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).
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).
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.
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