Country of origin
Weight (empty, with scope)
1 225 mm
1 300 m
Range of effective fire
was designed by Yevgeny Dragunov in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
It won competition against two other competing designs and was
adopted by Soviet armed forces in 1963 as SVD. Full-scale production
of this rifle commenced in 1964. It became a standard squad support
weapon in service with the Soviet armed forces. Also it was exported
to Warsaw Pact countries and Soviet allies. Currently it is used by
Russian and at least 30 other countries. It was license-produced in
China. A copy of this weapon was produced in Iran. Since its
introduction the SVD has seen action during countless wars.
Production of this rifle still continues in Russia.
SVD is a squad support weapon optimized for medium-range rapid fire
combat. In Russia it is
considered as a sniper rifle, however it is inferior in terms of
performance to most Western sniper rifles. It is a tactical rifle, than
a true sniper weapon. The SVD was not designed for highly trained sniper
teams, but for designated marksmen to extend a fire reach of a
squad. It can engage targets beyond the reach of
Kalashnikov assault rifles. The whole concept behind this weapon
is that an average individual with some simple instructions can
successfully engage targets. It is worth mentioning
that during the Cold War, Soviet Army had no dedicated sniper rifle
in its inventory other than SVD due to its doctrine.
tactical rifle is chambered for 7.62x54 mm rimmed ammunition. It is
a standard ammunition used by rifles and machine guns. The SVD uses
specially-designed sniper grade ammunition for precision shooting.
It is much more accurate than standard ammunition. With this special ammunition the SVD is as accurate as American
M24 and M110
sniper weapons. The SVD can also fire standard 7.62x54 mm ammunition,
with reduced accuracy. Standard ammunition is available in
the form of conventional, tracer or armor-piercing incendiary rounds.
The SVD is a
gas operated weapon. Its internal mechanisms have
a number of similarities with
assault rifle. This weapon proved to be reliable and tolerant to
abusive use. This rifle has a manual safety. The barrel is
relatively thin to save weight. Soviets and Warsaw Pact countries
did not use marksman weapons with heavy barrels.
The SVD 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.
SVD has a wooden handguard and skeletonized wooden stock. The stock
has detachable cheek rest. Current production version, the SVD-M,
has black polymer stock and handguard.
The SVD is
fed from 10-round magazines. The rifle comes with four spare
comes with a PSO-1 optical sight. It has 4x magnification. 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 it is considered normal, that at this range only 1 out of 8
rounds hits a torso-sized target. The SVD is most typically used at ranges up to 600 meters. In
1985 a record kill was made during the Soviet War in Afghanistan
from 1 350 meters using the SVD rifle.
knife-bayonet can be fitted to this rifle. That is another feature
uncommon to sniper weapons.
equipped with a night sight. Otherwise it is similar to the SVD.
has a shorter barrel with new flash hider and a side-folding stock. It was developed in the early 1990s for the airborne
troops. This rifle has a polymer furniture. Also it has slightly
improved internal mechanisms. SVDSN is a night-capable version, that
comes with a night sight.
version of the SVD with bullpup layout with a shorter barrel. As a
result this weapon is much more compact. But its effective range is
only 400 meters. It was developed in the late 1970 for the Soviet
airborne troops. It was adopted in 1994 by the law enforcement
forces as a weapon for urban combat. It was produced only in small
current production version of the SVD. It has black polymer
Type 79, a
Chinese license-produced version of the SVD. There is also an
improved Type 85. Both of these rifles are used by China's armed
forces, paramilitary units and law enforcement forces. China
developed a number of commercial clones of the SVD.
improved Polish version with a heavy barrel and detachable bipod.
It uses 6x magnification sight. This rifle was adopted in 1998.
It is Iraqi hybrid between the SVD and Romanian PSL. Even though its
appearance resembles that of the SVD, it has a number of