Country of origin
Weight (empty with scope)
1 166 mm
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.
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 rimmed ammunition and restyled to look like SVD. The
7.62x54 mmR ammunition is typically used by rifles and machine guns. 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
Conventional, tracer or
armor-piercing incendiary rounds are available. For more accurate
shooting the PSL can also use specially-designed sniper grade
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
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
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.
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
tactical rifle can be fitted with a knife-bayonet.
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