Caliber: Russian 7.62x54mm Rimmed
Operation: gas-operated, rotating bolt,semi-automatic (SVU) or select-fire (SVU-AS)
Capacity: 10 round detachable box magazine
Weight: 4,4 (SVU) kg with empty magazine and telescope sight; 5,5 kg (SVU-AS with empty magazine, telescope sight and bipod)
Length: 900 mm
Barrel Length: 520 mm
Rate of Fire: 650 rounds per minute (for SVU-AS only)
The SVU project (Snaiperskaya Vintovka Ukorochennaya– shortened sniper rifle) traces its roots back to 1970s, when it wasdecided to develop a compact sniper rifle for Soviet airborne (VDV)troops. Such rifle was designed using standard Dragunov SVDaction converted to bullpup layout. Back then this project never wentpast development stage, but in around 1991 it was resurrected in Tulaand offered to Russian Internal Affairs Ministry (MVD) as a possibleweapon for urban operations. At that time MVD accepted the offer, butrequested the rifle to be converted from semi-automatic to selectivefired version (probably inspired by German HK G8 "police automaticrifle"). Such conversion was developed by TSKIB SOO (Central Sportingand Hunting Arms Design Bureau in Tula). It was initially known asOTs-03 in semi-automatic version and as OTs-03A and OTs-03AS inselective fired versions (SVU, SVU-A and SVU-AS respectively). Sincemid-nineties this rifle was produced in Tula and issued in limitednumbers to various law enforcement organizations across the Russia.
There are no firm data on accuracy of SVU rifle, but on short- to medium ranges it is believed to be on par with standard Dragunov SVD rifles.
The basic action of the SVU-AS rifle is inherited from Dragunov SVD sniper rifle – it is a gas operated, rotating bolt design withshort-stroke gas piston. The trigger unit is modified with long connectbar, which links forward-mounted trigger with sear back in receiver. InSVU-AS, trigger unit is further modified with introduction of thefull-automatic mode of fire. Selection of the mode of fire is done bythe pull on the trigger – short pull produces single shots, and long,deliberate pull produces automatic (burst) fire. For semi-automaticfire only rifle is equipped with selector, which, when engaged, limitsrearward travel of the trigger so only single shots can be squeezed outof the gun. This selector is located within trigge guard, above thetrigger, and moves laterally. Because of bullpup layout, buttplate isattached directly to the receiver, and pistol grip and scope mount aremoved forward. Barrel is shortened and equipped with combination flashhider / muzzle brake device. Integral folding bipod is attached tospecial rod, which runs forward from receiver. This is done to relievethe barrel from stresses generated by bipod. Early versions of SVU andSVU-A vere produced without bipod, and actually the "S" letter inSVU-AS designation stands for "soschka"(bipod in Russian). Standard sighting equipment includes open sightsinstalled on folding bases, with rear being of diopter type andadjustable for range between 100 and 1300 meters. There's also astandard side rail, which will accept variety f telescope or nightsights, the 4X PSO-1 being most typical. SVU-AS rifles use standard SVDmagazines with 10-round capacity. Apparently, bigger capacity magazineswere also designed for SVU-A, but it seems that none were produced inquantity.
The automatic fire feature of SVU-A and SVU-AS seems tobe of any value only in emergency close combat or self-defense actions,as the limited magazine capacity and light barrel greatly limitsautomatic fire capabilities of this weapon.