The Dragunov SVU is a modification of the famous Dragunov SVD sniper rifle. The rifle has been restocked into a bullpup layout, which decreases the length of the weapon considerably. The wooden stock and forearm have been replaced with camouflage polymer versions. The barrel was also shortened by 100mm, resulting in 15% lower muzzle energy and slightly less accuracy than the SVD. These drawbacks were seen as acceptable penalties for much improved handling over the rather long SVD.The shorter barrel also required a repositioning of the gas system, which resulted in greater strain on the gas piston. This required strengthening of the whole system as well as the addition of a special three chambered muzzle device. This device served multiple purposes, acting as a muzzle brake it dissipates 40% of recoil energy, improves the balance of the rifle by shifting the centre of gravity towards the middle, and acts as a sound suppressor. The suppressor function is especially important as without it shooters could become deafened from protracted shooting.
The SVU is intended for use in urban combat situations where ease of handling and quick target acquisition is more desirable than extreme long range accuracy. It is rare in urban environments for targets to be engaged beyond 400 metres, making the capability to shoot beyond this distance unnecessary. The SVU-A is a fully automatic variant of the rifle, however the limited magazine capacity of the weapon limits the endurance of this version.
The SVU is shown here with a detachable ten round box magazine, muzzle brake/sound suppressor and PSO-1 telescopic sight. It is 870mm in length and weighs 3.6kg without a scope.