Dragunov Sniper Rifle (SVD)
A Dragunov SVD


Sniper rifle

Place of origin

Soviet Union

In service



Vietnam War, Soviet war in Afghanistan, Iraq War, Yugoslav Wars, First and Second Chechen Wars, 2008 South Ossetia War


Evgeny Dragunov




Izhmash, Norinco, Zastava Arms





Feed system

10 round detachabled box magazine

The Dragunov (Russian: Снайперская винтовка Драгунова, Snayperskaya Vintovka Dragunova, literally "Dragunov Sniper Rifle", commonly abbreviated SVD) is a 7.62x54mmR semi-automatic sniper rifle. It was developed in the Soviet Union by Evgeniy Fedorovich Dragunov. It was selected as the winner of a contest that included two competing designs: the first was a rifle designed by Dragunov (designated the SSV-58), and the second – Konstantinov. Extensive testing of both 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 Dragunov has become the standard squad support weapon of several countries, including those of the former Warsaw Pact, among them Poland (since 1966). License production of the rifle was established in China (Type 79 and Type 85) and Iraq (as the Al Kadesiah).

A PSO-1 scope and case used on the SVD. Note the proprietary quick-release mounting bracket.



The SVDS variant.

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, "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, "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).

In 1998 Poland adopted a modernized variant of the SVD designated the SWD-M, which uses a heavy barrel, bipod (mounted to the forearm) and LD-6 (6x42) telescopic sight.