Some time back I took a media report to task for claiming an Iraqi insurgent sniper used a “long-barrelled Kalashnikov”. The Russian sniper weapon of choice is not a Kalashnikov, but a Dragunov SVD. A week later, I linked to an Officers’ Club pic of an Iraqi army soldier and made a sarcastic (who, me?) comment about “long-barreled Kalashnikovs”.
On that post, a reader points out the Romanian PSL, which is “basically an AK tricked up to look like a Dragunov” and available in Iraq. To be honest, I don’t think I knew what a PSL was. I certainly didn’t realize how much it looked like an SVD.
Here’s a pic with the PSL (top), SVD (third), and cousins from a discussion board:
Like the SVD, the PSL is chambered for the 7.62×54 round, not the 7.63×39 fired by the AK-47. However, the PSL uses the AK-type gas piston, not the rotating bolt of the Dragunov. Given the variety of furniture and additional stuff you may see clamped onto weapons in pics, it seems to me that the easiest way to tell a PSL from a SVD is by the location of the magazine in relation to the trigger guard. Take a look at these:
Notice that the magazine release and magazine are right up against the trigger guard on the PSL (left pic) while there is a noticeable between them and the guard on the SVD (right).
Between the better cartridge and the longer barrel, the PSL is far superior than an AK-47, but it isn’t in the same class as the SVD. Still, the media report I noted might have been correct (in essence) about the “long-barrelled Kalashnikov”. Although it’s hard to tell, I do think that the pic on Officers’ Club is a Dragunov, though.
For a ton of pics comparing a PSL to a Tiger (sort of a “Dragunov Lite”) see Dragunov.net, and for an in-depth write-up of the PSL along with a detailed “differences” pic, see Heads Bunker.
If any readers have anything to add, please do so.