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Sniper Rifle


The SVD Sniper rifle with a wooden buttstock

Caliber 7.62 mm
Cartridge type 7.62 x 54R
Dimensions and weight 
Total weight (with empty magazine) 3 700 g
Total weight with optical sight and empty magazine) 4 300 g
Overall length  1 225  mm
Barrel length 620  mm
Fire characteristics
Bullets initial speed 830 m/s
Rate of fire 35 - 40 rpm
Practical rate of fire 3 - 30 rpm
Magazine capacity 10 rounds
Sighting range 1 200 m
Range of effective fire 800 m
Range of effective fire with optics  1 300 m
   The SVD sniper rifle developed by Yevgeniy Dragunov entered service with the Soviet army in 1963 as a main infantry sniper rifle. It replaced the SKS Simonov's self-loading carbine. Shortly after spreading in the Soviet armed forces the SVD rifle entered service with all the Warsaw pact countries armies and countries loyal to the Soviet Union. Since 1963 the it was used in almost all military conflicts and recommended itself perfectly. Recently it is in service with more than 50 countries and is used by army and police.

   Rifles automatic works on a gas returning principle. Reloading handle is positioned from the right side. It is made in one detail with a lock's frame. The SVD executes only single fire. Fire mode changer also acts a safety-lock. When it is turned on it blocks reloading handle and trigger but allows to find out if a round is inserted in the barrel channel. Furthermore safety-lock blocks cartridge-case extraction window and prevents dust and dirt from getting inside.This is a recently produced variant of the SVD with polymer buttstock and magazine

   Such riffle design was already approved by Y.Dragunov in his earlier designed sports rifles.

    The SVD has good ergonomics and balance positively effecting fire accuracy as recoil power concentrates around the weapon axis and furthermore it's recoil power is insufficient. It is easy to hold during a sighted shot. SVD shooter feels confident holding this rifle and exactly this factor may play the leading role in a critical situation.

   Comparing Dragunov's sniper rifle with other rifles it's practical rate of a sighted fire is 30 rounds per minute against 5 - 6 rounds with other sniper rifles. Every infantry squad in the Russian army, consisting from 5 to 8 soldiers, has one person equipped with the SVD.Closer look on the SVD sniper rifle

   Weapon is chambered for 1908 year 7.62 x 54R mm Mosin round and comes with a three type bullets: ordinary, tracer, and armor-piercing-incendiary. Furthermore it fires has a special sniper-grade rounds with balanced steel-core bullet developed especially for this sniper rifle. These bullets allow to reach to 2.5-fold better fire accuracy comparing with an ordinary bullets.

   Barrel's muzzle is completed with a flash-hider. It has five openings which decrease flash and thus ability to spot sniper at night. Furthermore it decreases rifle's tossing and prevents dirt and dust from getting in.

   The SVD has a detachable two line curved box magazine with 10 rounds capacity.

   Rifle is extremely reliable in all conditions, and designed for heavy battles and unskilled maintainance.

   It features a laminated wooden buttstock slightly transforming into the pistol handle that is comfortable to hold. Buttstock is fitted with dismountable jowl-holder that simplifies aiming. Furthermore jowl-holder can be dismounted and placed from any side.

    Rifle has an open adjustable sight besidesSniper firing the SVD rifle it is complemented with 4x magnification PSO-1 optical sight or it's later versions such as the PSO-1M2. Optical sight has a graduated scale to designate approximate range to target. Sight's marks have internal illumination making easier to aim at dusk. Sight has an infrared irradiation filter. It allows to shoot at infrared irradiation sources. Rifle can be fitted with various night vision sights.

   The SVD comes with a multifunctional knife-bayonet to the AK assault rifle knife. It is used for cutting wires, hammering or even as an engineering knife for mining works. One interesting detail is that the SVD is the only sniper rifle in the world completed with a knife-bayonet. There is ability to fit a sound suppressor which gives even better fire accuracy than firing without it.

   In the Russian army sniper's armed with the SVD rifle fire accuracy normatives are: 

   - in 200 m distance all shots must fit in a matchbox;

   - In 100 m distance sniper must hit SVD type cartridge (7.62 x 54R mm).

   Rifle's fire accuracy can be also measured in other way (firing ordinary ordinary rounds):

Straight shot distance:
Target type Range
Head shape silhouette R=15cm 350 m
Breast shape silhouette R=25cm 430 m
Full size silhouette R=75cm 640 m
Bullets dispersion
Range Dispersion
100 m 36 mm
300 m 108 mm
600 m 240 mm
800 m 320 -360 mm
1 000 m 480 - 560 mm

   In 1991 Dragunov Sniper Rifle was improved by the Izhevsk "Izhmash" factory. Such improved sniper rifle is called SVD-S and is intended for an airborne troops. It features slightly improved automatics, more massive barrel, modernized barrels box, a shorter barrel (590 mm) and a nSniper firing camouflaged SVD rifleew flash hider. It's buttstock is made from metal or polymer materials and folds to the right side. The SVD-S has a shorter length in 21% comparing with the ordinary rifle. Alongside with the SVD-S the original SVD since 1991 is also produced with a polymer buttstock and magazine. 

   One more SVD modification "Tigr" (Tiger) was developed for the civilian and commercial use. It has a bit shorter barrel (530 mm instead of 620 mm). "Tigr's" design is similar to SVD.


     Powerful round provides good penetration features. Ability to use a gas chamber adjuster to change recoil speed for moving parts provides rifle reliability in unpleasant conditions. Furthermore it's reliability is equal to the AK Assault Rifle reliability. Comfortable to use and easy in maintenance. Ability to fit a knife-bayonet. A 6-fold great number of sighted shots comparing with other sniper rifles.


   Great weapons dimensions make it uncomfortable to use inside the buildings or trenches. Massive lock decreases fire accuracy.

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