The Vintorez (VSS) integrally suppressed sniper rifle is a system
designed on the AK platform ** that fires a unique 9×39 cartridge with deadly accuracy out to 400 meters. Think of the Vintorez as being comparable to an integrally suppressed .300BLK rifle in the AR world. Developed specifically for Russian covert units, only a few civilians have had the opportunity to handle, let alone shoot, one of these rifles.
** My mistake, the VSS is not AK based as I originally wrote.
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.
Molot Arms is preparing pull the veil of secrecy off the Vintorez by producing civilian models available for sale to Russians and possibly other countries at a later date. According to one source, 9×39 ammunition is already in production, however Molot is also set to produce a Vintorez in 7.62×39. Of course, sourcing commercial subsonic 7.62×39 may have it’s own challenges.
Although the suppressor system is an older, rudimentary design similar to other Russian offerings, that does not make it ineffective on the battlefield. This system is purpose designed to be a formidable weapons system. While we do not know which came first, the ammunition or the weapon, I suspect that they were designed as a package. The ammunition is definitely specialized to accomplish a specific task, and the weapon is designed to maximize the capability of the ammunition. As a 200-300 meter silent sniper system, it is hard to beat having a highly effective lethal subsonic projectile, outstanding penetration, reliable cycling, and fully automatic capability for when circumstances really go down the tube. – Dr. Phillip K. Dater.
The silencer is exceptionally simple, especially when compared to Western designs, and bears more than a passing resemblance to the suppressor on the Soviet PB silenced Makarov. The entire silencer is unscrewed from the firearm after depressing a small button latch on the front of the frame of the firearm. This reveals the ported portion of the barrel. As shown in the accompanying photos, the stack is made entirely of spot welded sheet metal. The three baffles are punched and bent from a strip of 0.8 mm steel and are in the form of slanted “washer-type” oval baffles with the first and third slanting approximately 30 degrees (from perpendicular) one way and the middle slanted opposite. The strips, functioning as tabs, are spot welded to two longitudinal strips with a flat washer-baffle spot welded at each end. Reassembly consists of reversing disassembly. – Dr. Phillip K. Dater
Details on the Molot Vintorez are still limited, however the release is set for early 2017 with a price tag of $1,500 USD.
Will the US ever see a Molot VSS? Hard to say, but given the attached suppressor, importation restrictions make it seem unlikely in the short term. However, I am happy for Russian shooters and collectors – this is a unique rifle.
Thanks to “werewolf” for the tip.