The Dragunov sniper rifle, officially "Sniper Rifle, System of Dragunov, Model of the Year 1963") is a semi-automatic designated marksman rifle chambered in 7.62×54mmR and developed in the Soviet Union. The Dragunov was designed as a squad support weapon since, according to Soviet and Soviet-derived military doctrines, long-range engagement ability was lost to ordinary troops when submachine guns and assault rifles (which are optimized for close-range and medium-range, rapid-fire combat) were adopted.
It was developed in 1957–1963 and selected as the winner of a contest that included three competing groups of designers, led by Sergei Simonov, Aleksandr Konstantinov and Yevgeny Dragunov. Extensive field testing of the rifles conducted in a wide range of environmental conditions resulted in Dragunov's proposal being accepted into service in July 1963. An initial pre-production batch consisting of 200 rifles was assembled for evaluation purposes, and from 1964 serial production was carried out by Izhmash, later called Kalashnikov Concern.
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