SVD Dragunov: 50th Anniversary

This year represents the 50th anniversary of the SVD Dragunov rifle.  Introduced into the service of the Soviet Union army in 1963, this semi-automatic sniper rifle has proved itself a capable performer in the field.

SVD Dragunov
Mongolian armed forces soldiers teach U.S. Marines about the Dragunov SVD sniper rifle as part of Khaan Quest 2009 at the Five Hills Training Area in Mongolia Aug. 14, 2009. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Nathan McCord/Released)

Since 1964, the Dragunov has been made by Izhmash, a Russian arms and vehicle manufacturer.  To commemorate the 50th anniversary, Izhmash announced the modernized SVD will be completed later this year.  The modernized Dragunov will feature:

  • new barrel
  • Picatinny rail for optics
  • folding bi-pod
  • adjustable buttstock
  • improved accuracy

The Dragunov has been used by at least 30 different countries around the world.  While the United States has never officially used the SVD Dragunov, it has helped equip and train friendly countries with the rifle.  It was just one of these weapons that Staff Sergeant Clinton L. Romesha used on October 3, 2009 to help repel some 400 enemy fighters in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan.