Operating mechanism Edit
The overall operating principle and sound suppression system used on the VSS are derived from the AS assault rifle. The VSS is a gas-operated select-fire rifle. It has a long-stroke gas piston operating rod in a gas cylinder above the barrel. The weapon is locked with a rotating bolt that has 6 locking lugs which engage appropriate sockets machined into the receiver. The VSS is striker fired. It features a cross-bolt type fire selector switch located behind the trigger, inside the trigger guard; the safety lever and the charging handle resemble those used in AK-pattern weapons.
The VSS being stripped. Note the ventilation ports on the barrel and the short length of the barrel itself, normally concealed by the suppressor casing.The weapon has an integral suppressor which wraps around the barrel. The barrel itself has a series of small ports drilled in the rifling grooves, leading into the silencer which slows and cools the exhaust gases. The suppressor can be easily removed for storage or maintenance, but the VSS should not be fired without the suppressor.
The skeletonized wooden stock is a more rounded version of that provided on the SVD rifle; it has a rubber shoulder pad and can be removed when the rifle is dismantled for compact storage. The forward handguard is made from a high-impact polymer.
The VSS is normally fed from a 10-round magazine and fired semi-automatically. Should the operational need arise, the weapon can be used in fully automatic mode using 20-round magazines from the AS rifle.
It uses a heavy subsonic 9x39mm SP-5 cartridge. The bullet is very effective at penetrating body armor. For this purpose it is equipped with a hardened steel or tungsten tip to penetrate a 6 mm (0.2 in) high-density steel plate at 100 m; a 2 mm (0.08 in) steel plate or a standard army helmet can be fully penetrated at 500 m, however the rifle is typically employed under 400 m.
A side rail is provided, installed on the receiver and used to mount the PSO-1-1 (1P43) telescopic sight. The weapon can also be deployed for night-time use with the 3.46x NSPU-3 (1PN75) night sight using an appropriate mount. Back-up iron sights consist of a rear notch on a sliding tangent and forward blade. The rear sight has range graduations up to 400 m, with 100 m adjustments.
For carriage and concealment the rifle is dismantled into three main components carried in a special briefcase measuring 450 x 370 x 140 mm (17.7 x 14.5 x 5.5 in). The briefcase also has space for a PSO-1-1 scope, a NSPU-3 night sight and two magazines.
The VSS forms part of the VSK silenced sniper system. With the system, the rifle can be coupled to the PKS-07 collimated telescopic sight or the PKN-03 night sight. When the rifle forms part of the VSK system the range of ammunition can be extended to include the SP-6 and PAB-9 cartridges.