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.

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