VKS Bullpup Sniper Rifle Spotted At Interpolitex 2015
When this year’s Interpolitex wrapped up yesterday, it marked another occasion for the general public (in Moscow, at least) to ogle the latest weaponry and gadgets for Russia’s domestic security apparatus. From October 20 until 23 everything from fire-retardant suits, drones, and cyborgs were on display to generate buzz for stuff made in Russia.
Of course, when it comes to Russia’s “security apparatus” the police, border guards, spy agencies, and special forces who exist to bolster the state are all included under the same category. This is why aside from the arms show full of exhibitors at the VDNH, a trade show venue, another event took place at the Geodezia firing range on opening day for select units to showcase their unique skills. (Like riding atop a BTR-80 and assaulting fictitious terrorists.)
Fairs like Interpolitex are badly needed. Since the beginning of the previous decade there has been a huge accessorization and modularization trend sweeping the special forces community in the West. Russia’s own operators and the defense contractors that equip them have caught up with this and Interpolitex is their mutual marketing platform.
A fine example is the 12.7mm VKS sniper rifle. Although the plebeian 7.62mm Dragunov SVD is more familiar to the rest of the world, the Russian military has always had a soft spot for specialist weapons. With a decade (2005-2015) marked by a rising defense budget that nourished state-owned arms manufacturers, a new generation of Russian small arms are now emerging.
The VKS is a creation of the KBP Instrument Design Bureau, which is responsible for Russia’s large caliber weapons, and their rifle was tailored to suit Spetsnaz and other elite anti-terrorist units. It’s a bullpup bolt action affair chambered for the 12.7x55mm round. The VKS is primarily made of stamped steel and polymer and is recognizable for its short barrel assembly concealed by the foregrip.
The VKS is believed to have entered limited production in 2005 but in 2011 it was still designated the Ash-12.7–a CQB bullpup carbine with a banana magazine. The Ash-12.7 was eventually modified into a sniper rifle with a small five-round box magazine and an effective range of 600 meters. It was then rebranded as the VKS and featured a bipod, a Picatinny rail along its upper receiver, optics, and a very large suppressor.
The VKS shouldn’t be confused with the KSVK 12.7, another bullpup anti-material rifle with an elongated barrel and prominent muzzle brake. It’s unknown how many VKS rifles are in use within Russia and any foreign countries.