This is not going to be a review as usual since we already reviewed the SR–3M and the core features of both AEGs are the same. The SR–3 mainly differs in a few optical and mechanical ways from the SR–3.
We will compare the main differences and also take a look inside of the gearbox to see, if there are any changes.
SHORT HISTORY OF THE SR-3
The SR–3 is Russian compact assault rifle chambered in 9x93mm and was developed by TsNIITochMash which is short for “Central Research Institute for Precision Machine Building”. TsNIITochMash is known for producing the APS Underwater Rifle and the AS Val and VSS Vintorez rifles.
The ‘Vikhr’ shoots a 9x93mm subsonic round at 295m/s that can penetrate 6mm of steel, 2.8mm titanium or 30 layers of Kevlar at 200m by using the SP–6 cartridge.
The SR–3 was designed in 1994 and is based on the design of the AS Val. It is mainly used by the Russian FSB and FSO units.
After adopting the SR–3, the FSB wanted to combine the features of the SR–3, the AS Val and VSS into one single rifle, which led to the production of the SR–3M.
The SR–3 is made out of steel and polymer and it is actually very heavy for its compact size. With its 3kg, the SR–3 is just 600g lighter than a M70AB2 or similar AK model.
Speaking of the size, the SR-3 measures 660mm with its stock retracted and just 400mm with the stock folded over.
A big benefit over the SR-3M is the SR-3’s battery space. The SR-3M could only take very specific, small batteries as where the SR-3 can take batteries up to 75mm x 25mm x 15mm. I was able to fit a 2s 1450mAh nunchuk battery into the handguard.
I highly recommend using a 3s LiPo battery as the motor is neither fast nor has a lot of torque. The gear set also has a standard gear ratio and the spring is strong.
This is something LCT should change. Adding a high-torque motor to the guns would not only reduce stress to the standard motor and the battery, it would also increase the trigger response. In my opinion, a high-torque motor combined with a high-speed gear ratio is the best way to combine RPM and trigger response.
The SR-3 and the SR-3M differ mainly externally. The gearbox, Hop-Up unit and inner barrel seem to be exactly the same.
Keep in mind that the SR-3 is the predecessor to the SR-3M and has less features than its younger brother.
The SR-3 is a little bit shorter as the SR-3M and lacks various features. The flashhider is different, it has no silencer thread on it. The front sight and dust cover are different too. The rear sight is farer in the back. The shape of the handguard is different as it lacks the fold-able front grip. The folding stock of the SR-3 can be folded over the top of the rifle where as the SR-3M’s stock folds to the side. The fire selector and safety lever are different and have different markings.
An important feature that is missing on the SR-3 is the side rail on the left side of the receiver. You can’t mount any mount bases or scopes on the SR-3! Another difference is the color of the polymer parts of the gun. The SR-3 features plum-colored parts where as the SR-3M’s parts are black.
The stock of the SR-3 folds all the way over the top of the gun. The half-rounded knobs on the left and right side of the stock are the locking mechanism. By pushing the knobs back, the stock folds up all the way back to its intended position.
To fold the stock you have to press another button on the very end of the gun right next to the grip. By pushing the button down, the stock unlocks and can be folded. The button is quite hard to press and won’t unlock the stock accidentally.
Mounted on the pivot of the stock is the sling mount, which is nothing more than a piece of stamped sheet metal. It is quite strong and does its job.
Here’s another view of the stock release mechanism …
… and its locking counterpart.
The stock’s shoulder piece actually has VERY sharp edges and corners. I really recommend to sand them down a little bit. I was playing in a tight CQB scenario one day and in one situation, where I was quickly moving into cover, the stock cut my neck and I was bleeding a little bit.
As the stock folds over toe whole top of the receiver, it features a cut-out for the rear sight so you can aim the gun with the stock collapsed.
Speaking of the rear sight, the sight features a flippable scale that has the numbers 1 and 2 stamped on. I’m not exactly sure what those numbers stand for.
The safety lever is totally different from the SR-3M. The lever is pressed by the thumb and, honestly, it takes quite a lot of force to to so. As you can see on the photo, the lever clearly rubs against the receiver which might also be the reason for the necessary pressure.
The SR-3M features an AK-style safety lever. Also the fire selector is located within the trigger guard right behind the trigger.
The fire selector of the SR-3 is nothing more than a simple push pin that is pressed with the thumb.
The SR-3 has no traditional charging handle like the SR-3M has.
The charging handle is on the front of the rifle right behind the frontsight. You have to use your thumb and index finger to push it back.
To remove the handguard, which stores the battery, you simply have to unscrew the flashhider and push the handguard forward.
The inner barrel has a diameter of 6.02, is made out of brass and has a length of 192mm.
The falshhider has a -14mm counterclockwise thread so you can attach whatever silencer of flashhider you want. Again, the SR-3 can take batteries up to 75mm x 25mm x 15mm.
Here’s another photo of the charging handle. Right beneath the guide rod you can see two set screws that lock the outer barrel in place.
Removing the outer barrel assembly is actually very easy. Remove the magazine, remove the set screw that holds the guide rod inside the push knob on the back of the gearbox. Then push the guide rod forward all the way through the front sight block. Remove the two set screws that lock the outer barrel and you’re done.
Before we move on to the internals, here’s another photo of the SR-3 with its dust cover removed.
Here’s one from the other side where you can see the safety mechanism.
A LOOK INSIDE
The first thing you will notice is that the motor wont fit trough the frame of the safety mechanism.
You actually have to unscrew the whole motor cage from the gearbox in order to get it out of the receiver.
Another common problem with LCT guns are their sharp edges. I had this very issue over and over again on all my LCT guns: damaged cable housings and ripped shrink tubes. One time I put the gearbox back into the AK receiver and mounted the pistol grip and while tightening down the gearbox, the motor cable got cut and pulling the trigger caused a short which damaged my LiPo battery.
The gearbox is exactly the same as the SR-3M’s gearbox and it also features the same internals.
The gearbox features a standard ratio, stamped steel gear set, that is used in all LCT gearboxes …
… as well as a polycarbonate piston with steel teeth, a chrome plated brass cylinder, an aluminum cylinder and piston head, a steel spring guide with bearings, a m120-ish spring, a polycarbonate tappet plate and an air-seal nozzle. The shell also features 9mm ball bearings.
PERFORMANCE & FINAL WORDS
The SR-3 turned out to be a quite powerful AEG for its small size. The chrono readings were between 375 FPS and 379 FPS and showed quite consistent results with a difference of just 4 FPS between the highest and lowest reading.
The performance of this compact AEG is very good and even outperformed the BO Hubert .14 during the tests in terms of accuracy and range. Only the trigger response and rate of fire are not that great and LCT should fine-tune the gearbox and motor a little bit.
The sharp edges of the stock, shoulder plate and fire selector made the SR-3 very uncomfortable to handle and even caused some bruises and a little scar on my neck.
Nevertheless, the SR-3 is a great addition the the Russian rifle line-up and most certainly an AEG for reenactors and purists as it lacks the ability to mount optics or any other kind of accessories. It’s built like a tank and feels absolutely realistic … but that’s what one would expect from LCT anyways, right?