Musical chairs of modern sniping Part 3

Musical chairs of modern sniping Part 3

Vorobiev was a member of the elite Soviet Spetsnaz in Afghanistan in the 1980s. He's a U.S. citizen now and conducts training courses that draw on his special forces training. He'll have a new installment every Wednesday.


The Soviet SVD sniper rifle was developed to support a dynamic and highly mobile force doctrine. If sniping is not important, why bother involving hundreds of people to design a completely new rifle? Why not just resurrect the good old SVT-40 or continue to issue Mosin sniper rifles? The truth is the Soviets were putting a lot of emphasis on precision rapid fire as a support and anti-sniper tool.

The task to come up with new design fell on Evgeniy Dragunov's shoulders. Dragunov was an established designer of sporting rifles for shooting competition for years before embarking on the SVD project. His rifles had won numerous world championships and Olympic medals. As a result of his labors, the Soviet forces adopted a sniper system in 1963. The system consisted of a rifle, scope, cartridge that were developed simultaneously as a whole.

Many in the West consider the SVD a designated marksman rifle, which I regard as completely wrong. The fact of the matter is that the SVD is highly accurized scoped rifle firing very accurate and potent rifle cartridge capable of reaching ranges of up to 1000 meters. With the proper ammunition, it is a sub-moa rifle and the further it shoots, the better it gets. It becomes lethal in the hands of properly trained sniper.

In early '70s when SVDs started to be issued to the troops, a typical Soviet motorized infantry company would have one sniper. It wasnít until the Afghan Campaign that number of snipers per company had increased to four, or one per platoon.


Today the SVD continues to be a main sniper rifle of Russian Armed Forces: a spot that this legendary rifle has truly earned.


Evgeniy Dragunov the creator of the Soviet SVD rifle holding a product of his labor. The SVD is a contemporary of the M16 and seems set to last just as long.


The Spetsnaz sniper has taken a position in the grape vines in the Chirikar region of Afghanistan. Sniping has become more important in Russian doctrine.



Russian Spetsnaz GRU is on patrol in the mountains of Chechnya. That small Caucasian land has been a thorn in the Russian side since the time of Tolstoy.

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