The Soviet-era VSS “Vintorez” rifle has long been a staple of Russia’s diverse special operations arsenals. Over the years, the weapon has remained unavailable to the American consumer market, frustratingly so for those who take a deeper interest in “ComBloc” style guns (i.e. weapons originating from the Eastern side of the former Iron curtain).
Be it a near-standstill on gun imports from Russia, or the fact that the VSS — translated from Russian as “Special Sniper Rifle” — is an NFA nightmare with a short barrel/fixed stock, built-in suppressor, and select-fire capabilities, this particular firearm just hasn’t been much of a priority when it comes to porting it over to fulfill the wish lists of ComBloc enthusiasts
Slagga, a Connecticut-based startup, now aims to be the first in the country to quench that thirst by producing the VSS entirely in America, built to a virtually the same spec, albeit with a few standard modifications to make it compliant with current firearms regulations.
The VSS was originally designed in the 1980s as a variation of the AS Val Special Automatic Rifle, an integrally-suppressed select-fire rifle created solely for the use of Russia’s secretive “special purpose” (or Spetsnaz) troops. While the control layout is similar to those found on AK series rifles, the VSS’s internals are fairly different, and makes use of a 6-lug rotating bolt.
Above that, the rifle comes with a 7.9-inch suppressed barrel. While the VSS is officially designated a sniper rifle (an automatic weapon with a cyclic rate of 700 rounds per minute at that), it’s only effective up to around 330 yards or 300 meters, making it more of a designated marksman rifle.
Slagga’s take on the VSS, dubbed the Viska, will essentially be the same gun though in semi-automatic form. Like the VSS, the Viska can be taken down quickly for transport or storage thanks to a quick-detach stock and suppressor. According to the company, the suppressor will use a mono-core baffle, enhancing its noise-reduction capabilities.
Buyer beware, that will require two tax stamps to comply with NFA regulations — one to cover the suppressor and one to cover the fact that the Viska is technically a short-barreled rifle.
Slagga is also in the process of developing a pair of non-NFA versions of the Viska, including one with a pistol brace and a threaded muzzle, and the second a rifle version with a fixed stock and a 16-inch barrel shrouded by a faux suppressor.
For now, the Viska will use a side rail to mount SVD and AKM-style scopes, and will feed from 10 or 20-round polymer magazines. Purists breathe ease, the Viska will be chambered in 9x39 mm like the VSS, though the company also plans on developing versions in 300 Blackout and 7.62x39 mm.
The company plans on taking pre-orders for the rifle for $3000 apiece, but an opening date for the orders or the release of the gun hasn’t yet been set.
Ian D’Costa is a correspondent with Gear Scout whose work has been featured with We Are The Mighty, The Aviationist, and Business Insider. An avid outdoorsman, Ian is also a guns and gear enthusiast.