The Dragunov sniper rifle (formal Russian: Снайперская Винтовка системы Драгунова образца 1963 года Snayperskaya Vintovka sistem'y Dragunova obraz'tsa 1963 goda (SVD-63), officially "Sniper Rifle, System of Dragunov, Model of the Year 1963") is a semi-automatic sniper/designated marksman rifle chambered in 7.62×54mmR and developed in the Soviet Union.
The Dragunov was designed as a squad support weapon since, according to Soviet and Soviet-derived military doctrines, the long-range engagement ability was lost to ordinary troops when submachine guns and assault rifles (which are optimized for close-range and medium-range, rapid-fire combat) were adopted. For that reason, it was originally named Самозарядная Винтовка системы Драгунова образца 1963 года "Self-Loading Rifle, System of Dragunov, Model of the Year 1963."
It was selected as the winner of a contest that included three competing designs: by Sergei Simonov, Aleksandr Konstantinov and Yevgeny Dragunov. Extensive field testing of the rifles conducted in a wide range of environmental conditions resulted in Dragunov’s proposal being accepted into service in 1963. An initial pre-production batch consisting of 200 rifles was assembled for evaluation purposes, and from 1964 serial production was carried out by Izhmash.
Since then, the Dragunov has become the standard squad support weapon of several countries, including those of the former Warsaw Pact. Licensed production of the rifle was established in China (Type 79 and Type 85) and Iran (as a direct copy of the Chinese Type 79).