Russian reconnaissance units receive upgraded ASM Val silent assault rifles
Reconnaissance units of the Russian Central Military District deployed in the Samara region for the first time received upgraded silent firearms, the district said: “The scouts and snipers of the 2nd combined arms army received over 40 silent Val assault rifles and Vintorez VSSM sniper rifles”.
The ASM Val (Special Automatic; code name “Shaft”, GRAU designation: 6P30) is a Soviet-designed assault rifle featuring an integrated sound suppressor. The Val was developed alongside the VSS Vintorez to replace modified general-purpose firearms, such as the AKS-74UB, BS-1, APB, and PB, for clandestine operations. Development of the Val began in 1985 following the VSS Vintorez in 1983 by TsNIITochMash based on the prototype RG-036 completed in 1981. Manufacturing began at the Tula Arms Plant after its adoption by the Soviet Army and KGB in 1987.
The Val is integrally suppressed and chambered in 9×39mm, a subsonic cartridge, in order to reduce its report and was designed alongside the VSS Vintorez, a similar rifle designed for precision shooting. Four rows of nine holes are drilled in the barrel near which follows the rifling and allows gas to escape the barrel behind the projectile into the suppressor. The suppressor effectively hides muzzle flash and reduces the muzzle report of the firearm to 130 dB. There are no design features that reduce the noise of the action.
Manipulation of the Val is similar to many other AK-type rifles: charging handle on the right side, tangent rear sight, magazine release button behind the magazine well, and safety lever above the trigger guard. The fire selector is, however, located behind the trigger within the trigger guard. The rifle also has an “AK-type” Warsaw Pact rail for various optical sights, namely the PSO-1-1, PSO-1M2-1, and 1-PN-51 calibrated for use with the 9×39mm cartridge. The 9x39mm, or more specifically, the 9x39mm SP-6 cartridge, is a centerfire rifle-caliber 7.62x39mm case with a special “widened” neck designed to accept a 9mm bullet (9x19mm Parabellum) which is common in many semi-automatic pistols and submachine guns. This modified Soviet/Russian cartridge has continued to find growing use throughout other specialized weapon families of the Russian military since its inception in 1987. The standard open sights are graduated from 100 to 400 m in 25 m increments.
The action is also similar to that of AK-type rifles with a similar long-stroke gas system with the piston located above the barrel. The Val design characteristically uses a rotating bolt with six locking lugs and a milled steel receiver. It accepts the same standard 10 or 20-round double-stack detachable box magazines as the Vintorez, as well as the 30-round magazine of the SR-3M. Many of its components are shared with the Vintorez with the main discrepancy being the tubular metal buttstock which folds to the left. The firearm is functional with the stock folded, although the mounting of an optic will not allow the buttstock to close completely. The handguard, pistol grip, and magazines are made of a synthetic polymer.
For transportation, the Val can be quickly disassembled to fit into a special case, much like the Vintorez.
Variants and derivatives
* ASM Val: a modernisation of the Val (GRAU designation 6P30M). It features a 30-round magazine and a Picatinny rail on the dust cover and in front of the handguard. Deliveries began in 2018.
* VSS Vintorez: fitted with a fixed wooden stock and pistol grip to improve marksmanship.
* SR-3 Vikhr: developed in 1996 for greater concealability by replacing the stock and omitting the integral suppressor and charging handle.
* SR-3M: a modernization of the SR-3 that replaces the original SR-3 stock with that of the AS Val and with a 30-round backward compatible magazine. It allows for the attachment of a suppressor, similar in appearance to that of the AS Val and VSS Vintorez. The handguard was also redesigned to include the rear sight and a folding foregrip.
* SR-3MP: a further modernization of the SR-3M that allows for the folding stock to be mounted at the base of the pistol grip for users wearing helmets with face shields or head-mounted night vision devices. The handguard was also redesigned to include two Picatinny rails on the sides.
* 9A-91: a redesign of the AS-Val concept produced in the 1990s with the accompanying VSK-94 outfitted for a marksman role.