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The SVU-A (Russian: Snayperskaya Vintovka Ukorochennaya-Avtomaticheskaya; English: Short Sniper Rifle-Automatic) is a bullpup configuration of the famed Dragunov SVD sniper rifle, which has roots in the 1970s, when development of a compact sniper rifle began. This was originally thought to be achieved simply by making the SVD into a bullpup rifle, but when complications regarding configuration of the rifle arose, the project was scrapped.
It was revived, however, in 1991, when Tula offered the rifle to MVD troops for urban ops. The MVD requested that an automatic version be made, and this was fulfilled by TsKIB SOO, being given the name OTs-03A and OTs-03AS (S=Soshkoy/Bipod). Since the mid 1990s the rifles have been produced by Tula in limited numbers, and given to various law enforcement organisations in Russia.
[Following is total bullshit put in by me, not technically correct]
The bipod inherent on the AS variant was not found to be comfortable by the few STALKER snipers who used it, as they often had to use the rifle while moving, and the bipod constructed the handguard, making comfortable firing much more difficult. For this reason, the SVU-A is the most common variant, as its selective fire makes it effective for engagement of multiple targets at close-to-medium range, and it is just slightly less accurate than the standard SVD, while being much more compact.
Some STALKERs have taken to using the rifle without a scope, instead using reflex sights, or even iron sights. This emphasises its medium range effectiveness, and the iron sights have adjustments for range.