Weapons: March 4, 2004


Russian rifle designers have come to specialize in silent and flashless (or at least much quieter and unobtrusive) weapons. The first weapons of this type used .22 caliber (5.56mm) bullets. Not the large 5.56mm cartridges, but the smaller ones found in rifles used by kids for hunting small animals. These sniper rifles had a range of less than a hundred meters. Now the Russians have developed a longer range weapon using a special 9mm round. With the night sight, the weapon weighs 12 pounds and has a range of 300 meters. Daytime range is 400 meters. The VSS Silent Snipers 9mm bullet can penetrate most protective vests. The weapon can use a 10 or 20 round magazine. Without the night sight, using a day sight instead, the weapon weighs only 7.5 pounds. There is also an assault rifle version of the weapon that weighs about the same. The principal market for the sniper rifle is commandoes, or police, who need to take down sentries, or other targets, from a distance, and in silence. The weapon is not completely silent, as each round fired makes a sound about as loud as someone clapping their hands once. So if there is any background noise, the sound of the rifle would be lost in it.


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