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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 specialized weapon for Spetsnaz forces. Due to the nature of operations that the Spetsnaz usually carry out, they are in need of silenced, flashless weapons.
Initially, this niche was filled by AK-47/AKM rifles that were fitted with detachable silencers and supplied with subsonic ammunition, along with 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, the 7.62×39mm cartridge of the AK, necked out to fit a 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 developed, along with its "sister" rifle, the VSS "Vintorez". What is curious, is that despite the fact that the AS "Val" is classified as an assault rifle, and VSS "Vintorez" a sniper rifle, they have about 70% of interchangeable parts.
The AS "Val" is currently used by Spetsnaz and reconnaissance divisions of Russian Army, as well as MVD and FSB special forces.
Technically, the AS "Val" is a gas-operated, internally-silenced weapon. The silencer could be detached for maintenance, but firing the gun without the silencer is not recommended, due to reliability and safety issues. The safety lever is separate from the fire-mode selector, and placed similarly to an AK safety lever, while the fire-mode selector is placed near the trigger. The magazines are made of plastic, for 10 or 20 round capacities, and interchangeable with the VSS "Vintorez". The skeleton metal stock folds to the left.
The default sights are marked up to 400 m, with a step of 25 m, but in practice, aiming beyond 250–300 m is difficult, due to the bullets' arcing trajectories. The AS "Val" has a rail on the side, allowing the user to mount various optic/nightvision/red dot sights. It has no capabilities to mount a grenade launcher or a bayonet.