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The AS "Val" (Russian: АС "Вал", Автомат специальный, Avtomat specialniy, "Special assault rifle") was designed by TSNIITOCHMASH in late 1980s as a specialised weapon for Spetsnaz forces. Due to the nature of operations Spetsnaz usually carries out, they are in need of silenced, flashless weapons.
Initially, this niche was filled by AK-47/AKM rifles, fitted with detachable silencers and supplied with subsonic ammunition, and Stechkin APB pistols. However, those were not adequate enough for the intended goals, and Spetsnaz command had requested development of specialised weaponry.
For this, a special cartridge was developed. Existing in two versions, SP-5 and SP-6, this cartridge was, in essence, 7.62X39 cartridge for AK, necked out to fit 9mm heavy bullet. The powder charge was also replaced with a specific load to provide subsonic speed with high muzzle energy.
Around those cartridges, the AS "Val" was built, along with its "sister" rifle VSS "Vintorez". What`s curious, is that despite AS "Val" being assault rifle, and VSS "Vintorez" - sniper rifle, they have about 70% of interchangeable parts.
AS "Val" is currently used by Spetsnaz and reconnaissance divisions of Russian Army, as well as MVD and FSB special forces.
Technically, AS "Val" is gas-operated, internally-silenced weapon. Silencer could be detached for maintenance, but firing the gun without silencer is not recommended due to reliability and safety issues. Safety lever is separate from the fire-mode selector, and placed similarly to AK safety lever, while fire-mode selector is placed near the trigger. Magazines are plastic, for 10 or 20 rounds, interchangeable with VSS "Vintorez". Skeleton metal stock is folding to the left.
Default sights are marked up to 400 m, with step of 25 m, but in practice, aiming beyond 250–300 m is difficult, due to bullets arcing. AS "Val" has a rail on the side, allowing to mount various optic/nightvision/red dot sights. It has no capabilities to mount a grenade launcher or bayonet.