rifle was called SVD, which at first stood for Semipolarnya Vintovka Dragunova, Russian for Dragunov semi-automatic rifle, but when it was discovered that the SVD could also be used as a sniper rifle the name Snayperskaya Vintovka Dragunova, Russian for Dragunov sniper rifle was adopted. The SVD is commonly referred to as the Dragunov.

Design

The SVD uses a highly modified version of the Kalashnikov system. Opposed to the AK-47 the SVD has a short stroke gas piston and is semi-automatic only. The SVD is easy to produce and one of the cheapest military semi-automatic sniper rifles. At first all SVD's had wooden handguards and stocks, but since the 90's polymer is also available. The SVD is normally fitted with the 4x24 PSO-1 scope, but can also be fitted with the NSPU-3 night sight. The PSO-1 4x24 scope is very effective, especially the reticule which allows the sniper to accurately estimate the range. The magnification is fixed. A rubber eyepiece gives the correct eye relief of 68mm. Back-up iron sights are fitted as standard. Since the 80's a bipod is available for the SVD, however most are not fitted with a bipod.

Firepower

The SVD fires the 7.62x54mm Russian round from a 10 round detachable magazine. Accuracy averages about 2 MOA, depending on the quality of the gun and ammunition. The effective range of the SVD lies between 600 and 800 meters. Targets can be engaged up to 1000 meters, but require repetitive fire. The PSO-1 4x scope is not suited for firing at ranges of over 600 meters.

Users

The SVD is was widely issued among Soviet and Eastern European troops. It remains in active use today. For true sniping purposes the SVD has often been replaced with better quality rifles. The SVD has been widely exported and produced with or without license in many nations. It remains the most widely used sniper rifle in military service today.

Variants

SVD

SVD

The SVD is the original rifle developed by Dragunov and remains the most widespread variant. For decades the SVD was produced with a wooden furniture, but since the 1990's plastics are fitted as standard.

Statistics

Name: SVD
Caliber 7.62x54mm Russian
Magazine 10 rounds
Operation Gas operated, short stroke gas piston, rotating bolt
Rate of fire Semi-automatic
Barrel length 620 mm
Rifling 4 grooves, right hand 240 mm or 320 mm twist
Muzzle velocity 830 m/s
Weight 4.30 kg empty with scope
Stock Fixed
Length 1.225 mm
Width ?
Height ?
Sights Iron sights, 0 to 1200 m adjustable, 540 mm sight radius
Remarks -
SVDS

SVDS

The SVDS is a slightly shortened SVD. It has a folding stock that is shorter than the original and a shorter and heavier barrel with shorter flash hider. It is not possible to fit the SVDS with a bayonet. While the SVDS is a newer design it is only available with plastic furniture.

Statistics

Name: SVDS
Caliber 7.62x54mm Russian
Magazine 10 rounds
Operation Gas operated, short stroke gas piston, rotating bolt
Rate of fire Semi-automatic
Barrel length 565 mm
Rifling 4 grooves, right hand 240 mm twist
Muzzle velocity 815 m/s
Weight 4.68 kg empty with scope
Stock Foldable
Length 1.135 mm / 0.815 mm
Width ?
Height ?
Sights Iron sights, 0 to 1200 m adjustable
Remarks -
SVU

SVU

The SVU is a bullpup redesign of the SVD. SVU stands for Snaiperskaya Vintovka Ukorochennaya, Russian for shortened sniper rifle. Initially it was known as the Ots-03. The SVU was developed at the request of the Russian OMON. The barrel is fitted with a sort of silencer that removes muzzle flash, reduces sound signature and helps to balance the weapon. The SVU-A is a variant that allows for both semi-automatic and automatic fire, with the SVU-AS having a bipod as well.

Statistics

Name: SVUSVU-ASVU-AS
Caliber 7.62x54mm Russian7.62x54mm Russian7.62x54mm Russian
Magazine 10, 20 rounds10, 20 rounds10, 20 rounds
Operation Gas operated, short stroke gas piston, rotating boltGas operated, short stroke gas piston, rotating boltGas operated, short stroke gas piston, rotating bolt
Rate of fire Semi-automatic650 rpm650 rpm
Barrel length 520 mm520 mm520 mm
Rifling 4 grooves, right hand 240 mm twist4 grooves, right hand 240 mm twist4 grooves, right hand 240 mm twist
Muzzle velocity 800 m/s800 m/s800 m/s
Weight 4.40 kg empty with scope4.40 kg empty with scope5.3 kg empty with scope
Stock FixedFixedFixed
Length 900 mm900 mm900 mm
Width ???
Height ???
Sights Iron sightsIron sightsIron sights
Remarks --Fixed foldable bipod
Type 79

Type 79

The Type 79 is an exact copy of the SVD that is produced in China by NORINCO. The NDM-86 is a civilian version of the Type 79 that is also available in 7.62x51mm NATO. The Type 79 uses a slightly shorter stock, while Chinese snipers are smaller.

Statistics

Name: Type 79
Caliber 7.62x54mm Russian
Magazine 10 rounds
Operation Gas operated, short stroke gas piston, rotating bolt
Rate of fire Semi-automatic
Barrel length 620 mm
Rifling 4 grooves, right hand 320 mm twist
Muzzle velocity 830 m/s
Weight 3.8 kg empty
Stock Fixed
Length 1.220 mm
Width ?
Height ?
Sights Iron sights
Remarks -
PSL

PSL

The PSL is a modified SVD produced in Romania. PSL stands for Pusca Semiautomata cu Luneta, Romanian for scoped semi-automatic rifle. The PSL rifles use a different shape wooden stock and a wooden handguard with four long slots instead of six smaller ones and modified magazines.. The PSL is also known in export sales as the ROMAK-3, FPK, PSL-54C and SSG-97. The PSL was produced under license in Iraq, where it is known as the Al-Kadisa.

Statistics

Name: PSL
Caliber 7.62x54mm Russian
Magazine 10 rounds
Operation Gas operated, short stroke gas piston, rotating bolt
Rate of fire Semi-automatic
Barrel length 620 mm
Rifling 4 grooves, right hand 320 mm twist
Muzzle velocity 830 m/s
Weight 4.06 kg empty
Stock Fixed
Length 1.150 mm
Width ?
Height ?
Sights Iron sights, 0 to 1200 m adjustable
Remarks -

Use

 
Abkhazia
Afghanistan
Albania
Algeria
Armenia
Azerbaijan
Bangladesh

Belarus
Bolivia
Bosnia
Bulgaria
Cambodia
China
Costa Rica

Croatia
Cuba
Czech Republic
Djibouti
Egypt
Eritrea
Ethiopia

Finland
Georgia
Hungary
India
Iran
Iraq
Kazakhstan

Kyrgyzstan
Latvia
Lebanon
Libya
Lithuania
Macedonia
Madagascar

Moldova
Mongolia
Nicaragua
North Korea
Pakistan
Panama
Poland

Romania
Russia
Slovakia
Sri Lanka
Sudan
Suriname
Syria

Tajikistan
Turkey
Turkmenistan
Ukraine
USSR (former)
Uzbekistan
Venezuela

Vietnam
Yemen
Zimbabwe

M76

The Yugoslav M76 fulfills the same role as the SVD and looks rather similar, despite using a different gas mechanism.

AK-47

Contrary to popular belief the SVD uses a different mechanism than the AK-47.

Type 81

The Type 81 uses a similar gas system as the SVD, although it looks similar to the AK-47.