Russian Army Snipers Have Rifles and Ammo That Can Pierce U.S. Body Armor
The National Interest, 12.12.2017
By Charlie Gao
Regardless, the proliferation of .338 Lapua rifles in Russian service means that they have a formidable ability to defeat body armor at long ranges, and the Orsis T-5000 and SV-338 show that Russia has at least a limited capability to produce these rifles internally. There are many NATO equivalents to this capability, as many NATO nations field sniper systems in this caliber. Notably, the Remington MSR is in American service as USSOCOM's Precision Sniper Rifle (PSR), it is chambered in .338 Lapua (with the option to quickly change to .300WM and 7.62x51mm NATO).
Other Russian rifles that can counter body armor are the ASVK and ASVKM (army sniper rifle, large caliber) sniper systems. Originally developed alongside the SVDK in the 1990s as a proper anti-material long range rifle, it saw larger adoption over its rival .50 caliber rifle, the OSV-96. The ASVK has seen use inSyria and Ukraine. The ASVK is a .50 caliber (12.7x108mm) bullpup anti-material/sniper rifle. Due to its caliber, body armor and even most cover cannot protect from the ASVK. Unlike Western bullpup anti-material rifles, like the Barrett M95 where the bolt handle is on the bolt behind the trigger, the ASVK has the bolt handle in front of the trigger, allowing for easy and rapid actuation. Recently, the ASVK has been developed into the ASVKM (ASVK – Modernized). It incorporates lighter materials, lowering the weight to 10kg. This is 3kg lighter than the U.S. military's M107 sniper rifle. The modernization also improves the muzzle brake and barrel life. Unlike the SVDK and the .338 Lapua rifles which have largely seen service only in specialized units, the ASVKM is seeing widespread adoption. Rifles were delivered to GRU special forces units in early 2017, they are also planned to be provided to airborne and mountain infantry units. While NATO has analogs to the ASVKM, not many are as compact or as light as it due to the ASVKM's unique skeletal design and bullpup layout.
To conclude, while Russians continue to largely field sniper systems that American body armor is resistant to, in the SV98 (accepted into service in the airborne troops in 2015) and SVD, they possess many systems that are capable of defeating American body armor at all ranges. From an adapted semi-automatic elephant gun to skeletal bullpup .50 caliber rifles, these sniper systems may appear unorthodox but are highly lethal.