VSK-94s Operational Usage By SSA

The VSK-94 is a rarely seen Russian semi-automatic precision rifle firing a 9x39mm cartridge from a heavily modified Kalashnikov receiver with an integral suppressor. The rifle was an attempt to make a cheaper version of the VSS Vintorez chambered in the same 9x39mm cartridge. Currently, only law enforcement within Russia uses it, while Russia’s Special Operations forces use the the higher quality Vintorez rifle while on operations.

Over the past year a number of photographs of the VSK-94 have surfaced of Syrian Army SSA soldiers utilizing the weapon in combat with numerous rebel factions within Syria. It would appear that Russia could be clearing out Law Enforcement armories with new small arms that fulfill a new operational requirement and these VSK-94s are surplus firearms that Russia is either directly supplying SSA with, or is selling them to the Syrian Army. Judging from the variety of uniforms in which the VSK-94 is pictured with, it appears that the rifle has been widely issued to a number of different units and commands.

Don’t let the 9mm diameter fool you, as the round is subsonic and has an effective range out to 300 or 400 meters. Essentially it is a 7.62x39mm M43 cartridge necked up to accommodate a 9mm projectile. Thus, the 9x39mm cartridge should theoretically have as much energy and effectiveness as the 7.62x39mm round, except it has the subsonic capability. Most of Syria is desert or inhospitable, with the urban centers containing the majority of the population density. Thus, most of the fighting in Syria takes place within cities. This is ample enough range for the 9x39mm cartridge to be effective in. Coupled with the suppressor and scope, I assume SSA soldiers are using it as a designated marksman’s rifle against the rebel factions they are fighting within these cities.

Caliber: 9x39mm SP-5, SP-6 and PAB-9 subsonic
Operation: gas operated, rotating bolt semiautomatic
Barrel: n/a
Weight: 2.8 kg less magazine and scope
Length: 933 mm
Feed Mechanism: 20 rounds detachable box magazine.


Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at miles@tfb.tv


  • Giolli Joker

    “Thus, the 9x39mm cartridge should theoretically have as much energy and
    effectiveness as the 7.62x39mm round, except it has the subsonic
    Ehm… based on what theory?
    9x39mm is a round that I like and it surely has its place, but in terms of energy (being limited by subsonic speed) it lags well behind 7.62x39mm.
    It shoots a 260grs @ between 900 and 1,000 fps.
    Just a bit more energy (at the muzzle) of a subsonic .300 BLK.

    • randomswede

      After som very hasty math; for the same E0 the 9x39mm would need a 760grain projectile or about three loaded 7.62x39mm steelcase cartridges for reference.
      Bullet weight, unlike velocity, isn’t lost over flight time but as gravity also stays the same I’m not sure 9x39mm has time to catch up to 7.62x39mm.

      From Wikipedia:
      “Since the bullet weighs about twice as much as that of the 9×19mm Parabellum, its muzzle energy is about twice as high as that of a subsonic 9×19mm Parabellum bullet, e.g. when fired from a HK MP5SD.”

    • Psychofan Vev game’a

      Does that mean less recoil?

  • dnepr0mike

    obviously Miles knows very little about the rifle and the round. while it is true that round is based on 7.62×39 – necked up to accept 250gr hardened steel core bullet. however rifle is not based on AK (at least as much as ar-18 is based of ar-15). it was modeled after VSS Vintorez family of guns by Izhmash to produce cheaper weapon than said VSS/AS/SR-3M family. it was also buildt for MVD troops not military. military is still using Vintorez and Val and very happy with it.

    • BrandonAKsALot

      This is the case with most articles by him. I was coming to point out this is not an AK based gun as well. So much misinformation.

      • iksnilol

        They hired him more for his good looks, I believe.

        • Aaabalkan

          Are you a batty boy? You’re always talking about men looking good. It is for shame that the Americans chose the wrong side and in the Balkans. If only there were more days like Srebrencia.

          • iksnilol

            Ah, wannabe cetnik troll.

            Long time, no see.

        • .45

          I thought that was James Reeves. *smirk smirk*

          • iksnilol

            Nah, James is pretty funny as well.

            I like to imagine they hired him as charity though. You know, poor guy has yet to see a properly fitting shirt.

        • Henryatomesinye


  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Looks like Ahmed got a new laptop too.

    • neckbone

      No that box is just his bed table I believe. He’s with the faded uniform militia.

  • Seth Hill

    I call dibs.

  • Sianmink

    What would be the options for loading for one of these in the states? The brass is easy enough, but there isn’t much in the way of heavy-weight .356 projectiles.

    • There are plenty of 0.358″ diameter rifle projectiles. Think of those intended for loading the .35 Whelen, .356 Winchester, and .350 Remington Magnum.

      • dieks62

        9.3 is a .366 cal bullet, not a .35 cal one and is very close to the .375!

        • There are also plenty of heavy 0.366″ projectiles available on the market.

    • Giolli Joker

      .358 Gremlin is the American attempt to have something similar, AFAIK.

      • The September 1993 issue of Guns & Ammo had an article by a fellow who made a similar wildcat, and then converted a Ruger Mini-30 into a “Mini-35.”

        • Giolli Joker

          Sometimes you scare me.

    • iksnilol

      Are 9.3mm bullets rare in the US?

  • B-Sabre

    SSA? Do you mean the SAA – the Syrian Arab Army?

  • snmp

    9x39mm =>9,2mm Bullet (Like many hunting bullet in European Market)

  • Martin frank

    Always love seeing and learning about weapons that are used to destroy ISIS!