Upon introduction, it had beat out all other contestants and was accepted into service with the Soviet Military with serial production beginning in 1964. It uses the 7.62x54mmR cartridge in a 10-round magazine the same round used on the Mosin-Nagant; the weapon the SVD replaced. It has an effective range of 800 meters and a maximum range of 1300 meters with its standard-issue PSO-1 scope
It was exported heavily to many other countries of the world across Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America, known for it's reliability, precision and having been used in nearly every war during the latter half of the 20th century all the way to modern day. There are many locally made copies in China, Europe and Iraq. It still remains the standard-issue sniper rifle in the Russian Military to this day, having been drastically modernized with synthetic hand guards and stocks, a built-in cheek pad, ability to use bipods and other accessories, as well as a newer variant of the original PSO-1 scope; the PSO-1M2. Along with the newer modernized SVD's come the older Soviet-era wooden SVD's still in heavy use; with Russia and elsewhere.
The SVD in Battlefield Vietnam is used by the North Vietnamese Army and issued to their scout kit. It comes with a ten-round magazine with two magazines in reserve, and is equipped with a PSO-1 sniper scope with 6x magnification for long-distance engagements. It is a generally a very powerful rifle, being capable of killing in 2 body shots or in a single head shot. It is the counterpart to the M21 used by the USMC and ARVN, firing with a decent rate of fire and high damage, but with high recoil and a fairly long reload rate.
In Battlefield 2, the SVD is the default primary weapon for the MEC Sniper kit. When compared with the USMC M24, The SVD has less power and accuracy, as well as less magnification. However, the SVD is semi-automatic, giving it a faster fire rate. It takes a minimum of two rounds to kill, provided one is a headshot, and a potential maximum of three rounds.MEC Special Forces, Russian Spetsnaz, Rebels and Insurgents. It remains the same from base game.
— In-game description
In Battlefield: Bad Company 2: Vietnam, the SVD is issued to the Recon kit. It is a semi-automatic sniper rifle with a 10-round magazine. Like most weapons in the expansion, it has seen heavy usage and also has a palm branch tied to the hand guard as an attempt to use camouflage. It is identical to the M21 in stats. However, players should take into account the SVD's significantly stronger default scope zoom, making the SVD preferable for long range engagements. They are, in almost all aspects other than appearance, exactly the same when a 12X High Power Scope is equipped. Players tend to dislike the SVD, as its high recoil and low damage (for a sniper rifle) are not ideal for the long ranges that its scope is designed for. However, it is much more effective in Hardcore, as it will only require two shots to kill at any range, instead of 3-4 in normal modes.
Zoom level comparision
The SVD is featured in Battlefield Play4Free as a purchasable sniper rifle for the Recon Kit. Due to its semi-automatic nature it has a higher rate of fire than bolt-action sniper rifles but lower damage, requiring 3-4 shots to kill, with moderate recoil. It also uses a 14 rounds magazine and the same scope reticle than the SV-98.
The Elite's SVD features an increased damage over the Veteran's version, killing in 2-3 body shots. This advantage, together with a larger magazine of 14 rounds, comes at a high cost of 790 for unlimited use. As common practice for Elite's weapons the SVD sports a tan paint on the stock and handguard.
— Battlelog description
In the Singleplayer mode of Battlefield 3, the SVD makes no appearance and it is not picked up from any level. However, during the mission Operation Swordbreaker, Jack Chaffin is hit by an unknown PLR sniper from a distant building. Misfit 1-3 then started to pursuit this sniper and kill him with an AT. This sniper is known to wield an SVD as the firing sound heard during his shots is similar with the SVD's firing sound.
In Battlefield 3, the SVD is the default weapon for the Russian Ground Forces' Recon kit in multiplayer. It is very accurate, and can kill in 2-3 shots to the body, or one headshot (Dependent on range, at least 2 shots are required at further range). It is shown with a new ability to have a rail mount attached to the side brackets, which allows for the rifle to use different types of scopes, gunsights and optics. It can also use laser sights and has the ability to mount a bipod. The SVD originally comes equipped with a PKS-07 7x scope by default, but can also use its standard PSO-1M2 scope as the first unlock obtained and as with all sniper rifles in the game, can use iron sights.
The SVD is unlocked by default, it is unique to the Russian Army like the MK11 is to the United States Marine Corps, the stats are identical however the only major differences is the appearance, animations and the PKS-07 scope, It has a 10+1 magazine and is best suited for medium to long range as a way to extend the effective combat range of a squad or it can be used at closer ranges with an ACOG or PSO-1 equipped. It is later unlocked for both factions, like the Mk 11 Mod 0, at 195,000 Recon points.