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PSL

Tactical rifle

PSL

The PSL tactical rifle is a Romanian alternative to a Soviet SVD

 
 
Caliber 7.62x54 mm
Weight (empty with scope) 4.31 kg
Length 1 166 mm
Barrel length 605 mm
Muzzle velocity 830 m/s
Magazine capacity 10 rounds
Sighting range 1 300 m
Range of effective fire up to 800 m

 

   The PSL is a Romanian tactical rifle. It was developed as an alternative to a Soviet SVD. In 1968 Romania refused to take part in a Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. As a result the Soviets stopped exporting military equipment to Romania, including the SVD rifle, and sharing technical information. Romanians launched the project to develop indigenous tactical rifle. The new rifle was designed in the early 1970s. It was adopted by Romanian armed forces in 1974. The PSL has been exported to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Iraq, Moldova, Nicaragua, and possibly some other countries. It has seen action during the Gulf War, War in Afghanistan and some other wars. The PSL and its variants are still produced in Romania.

   The PSL is a squad support weapon optimized for medium-range rapid fire combat. Sometimes it is referred as a sniper rifle, however it is inferior in terms of performance to most Western sniper rifles. It is a tactical rifle, rather than a true sniper weapon. The PSL is not ment for highly trained sniper teams, but for designated marksmen to extend a fire reach of a squad. It can engage targets beyond the range of assault rifles. The whole concept behind this tactical rifle is that an average individual with some simple instructions can successfully engage targets. It is worth mentioning that during the Cold War, Warsaw Pact countries had no dedicated sniper rifles in their inventory due to this doctrine.

    Even though the PSL strongly resembles the Soviet SVD, it is actually based on an RPK light machine gun. It has been rechambered for 7.62x54 mm ammunition and restyled to look like SVD. Action parts were stretched and strengthened to coupe with a more powerful round. In fact not a single part are interchangeable between the PSL and SVD.

   This rifle is chambered for 7.62x54 mm rimmed ammunition. It is a standard ammunition used by rifles and machine guns. Conventional, tracer or armor-piercing incendiary rounds are available. For more accurate shooting the PSL can also use specially-designed sniper grade ammunition.

   The PSL is a gas operated weapon. Its internal mechanisms are similar to that of RPK light machine gun, which in turn is based on AKM assault rifle. This weapon is simple in operation and tolerant to abusive use. The barrel is relatively thin to save weight. For some reason Warsaw Pact countries did not use marksman weapons with heavy barrels.

   The PSL is a semi-automatic weapon. It has a higher rate of fire and can make much more aimed shots comparing with bolt-action rifles. However there are some drawbacks of semi-automatic design. Spent cases are ejected sideways and can disguise the shooter.

   The PSL has a wooden handguard and skeletonized wooden stock. The stock is too short for most shooters. It was deliberately designed this way, as it was planned to be used while wearing winter clothes. There are special stock extensions, however rifles typically come without them.

   The PSL is fed from 10-round magazines. Even though it looks like the magazine of the SVD, these are not interchangeable.

   This rifle comes with Romanian 4x magnification optical sight. It is similar to the Soviet PSO-1 sight. The scope's reticle pattern is easy to use and makes range estimation quick and reasonably accurate without any mathematical calculations. Also there are backup iron sights. Sighting range is 1 300 meters with optical sight and 1 200 meters with backup iron sights. The optical sight is side-mounted and does not block the iron sights. So the shooter can use any sight at any time. Range of effective fire is up to 800 meters. However most typically it is used at ranges up to 600 meters. Some sources report that accuracy of this rifle greatly differs between individual rifles. Possibly due to insufficient quality control during the manufacturing process.

   This tactical rifle can be fitted with a knife-bayonet.

   There are some sporting versions of the PSL, intended for export. Baically it is the same rifle, sold under variety of names. It is known as PSL-54C, Romak III, FPK, FPK Dragunov, and SSG-97. Basically it is the same military PSL, but with some modifications to comply with US laws regarding sporting rifles. There are commercial sporting rifles chambered for the standard NATO 7.62x51 mm ammunition. There is also an FPK Paratrooper rifle. It is a purely US made variant with a shorter barrel.

 

 
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PSL

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