SVD rifle

SVD rifle

Infobox Weapon

caption=Current production SVD with synthetic furniture
origin=flag|Soviet Union
type=Sniper rifle
used_by=See "Users"
wars=Vietnam War, Soviet war in Afghanistan, Iraq War
designer=E. F. Dragunov
manufacturer=Izhmash, Norinco
variants=See "Variants"
weight=kg to lb|4.30|sp=us|abbr=on|precision=2|wiki=yes (with scope and unloaded magazine) convert|4.68|kg|abbr=on (SVDS) convert|4.40|kg|abbr=on (SVU) convert|5.02|kg|abbr=on (SWD-M)
length=mm to in|1225|abbr=on|precision=1|wiki=yes (SVD) convert|1135|mm|abbr=on|1 stock extended / convert|815|mm|abbr=on|1 stock folded (SVDS) convert|900|mm|abbr=on|1 (SVU) convert|1125|mm|abbr=on|1 (SWD-M)
part_length=convert|620|mm|abbr=on|1 (SVD, SVDS, SWD-M) convert|600|mm|abbr=on|1 (SVU)
action=Gas-operated, rotating bolt
velocity=convert|830|m/s|0|lk=on|sp=us|abbr=on (SVD, SVDS, SWD-M) convert|800|m/s|abbr=on|1 (SVU)
range=Up to 800 m sight adjustments for point targets
max_range=1,300 m with scope 1,200 m with iron sights
feed=10-round detachable box magazine
sights=PSO-1 telescopic sight and iron sights with an adjustable rear notch sight

The SVD (Russian: "Снайперская винтовка Драгунова", "Snayperskaya vintovka Dragunova"), "Dragunov sniper rifle", is a 7.62 mm semi-automatic sniper rifle, developed in the former Soviet Union. It was selected as the winner of a contest that included three competing designs: the first was a rifle designed by Sergei Simonov (known as the SSV-58), the second – by Alexander Konstantinov (prototype designated 2B-W10) and the third rifle, the SVD-137 was a design by Evgeny Dragunov. Extensive testing of the rifles in variable environmental conditions resulted in E. F. Dragunov’s design being accepted into service in 1963. At the same time an initial pre-production batch of 200 rifles was assembled, and from 1964 serial production was carried out at Izhmash. Since then, the SVD has become the standard squad support weapon of several countries, including those of the former Warsaw Pact, among them Poland (since 1966). Licensed production of the rifle was established in China (Type 79 and Type 85) and Iraq (as the Al Kadesiah).

Design details

Hungarian soldier takes aim with the SVD.

Kazakh soldiers on exercise with the SVD.

The SVD is a semi-automatic gas-operated rifle with a short-stroke gas-piston system. The barrel breech is locked through a rotating bolt (left rotation) and uses three locking lugs to engage corresponding locking recesses in the barrel extension. The rifle has a manual, two-position gas regulator. The weapon is fed from a curved box magazine with a 10-round capacity and the cartridges are double-stacked in a checker pattern. After discharging the last cartridge from the magazine, the bolt carrier and bolt are held back on a bolt catch that is released by pulling the cocking handle to the rear. The rifle has a hammer-type striking mechanism and a manual lever safety selector. The rifle's receiver is machined to provide additional accuracy and torsional strength. The SVD receiver bears a number of similarities to the AK action, such as the large dust cover, iron sights and lever safety selector, but these similarities are primarily cosmetic in nature.

The SVD's barrel is ended with a slotted flash suppressor. The barrel’s bore is chrome-lined [ [ Chrome lined gun barrels] ] for increased corrosion resistance, and has 4 right-hand grooves with a 320 mm (1:12.6 in) twist rate. The barrel is not rifled throughout its entire length; only convert|547|mm|abbr=on|1 contains lands and grooves. Later the twist rate was tightened to 240 mm (1:9.4 in) which slightly deteriorates the accuracy of fire with regular cartridges and reduces the muzzle velocity to convert|810|m/s|0|lk=on|sp=us|abbr=on. This was done in order to facilitate the use of tracer and armor-piercing incendiary ammunition. These special bullet types required a shorter twist rate for adequate stabilization. [ [ Evgeniy Dragunov: Creator of Firepower (abstracts from a forthcoming book)] ]

The rifle features mechanically adjustable backup iron sights with a sliding tangent rear sight (the sight can be adjusted to a maximum range of 1200 m) and is issued with a quick-detachable PSO-1 optical sight.cite web | url = | title = PSO-1 Manual | work = | accessdate = October 29 | accessyear 2007] The PSO-1 sight (at a total length of 375 mm with a lens cover and sun shade, 4x magnification and 6° field of view) mounts to a proprietary side rail mount. The PSO-1 scope includes a variety of features, such as a bullet drop compensation (BDC) elevation adjustment knob, an illuminated rangefinder grid, a reticle that enables target acquisition in low light conditions as well as an infrared charging screen that is used as a passive detection system. The PSO-1 sight enables targets to be engaged at ranges upwards of 1300 m; effective ranges in combat situations have been stated at between 600 to 1300 m, depending on the nature of the target (point or area target) quality of ammunition and skill of the shooter. [ [ discussion on the SVD effective range by sniper instructors/users] ] [ [ UN judgement dealing with sniping during the Yugoslav wars] ] A capable marksman should be able to expect ≤ 2 MOA consistent accuracy with appropriate ammunition.cite web | url= | title = Russian Dragunov SVD | work = Sniper Central | accessdate = October 29 | accessyear = 2007] Several other models of the PSO sight are available with varying levels of magnification and alternative aiming reticules. Rifles designated SVDN come equipped with a night sight, such as the NSP-3, NSPU, PGN-1, NSPUM or the Polish passive PCS-6 and can be used to engage targets at night. The SVD has a vented, two-piece wooden handguard/gas tube cover and a skeletonized wooden thumbhole stock equipped with a detachable cheek rest; the latter is removed when using iron sights. Newer production models feature synthetic furniture made of a black polymer - the handguard and gas tube cover are more or less identical in appearance, while the thumbhole stock is of a different shape.

For precision shooting, specifically designed sniper cartridges are used, developed by V. M. Sabelnikov, P. P. Sazonov and V. M. Dvorianinov. The proprietary 7N1 load has a steel jacketed projectile with an air pocket, a steel core and a lead knocker in the base for maximum terminal effect. The 7N1 was replaced in 1999 by the 7N14 round. The 7N14 is a new load developed for the SVD. It consists of a 151 grain projectile which travels at the same 830 m/s, but it has a lead core projectile. The rifle can also fire standard 7.62x54mmR Mosin-Nagant ammunition with either conventional, tracer or armor piercing incendiary rounds.

A number of accessories are provided with the rifle, including a blade-type bayonet (AKM clipped point or the AK-74 spear point bayonet), four spare magazines, a leather or nylon sling, magazine pouch, cleaning kit and an accessory/maintenance kit for the telescopic sight.


In the early 1990s a compact variant of the SVD designed for airborne infantry was introduced, known as the SVDS (short for "Snayperskaya Vintovka Dragunova Skladnaya", Russian > "Dragunov Sniper Rifle with folding stock"), which features a tubular metal stock that folds to the right side of the receiver (equipped with a synthetic shoulder pad and a fixed cheek riser) and a synthetic pistol grip. The barrel was also given a heavier profile, the receiver housing was strengthened, the gas cylinder block was improved and a ported, conical flash hider was adopted.

The SVDS also comes in a night-capable variant designated SVDSN.

In 1994 the Russian TsKIB SOO company (currently, a division of the KBP Instrument Design Bureau) developed the SVU sniper rifle (short for "Snayperskaya Vintovka Ukorochennaya", Russian >"Sniper Rifle, Shortened") offered to special units of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD).

The SVU, compared to the SVD, has a considerably shorter overall length because of the bullpup layout and shortened barrel that also received a triple-baffle muzzle brake with an approx. 40% recoil reduction effectiveness. The rifle was equipped with folding iron sights (rear aperture sight in a rotating drum) and the PSO-1 telescopic sight.

A variant of the SVU, designed with a selective-fire capability and using 20-round magazines is called the SVU-A (A – "Avtomaticheskaya").

In 1998 Poland adopted a modernized variant of the SVD designated the SWD-M, which uses a heavy barrel, bipod (mounted to the forearm) and LD-6 (6x42) telescopic sight.

The SVD also served as the basis for several hunting rifles. In 1962 the state armory in Izhevsk developed the “Medved” (Bear) rifle, initially chambered first in the 9x53mm cartridge and later in the 7.62x51mm NATO round for export. In the early 1970s Izhevsk introduced the “Tigr” (Tiger) hunting rifle with a fixed thumbhole stock without a cheekpiece and chambered in 7.62x54mmR Russian, 7.62x51mm NATO, and 9.3x64mm Brenneke. They were originally produced individually but since 1992 they have been made serially in batches.


*flag|Bangladesh: Standard sniper rifle of the Bangladesh military. []
*flag|China: Norinco-made copy of the SVD, known as the Type 79 [ Type 79/85 Sniper Rifle.] Retrieved on September 21, 2008.] . Equipped with a 4x magnification optical sight which is a copy of the PSO-1. The rifle has a slightly shorter butt. Also produced a modified Type 85 [ 7.62 mm SNIPPING RIFLE.] Retrieved on September 29, 2008.] [ Type 79/85 Sniper Rifle.] Retrieved on September 21, 2008.] and several other commercial copies of the SVD [ [ NDM-86.] Retrieved on September 21, 2008.] [ [ NDM86.] Retrieved on September 29, 2008.] [ 7.62 mm SNIPPING RIFLE.] Retrieved on September 29, 2008.] .
*flag|Czech Republic
*flag|Finland: Known as the 7.62 TKIV Dragunov, which stands for "tarkkuskivääri henkilömaaleja vastaan" (Finnish: "precision rifle, anti-personnel purpose"). [ [ The Finnish Defence Forces 7.62 TKIV Dragunov] ]
*flag|India: Officially designated as the Dragunov SVD59 in Indian service.
*flag|Iran: Made by Defense Industries Organization as the Nakhjir.
*flag|Iraq: Al Kadesiah, made based on SVD & PSL [ [ Iraqi Al Kadesiah.] Retrieved on August 26, 2008.] . Official Iraqi designation is either Al-Qadissiya or Al-Gadissiya [ [ Small Arms (Infantry Weapons) used by the Anti-Coalition Insurgency.] Retrieved on August 26, 2008.]
*flag|Poland: Known locally as the SWD. Modernized SWD-M in service but few actually delivered.
*flag|Turkey: Used by Gendarmerie units of the Turkish Army. []
*flag|Ukraine: Used by the military of Ukraine.
*flag|Soviet Union
*flag|Sri Lanka: Used by the Sri Lankan Military and its special forces.
*flag|Venezuela: Currently being bought for the Venezuelan Army [ [ Chávez’s Bid for Russian Arms Pains U.S.] Retrieved on September 21, 2008.]
*flag|Vietnam: Used by Vietnam People's Army

ee also

*U.S. Marine Corps Designated Marksman Rifle, used in a similar role.
*Mosin-Nagant, the rifle replaced by the SVD.
*VSS Vintorez, a suppressed sniper rifle also used in limited numbers in Russia.
*Puşca Semiautomată cu Lunetă (PSL), a Romanian designated marksman/sniper rifle that resembles the SVD, chambered in 7.62x54mmR.
*Zastava M76, a Yugoslavian designated marksman/sniper rifle that resembles the SVD, chambered in 7.92x57mm Mauser.
*Zastava M91, a Serbian designated marksman/sniper rifle that resembles the SVD, chambered in 7.62x54mmR.


External links

* [ IZHMASH JSC official site: 7.62 mm Dragunov Sniper Rifle "SVD"]
* [ IZHMASH JSC official site: 7.62 mm Dragunov Sniper Rifle with folding butt "SVDS"]
* [ Buddy Hinton Collection]
* [ Modern Firearms]
* [ Sniper Central]
* [ SVD field manual]
* [ Evgeniy Dragunov: Creator of Firepower (abstracts from a forthcoming book)]
* [ Dragunov Sniper Rifle] (in Russian)

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