Izhmash Prototype VS-121 Sniper Rifle

Izhmash has unveiled a prototype sniper rifle called the VS-121. This bullpup rifle uses an action based on the Dragunov sniper rifle action. With its heavy profile 24.4″ barrel it weights just under 10 lbs. It will be chambered for 7.62x54mm, 7.62x51mm and a new cartridge Izhmash is developing.

Izhmash Chief Designer Vladimir Zlobin With The VS-121

Izhmash Chief Designer Vladimir Zlobin With The VS-121

Izhmash competitor OTs supplies a very similar rifle to Russian security forces. The OTs-03 SVU is also a Dragunov bullpup conversion, but the older design lacks modern features such as full length picatinny rails. The Dragunov action is not known for its accuracy. The long and heavy barrel should compensate for this, but I am curious why the company did not scale up their new AK-12 and use it instead. I suspect Izhmash plans on competing with OTs for government contracts.


OTs-03 SVU

Many thanks to Peter and Emilio for the tips.


Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • It looks like they made the SVD bullpup barrel free floated instead of just “semi free floated” as the original SVD is. Should improve accuracy. If I do my part I have managed to squeeze out ~1moa from my SVD (or I am just lucky :V) so it should have adequate accuracy for DMR purposes. I wonder what the new caliber will be…

    • milo

      some people are betting on the UMG (http://world.guns.ru/machine/rus/unified-caliber-machine-gun-6-mm-e.html) round being scaled up to 6.5x49mm. honestly im just gunna wait to be surprised and then analyse it if it is a new cartridge and if it is just another, i’ll complain that they didn’t use my preferred caliber

      • GarryB

        I was thinking it might be the 6x49mm round they developed… perhaps with the new high energy powder they developed for the underwater 5.45x39mm rounds for the ADS, but I have read they are working on a new 9mm round for sniping so it might be that too.

        BTW shortening the barrel makes a weapon more compact but does not necessarily make it more accurate… it really depends on the powder used as some powders need lots of barrel and some don’t.

        Longer heavier barrels are almost always better for accuracy and the 7.62 x 54mm round has plenty of powder left at the end of the original barrel length of the SVD… hense the need for a pretty substantial flash hider.

        The longer heavier barrel on the VS-121 plus the improved trigger should make this an excellent sniper rifle, the extra weight of the barrel should make it more comfortable to fire and also more accurate out to 1,000m or so… which the SVDU was not capable of as it was designed for the interior ministry troops as a police weapon to 400m or so.

        And I would say this will be a military rifle so no left handed version unless you want to pay for that to be designed yourself… snipers don’t need to worry about shooting round cover if they are doing their job correctly.

    • noob

      Is ejection still right side? and the safety is back on the stock near the ejection port, correct?

    • Esh325

      I think the gas block is attached to the barrel, that might disqualify it from being free floated?

  • Dragge Nuugiainen

    The real news is that Izhmash is developing a .338 clone.

    • Max Popenker

      It is not ‘news’.
      Record-338 rifle, a.k.a. SV-98M1, has been in the works for several years now, and its prototype was shown at IWA-2013 in Nuremberg.
      But it is still that – just a prototype in the works.

  • Karina

    “OTs” (ОЦ, in Russian), isn’t the name of a manufacturer, it’s an index name used by the KBP Instrument Bureau; specifically the TsKIB SOO (Central Design Bureau of Sporting and Hunting arms), though like with many Russian designs, several manufacturers and plants produce the same models. For example, Tula Arms and TsNIITochMash both produce the VSS Vintorez. I believe IZHMASH makes SVUs as well – they do produce SVDs after all.

  • Vincent

    The long barrel doesn’t help with accuracy a lot actually. The longer a barrel is, the more it’ll droop and vibrate. The only thing it’s got going for it is some extra velocity (thus less drop and windage).

    • FourString

      Really depends on the firearm and the calibre, mate…

      • Vincent

        Caliber has quite little to do with it, ammunition quality (consistency) is far more important.
        As for the fire arm itself, the barrel has the largest hand in how accurate your rifle is going to be.
        Between two otherwise exactly identical rifles, the one with shorter barrel should be the most accurate of the two. A large factor of barrel stiffness is the length/thickness ratio. The lower it is, the better. for two barrels of equal thickness the short barrel has comparatively more girth, thus a lower L/T ratio, thus droops and vibrates less.

        • bbmg

          You also have to consider lock time. A longer barrel means that there is a longer time interval between the shooter pulling the trigger and the bullet leaving the muzzle. Since any movement during this time is transferred to the bullet, it will lead to lower accuracy. Having said that, for long range shots velocity is important if the trajectory of a howitzer is to be avoided, so as with most things, a compromise has to be made.

          • Vincent

            As with everything. If you go from a 24″ to an 18″ barrel you lose about 40-50m/s (assuming 7.62 Nato), but it makes far smaller vibrations. I suppose you can compare them to tuning forks in some way. A long tuning has a lower frequency but vibrates for longer than a shorter one.

          • FourString

            Good to know, thanks!

          • G

            Lock time is the interval between the sear release and the firing pin striking the primer. It has nothing to do with barrel length.

            You can improve lock time in a Remington 700 by replacing the factory firing pin with a lighter after market firing pin. The trade-off is supposed to be decreased reliability.


          • G

            According to Chuck Hawks the lock time of a Remington 700 is 3.0 milliseconds.

            The bullet-in-barrel time one would save by going with shorter barrel is negligible when compared to the lock time. (e.g. 20 cm @ 800mps => 0.25 milliseconds)

          • G

            The lock time of an AR15 is about 16 milliseconds:

        • FourString

          I thought that a 300 blk leaving a 7 in barrel behaves differently than a 5.56 but maybe that’s a different subject

    • John184

      That depends on the barrel profile. If it’s a 24″ pencil profile, then of course it’ll droop. But if it’s a heavy 24″ barrel, then it shouldn’t be an issue.

      • Vincent

        But you can cut down a heavy barrel and make your rifle even more accurate. And it probably weighs a lot.

  • FourString


  • Ghostalker

    Make it, and ship it here, so I can un-bullpup it back to its original glory.

  • bbmg

    “I am curious why the company did not scale up their new AK-12 and use it”

    The Dragunov action has nothing to do with the Kalashnikov, it may look similar externally but is in no way related to its lower powered stablemate.

  • B.

    Gahhhhh, another righty only bullpup. Damn you left handed genetics… damn you.

    • Hey Tavor Tavor:-) Ambi bullpup—

      • B.

        I know, there’s always the Keltec RFB too, or the FN P90. Still not a lot of choices.

  • bsnighteye

    Short copycat of the news, 29 April:

    Design Technological Center NGO “Izhmash” is working on the creation of two new automatic rifles on the “Voyaka-A12” platform for the Federal Security Service, chief designer Vladimir Zlobin told this to reporters.
    Also, line of new automatic weapons on AK-12 base for 7.62x39mm cartridge is under development for Federal Protective Service, which should replace AK-103. AK-104, AKSU-74. Zlobin also noted that Izhmash continues development of civilian weapons: “In particular, there are works on smoothbore shotguns and carbines on AK-12 platform and bullpup civilian weapons.”

    In September 2013 Izhmash plans to present 3 new cartridges – 1 for pistols, 2 for automatic rifles.

    In addition, as Zlobin noted, “In the interests of the Russian Interior Ministry Izhmash designers are developing AK-12SN, which will have a modular design.” Preliminary tests of these weapons is scheduled to beginning of 2014.

  • need to make a southpaw version

    • Lolinski

      Cant you install a shell deflector and cheek rest?

  • dp

    Couple of points to take note of:

    – a) actions of new rifles are likely conventional (gas piston)
    – b} amunitions for new rifles are (presumably) conventional
    – c) first time true interest in modularity in Russia

    ref.a : no drive for action which would curb recoil to user’s body is evident

    ref.b : no interest in ‘lightweight technologie’ although we did not see 2 new types yet; it also indicates some optimazition is still possible (geared to specific intention of gun concept)

    ref.c : looks like trying to catch up with the rest of the world, but nothing revolutionary at least so far, we shall see

    I hope I missed something…….
    oh yes, IF those new (modular) rifles are in b-poop format it better be something real new, otherwise no need to bother since b-poop has unavoidable disadvantages (mag change awkward, mag format types limitation, ejection solutions problematic, breech explosion due to bore obstacle unthinkable…)

  • JDub

    Looks like an older 007 has infiltrated the Izhmash design bureau

  • I will just go with a modernized SVU, thank you.