Caliber 9 mm
Cartridge Sp - 5, Sp - 6, Pab - 9
Dimensions and weight
Total weight (with loaded magazine) 3370 g
Total weight (with empty magazine) 2700 g
Overall length 900 mm
Barrels length 230 mm
Bullets initial speed 270 m/s
Rate of fire 700 - 900 rpm
Practical rate of fire 30 - 90 rpm
Magazine capacity 20 cartridges
Sighting range 400 m
Range of effective fire 400 m
The analysis of armed conflicts that took place during the last quarter of the 20th century demonstrates their changed nature. In lieu of confrontations between numerically strong armies (as during the Gulf War or the Iran-Iraq War), local wars prevail now. They are characterized by the limited use of heavy combat equipment and absence of a clear-cut front line, while combat operations are conducted by small mobile units with the aim of securing strong points, which are mostly represented by various military facilities and populated areas. In this connection, the world's leading armies pay a lot of attention to the improvement of mobile units (rapid deployment forces, airborne troops, naval infantry, etc.).
The changed nature of armed conflicts has required alterations in weapons systems. Only specially developed weapons can most effectively satisfy specific conditions of their employment.
The conduct of urban combat operations requires more compact, easily concealed sniping weapons. The need became an urgent problem long ago and prompted the advent of such Russian weapons as the SVD-S sniper rifle, whose length with the buttstock folded is 890 mm versus 1,225 mm for the SVD sniper rifle, although it cannot fire in this position, and the SVU sniper assault rifle of the Bullpup configuration with a barrel 100 mm shorter than the SVD rifle. But the weight of these weapons is considerable, and the energy of their 7.62x54R rifle cartridge is excessive because in built-up areas the distance to the enemy is often 50 meters, or even 20, and rarely exceeds 150 to 200 meters. The same distances are common during the conduct of police actions.
At such short distances to the enemy, the problem of concealment, which has always confronted snipers, becomes very pressing. Therefore, the need arises to use a silencer and eliminate the muzzle flash. For the same reason (short range to the enemy), it is advisable that weapons could be fired automatically. In connection with wide employment of individual armored protection means, the bullets of ammunition used must possess sufficient penetration power.
To arm law enforcement agencies and conduct combat operations in populated areas, the Tula-based Instrument Design Bureau has developed a light, silent VSK-94 sniper complex based on the 9A-91 assault rifle, which has demonstrated good potential. Unlike its prototype, the VSK-94 rifle is provided with a more rigid and convenient plastic buttstock and an altered iron sight with settings graduated to a range of up to 400 m.
The rifle uses the same cartridges with subsonic heavy bullets as in the assault rifle: sniper SP-5, armor-piercing SP-6, as well as the new PAB-9 cartridge, combining good consistency with the armor-piercing effect of the SP-6 at a lesser cost. The rifle is outfitted with a removable silencer without replaceable elements; the service life of the silencer equals that of the rifle. In necessary, fire can be delivered without the silencer. The bullets of the cartridges used in the VSK-94 possess one more property especially important during the conduct of police actions: they ricochet much lesser from various obstacles compared to the bullets of 5.45, 5.56 and 7.62mm Russian and foreign cartridges for service weapons. The 9mm bullets for the VSK-94 rifle cartridges have enhanced stopping power and can pierce an 8mm thick steel plate at a range of up to 100 m. Because of a relatively low muzzle velocity, they lose energy much more slowly than cartridges with muzzle velocities of 700 to 1,000 m/s.
The VSK-94 retains the automatic fire mode which, in combination with a 20-round magazine, turns it into an effective automatic weapon in emergencies. The safety selector thumb piece does not produce the click peculiar to the AK and SVD.
One important component of the sniper complex is the optical sight. A day PKS-07 optical sight and a night PKN-03M sight, concentrating the latest achievements in this field, have been developed for the VSK-94 rifle.
The day 7X PKS-07 collimator sight has enhanced magnification, lesser weight and dimensions than the widely employed 4X PSO-1 sight. The red luminous collimator point, serving as an aiming mark, reduces the time for reaiming when firing with aiming point shift 1.5 times on the average compared to the cross hairs reticle sight, and improves fire consistency. The problem of dependence of sights with luminous aiming marks on a power source has resolved in the PKS-07 sight. In the event of battery exhaustion or failure, the red point does not disappear but turns black, and the sight remains serviceable. Because range determination is very important for weapons with low muzzle velocities, the PKS-07 sight has a simple and convenient elliptical range finder within its field of view.
Silent and flashless firing at night is especially effective and produces a maximum psychological effect on the enemy. This demand is met by installing on the VSK-94 rifle the PKN-03M night vision sight with a second-generation optic converter, allowing sniping fire during a moonless, cloudy night at a range of up to 200 m and virtually to a maximum effective range of 350 m during moonlit nights. A red luminous collimator point also serves here as an aiming mark. The sight features automatic brightness control, and its operation is not affected by burst flashes, headlamp light and other bright sources of light entering its field of view. The availability of the IR spotlight expands the combat employment potential of the complex, allowing observation and fire in complete darkness (in garrets, basements, etc.).
The sight brackets are provided with a preliminary adjustment mechanism that minimizes the use of the elevation and deflection correction mechanism in the course of zeroing.
The VSK-94 is a quick-disconnect weapon, transported, when disassembled, in a compact pouch or carrying case. It takes less than one minute to assemble the rifle.
The series-produced VSK-94 sniper complex, adopted for service with the Russian Federation Interior Ministry, has no foreign equivalents. One of the most similar weapons in terms of the concept and purpose is the U.S. S-16 Grendel model chambered for the 7.62x39mm cartridge. But the comparison is not favorable to the Grendel. With a comparable effective range, the S-16 is 100 mm longer and 1.6 kg heavier.
The VSK-94 rifle is a simple and reliable gas-operated weapon. It has a long service life (at least 6,000 shots), irrespective of the types of cartridges fired. The relatively low cost of the VSK-94, with its superior qualities, is also important.
Life has required the advent of the VSK-94 sniper complex, and the latter has occupied its niche in the sniper armament market alongside models chambered for the 7.62mm rifle cartridge and large-caliber sniper rifles