This article was originally posted on Thefirearmblog.com
A recent visit by the Vietnamese Vice President Ngong Thinh to the MoD’s state arsenal factory Z111 has revealed that the country is currently producing what appears to be a licensed copy of the Russian 12.7x108mm OSV-96 semi-automatic magazine fed anti-material rifle. Previous news articles from 2015 have suggested that the rifle would enter production or was at least in the prototyping stage of development during that year, but this confirms that the rifle will certainly be produced in Vietnam. Factory Z111 is the same factory in Vietnam that is also turning out 5.56x45mm Galil ACE rifles for the Vietnamese Armed Forces. This is not the first 12.7x108mm weapon system that Vietnam has produced, with the Vietnamese coming up KSVK anti-material rifle announced in August of 2017. We don’t seem to be seeing much of that particular design, being that it is a manually repeating bolt action rifle, it was probably less preferred by the high command to this semi-automatic one.
The OSV-96 is quite interesting as an anti-material rifle. It folds at the center to collapse the barrel and receiver together for transport on the battlefield. Much of the rifle is made from stamped sheet metal, making it a very no-frills sort of weapon, very Russian in design and manufacture. It appears that the Vietnamese have produced it exactly as it is made in Russia with the exception of a few differences. The Vietnamese bipod appears to be adjustable and with long feet, while the buttpad has been cut down from the OSV-96’s longer shoulder support.
Vietnam was previously known to have bought the Polish .50 BMG WKW Wilk bolt action anti-material rifles, but these were probably for test and evaluation purposes or to arm specific units that had an operational requirement.
“เวียดนามอวดปืนสไนเปอร์ OSV-96 ใหญ่บักเอ้กหนักอึ้งผลิตเองในประเทศ.” เวียดนามอวดปืนสไนเปอร์ OSV-96 ใหญ่บักเอ้กหนักอึ้งผลิตเองในประเทศ, 17 Jan. 2018, mgronline.com/indochina/detail/9610000005100.