The VSS Vintorez (Russian: ВСС Винторез, винтовка снайперская специальная, Vintovka Snaiperskaja Specialnaya, Special Sniper Rifle 'Thread Cutter') was designed at the same time as the AS Val, for similar purposes and with similar construction. Unlike the AS Val, however, the VSS Vintorez was designed as a sniper rifle. Both weapons, were not identified by Western forces until the early 1990s. The VSS uses the subsonic 9×39mm cartridge.
Its development began in the late 1980s, when the Spetsnaz command requested the development of specialised weapons to suit their undercover and clandestine operations. Before that time, the Spetsnaz had used Kalashnikov rifles with detachable silencers and special subsonic ammunition and Stechkin APB pistols. In 1980s, however, it was decided that those weapons were not adequate.
Design Details Edit
The VSS Vintorez had been designed around a proprietary cartridge, designed solely for stealthy shots in the presence of enemy forces, the SP-5/SP-6. Measuring 9x39 mm, it is loaded with a heavy bullet, which travels with subsonic speeds thus carrying considerable more energy that smaller and faster rounds. The SP-5 is the standard ammo, while the SP-6 is a special armor-piercing round.
Technically, the VSS Vintorez is a gas-operated silenced rifle. The rifle has a separate safety lever and fire mode button like the AS Val. However, automatic fire is intended only for emergency situations, and puts inordinate strain on the gun.
The VSS Vintorez is intended for sniper duty, and therefore, is usually equipped with a scope. Scope is mounted on a side rail to facilitate easy replacement of the scope to fit the current environment. The rifle is usually fitted with 10-round magazines, but can accept a 20-round magazine often found on AS Val.
Currently, the VSS Vintorez is employed by Spetsnaz, MVD and FSB. It had been employed against Chechen separatists, and operators affirm that it is a formidable and reliable weapon if used correctly.