Caliber: 9x39mm SP-5 and SP-6 subsonic cartridges
VSS (Vinovka Snaiperskaja Spetsialnaya = Special Sniper Rifle) was designed for special operations. Designed at TSNIITochMash (Central Institute for Precision Machine Building) by team lead by Petr Serdjukov, the new rifle was intended to replace some AK-47/AKM rifles, fitted with silencers, in the hands of various Special Operations (SpetsNaz) troops of Soviet Army, KGB and MVD. To achieve desired lethality against targets, protected with body armor, TSNIITochMash had to develop a new subsonic cartridge, based on the 7.62x39 case, necked out for 9mm bullet. The bullets used in new cartridges are long and heavy (about 16 gram), and of ball (SP-5) and AP (SP-6) type. The latter bullet features a hardened steel penetrator as the core, and can defeat most military issue body armors at ranges up to 300-400 meters. VSS is in use since late 1980s, and is widely used in Chechnya against separatists. VSS is quite popular among its users for its stealthy capabilities and great lethality of heavy 9mm bullets. The effective range of VSS is limited to 300-400 meters.
The VSS is a gas operated, selective fire weapon. The long stroke gas piston is located above the barrel. The rotating bolt has 6 lugs and locks into the receiver, which is machined from solid steel for greater strength. The trigger unit differs significantly from AK-47 type firearms, being striker-fired. The safety switch and charging handle are AK-style, but the fire selector is a cross-bolt button, located inside the triggerguard, behind the trigger.
The barrel at the front has a set of tiny holes, drilled in the rifling grooves, which lead into the integral silencer. The silencer is the integral part of the weapon, and while it could be easily removed for storage or maintenance, the VSS should not be fired wit silencer removed.
Standard sighting equipment consists of side rail on the receiver, which usually accommodates the 4X PSO-1 scope, graduated for 9x39 ammo. Any other scope or night vision sight can be mounted on appropriate mount. backup iron sights consist of tangent rear and blade front. Rear sight is graduated up to 400 meters.
The wooden, skeletonized buttstock is fitted with rubber buttplate and can be removed for compact storage and transportation, the compact forend is made from polymer.
Feeding is achieved from 10 or 20 round box magazines, made from polymer.