The Dragunov sniper rifle or SVD (Russian: Снайперская винтовка Драгунова, Snayperskaya Vintovka Dragunova is a semi-automatic sniper rifle, chambered for the 7.62 x 54mmR cartridge. It was used widely in the Soviet Army since its adoption in 1963, and still finds use in the present-day Russian Federation where it serves as a standard-issue sniper rifle.
While the SVD loosely resembles the Kalashnikov series of weapons, the internal mechanism is actually quite different. The SVD is chambered for a more powerful cartridge and was designed with accuracy in mind rather than automatic firepower. The SVD comes equipped with a standard-issue PSO-1 scope. The rifle also has backup iron sights. The weapon is very accurate and powerful; a soldier can easily be dispatched by a single headshot from hundreds of yards away (or being hit in any other major part of the body, for that matter).
Eventually, a newer model of the SVD, referred to as the SVDS (Snaypersakya Ventovka Dragunova Skladnaya, literally "Dragunove Sniper Rifle with folding stock"), was developed in Russia. It was identifiable via its shortened barrel and a folding buttstock, the latter being added in to improve ergonomics with their airborne infantry equipment. In addition, it utilized synthetic furniture in place of wood, a heavier barrel profile, and possessed a ported, conical flash hider.
Soviet and American special forces
Both KGB and GRU Spetsnaz soldiers stationed in Tselinoyarsk during the 1960s used SVD rifles. A member of the GRU Ocelot Unit utilized an SVD in the attack on Rassvet during Operation Snake Eater, stationing himself on the roof of the dilapidated factory. Around this time, GRU forces also transported one of the sniper rifles to the western part Ponizovje. EVA later procured an SVD for FOX agent Naked Snake in case he needed it, during the motorcycle chase from Groznyj Grad. Snake later used it to detonate the C3 explosives on a rail bridge, after luring the Shagohod tank onto it.
|Warning: The following information is from outside Hideo Kojima's core "Metal Gear Saga." It has some level of canonicity within the continuity, but reader discretion is advised.[?]|
During the San Hieronymo Incident in 1970, several FOX soldiers would utilize SVD rifles during an alert.
|Non-"Metal Gear Saga" information ends here.|
Irregular military forces
The Militaires Sans Frontières mercenary group procured design specs for the SVD during their activities in Costa Rica, 1974. The MSF later upgraded the rifle with an increased magazine capacity, and eventually nightvision capabilities, after gaining further design specs for the latter.
The SVDS model was sold by the gun launderer Drebin 893, during the time of the war economy. In 2014, One of the South American rebel soldiers used the weapon in a battle against government-backed PMCs at a power station.
Behind the scenes
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
The SVD first appeared in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. The use of the SVD is probably intended to be an analogue to the use of the very rare PSG-1 in the original Metal Gear Solid; in 1964, the setting of the game, the SVD had only just begun serial production and was a rare and exotic weapon, even though today it is one of the most common marksman rifles in the world.
During the Virtuous Mission, the SVD can be found in Dremuchij North. In Operation Snake Eater, the player has multiple options on how to procure it, including from a warehouse in Ponizovje West or in an armory at Sokrovenno South. If the player chose the former option, they also gain the opportunity to kill The End early. The SVD is also a recommended weapon for beating The End for players not seeking a no-kill run, although the player needs to avoid letting the sun's rays glint on the scope and thus give away their position. In real life, the SVD has a fixed magnification of 4x, unlike the 3-10x zoom represented in-game.
- "The SVD. A Soviet-made automatic sniper rifle known for its high precision. Uses 7.62mm x 54 rimmed cartridges. Magazine size is 10 rounds. Weight: 4.6kg"
- ―SVD description in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops
In Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, this lethal weapon is very useful and versatile despite making the user immobile while equipping it. Although this weapon is unsuppressed, the range in which this weapon is to be used prevents alert mode from triggering then compromising the attacker's position. Its semi-automatic rate of fire allows the attacker to quickly take out multiple enemies much quicker than the bolt-action Mosin Nagant with astoundingly low recoil and idle sway. Although the SVD's PSO-1 scope isn't generally hard to aim with, the thinner outlines in the rangefinder makes it less effective than the Mosin Nagant when hunting in the dark. This weapon is more difficult to acquire than other weapons as only attack teams carry this weapon for long distance attacks against the player.
- "Adopted as the official sniper rifle of the Red Army in 1963, the SVD differs from the Mosin Nagant in that it uses a gas-operated mechanism for automatic fire. Its 10-round ammo capacity is twice that of the Mosin Nagant, and its accuracy surpasses that of the NATO standard. This, coupled with its repeat-fire capability provides sustained suppressing power against the enemy. It resembles the AK-47 in appearance, but with its unique design is not a derivation. Uses 7.62mmx54R ammo."
- ―SVD description in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops.
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
An SVD model (called in-game 'SVD') is available to purchase via Drebin's Shop and is also used by one of the rebel guerrilla soldiers in the power station battle. It can also be found in the armory to the left of the cliff that leads to the Crying Wolf boss fight, during Act 4 on Shadow Moses Island. This weapon is actually the SVDS (Snayperskaya Vintovka Dragunova Skladnaya, "Dragunov Sniper Rifle with folding stock"); a newer designed SVD model, a sniper rifle with a shortened barrel, and folding buttstock designed around a need for better ergonomics in airborne infantry equipment. It uses synthetic furniture in place of wood, has a ported, conical flash hider, and a heavier barrel profile.
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
In Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, the SVD is ideal for long range engagements and unlike its appearance in Portable Ops, it does not render the user immobile. However, unlike the previous versions of the Metal Gear Solid games, it features 2 fixed magnification settings and a much more realistic idle sway and recoil. However, it can be slightly reduced by crouching. The center chevron is marked in red color for ease of aiming and otherwise retains the original features of a PSO-1 scope with darker outlines. This weapon has the advantage of taking down enemies instantly with a well placed shot to the head regardless if they wear a helmet or not. This weapon is included in Demo Ops, although it is only available with the Jungle Fatigues uniform.
The SVD design specs are obtained after completing Extra Ops 35. Specs for the nighvision variant are obtained at random after completing one of several Outer Ops, which are 61-64 and 69-72.
- "The primary sniper rifle of the modern-day Soviet military. Since it was originally developed for the purpose of infantry squad support at medium range, its accuracy is nothing special compared to other sniper rifles. That said, its light weight and ease of use, three-level zoom scope, armor-piercing ammunition, and repeat fire capability make the SVD a force to be reckoned with in battle.
(SVD (High Capacity)) Modified to accomodate a new, larger capacity magazine. This results in fewer reloads and allows for more efficient use in combat.
(SVD (Night Vision)) The addition of night vision capacity to the scope ensures this model is almost as deadly in the dark as it is in the light."
- ―SVD descriptions in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker