DSEi 09: PMP Neopup 20mm Personal Area Weapon

If the suave gentlemen in the above photo had a beautiful woman beside him, I think the scene could hardly be distinguished from a Bond movie. Style, sophistication and an incredible amount of high explosive firepower!

The side mounted pistol grip makes this a very compact weapon for its class.

Quite frankly, this is an awesome piece of hardware. I can’t say much else than that. I hope to be writing more about this weapon in the near future.

A big thanks to Groot Mamba for the photos.



Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • No… seriously. Get off my lawn.

  • “area” is a bit of exaggeration. The same calibre was rejected (despite air burst fuze) in the OICW/XM-29 project. The rumoured reason was a lack of punch (the development proceeded with 25mm).

    The ability to project many shells to achieve an “area” effect doesn’t exist either. The weight limits (it’s a man-portable system, after all) and mag capacity don’t allow for a lavish use of its firepower.

    “area” effect may be technically acceptable, but it’s misleading in this case.

    Btw, it would be interesting to learn what exactly the projectile can do. What does it to soft vehicles, windows, doors, walls? Info about the quantity of fragments, their weight & velocity and most important pattern?
    Can the Neopup use HEI-frag ammo as is used in 20mm gatlings?

    How does the hole thing sound? Does it have a more powerful psychological effect than an assault rifle?

  • Jeff M

    I think they could drop a as-of-yet- undeveloped thermobaric charge into the rounds to make them as effective as their larger counterpart. I think the reason they don’t is the backlash when one guy with one of these accidentally kills 100 civilians because he wasn’t the right guy to be utilizing such powerful “small arms”.

  • Side-mounted pistol grip — that sounds like an interesting way of getting similar length and balance improvements to a bull-pup configuration. Any other weapons use this?

    • Emptormaven, I don’t think so.

  • Martin

    The way they describe this weapon as ‘compact’ is completely misleading. Since you only see photos of it from the side, it certainly appears true. However, the view from above, with the side mounted grip and semi-helical magazine show a very awkward gun. Basically, it won’t fit into any space you would normally use to hold a weapon. About the only advantage to the side-by-side setup is you could be a little more prone on a flat surface. The magazine is undoubtedly more expensive than a simple box. The bizzare side grip is right hand only, with a left hand only magazine. And let’s not forget the extra manufacturing costs associated with those peculiar tidbits.

    I’d imagine it’s unusual configuration is what is limiting it’s adoption by anyone. If they would simply use a standard grip and box magazine, there would be a lot more interest.

    • Martin, it is compact compared to other semi-automatic grenade launchers. Remember, it is not a rifle.

  • ‘Personal Area’ Weapon? Heh. Wasn’t there one of those in ‘From Dusk Til Dawn’?

  • Mu

    It has to be called an “area effect” weapon do to the prohibition of exploding rounds and rounds over .50 to target individual soldiers. Their brochure is therefore also heavy on “suppression” and other applications not targeting individuals.

  • Clodboy

    They should probably extend that list of possible applications with:
    “Riot scenarios involving extraterrestrial 10-foot-tall bipedal fighting vehicles” 😀

    Seriously though, there is a promotional video of it on Youtube, showing the effects of the different ammo types and perhaps giving a better impression of the unconventional “offset pistolgrip”-ergonomics.

  • I know this thing and that it’s not air burst. The lack of air burst actually decreases the likeliness to hit anything even though it leads to a smaller/cheaper fuze and therefore potentially larger warhead.

    Scenario: combat in forest
    What do you shoot at to set off the fuze close tot he enemy? The tree stems?

    Scenario: Urban combat, enemy in a room in house on other side of street.
    What do you shoot at? Does it penetrate the wall? Hitting the room’s back wall through the window won’t help at that warhead size.

    Scenario: Combat in open field.
    Again, what to shoot at?

    Scenario: Fighting uphill.
    What to shoot at? Attempt to hit the ground next to the stone where an enemy took cover?

    Scenario: Enemy behind wall at 150m.
    An chance to punch through the wall? There’s nothing else to aim at.

  • Overload in CO

    Doesn’t look very lefty friendly

  • Fiftycal

    YEAH! 20 mm isn’t BIG enough, let’s go 25mm. Well, I say let’s go 50 MM!! That’ll show the bastards!

  • noname

    Not real appropriate for these shows but more Booth Babes.

    • noname, haha, you seen Lord of War?

  • jody

    what is the point of this thing. it sends a 20x42mm shell flying at 300 meters per second. that is a nearly useless combination of size and speed. there is a reason why no other military fields an infantry weapon like this.

    • jody, it is a grenade launcher not a rifle. It delivers chemical energy to the target (high explosives), not kinetic energy (a bullet). speed and kinetic energy of the projectile do not matter.

  • noname

    Steve, I have not seen Lord of War.
    Sounds like it featured inappropriate Booth Babes.

    • noname, it sure did.

  • Clodboy

    I think what jody is getting at is that this gun may be the answer to a question nobody asked.

    When people hear “grenade launcher”, the first question they ask is how big an explosion it will produce, not how long it takes for the projectile to reach its target.

    Of course, from what I gather from the brochure, the weapon is basically proposing to fill a niche of its own: Long-range suppression. While a 20mm shell might not cause that much destruction, it sends a very clear psychological message. People in a combat zone may soon get desensitized to machine gun fire being sprayed in their general direction, but even a small explosion in front of their faces is bound to get their attention every time.

    So yeah, maybe we’ll at some point be eating crow like the Russian brass who scoffed at Fedorov’s invention of the modern battle rifle, or we’ll see it get chucked onto the trash heap of failed OICW-clones.

  • Martin

    Steve, you’re right about it being compact compared to other semi-auto grenade launchers.

    However, I have to agree with the others that find the NeoPup’s purpose to be a bit elusive. Sure, it’s a grenade launcher, but it’s tiny, relatively speaking. Honestly, how much explosive power can you pack into such a tiny warhead? Enough to cause an irritating flesh wound? Wouldn’t making explosive shells for a 3″ magnum 12ga be a better, more functional, and cheaper solution?

    • Martin, actually they do make explosive 12 gauge ammunition! I saw a future weapons episode where they fired them full auto, it is probably on youtube if you search.

  • jody

    i fully and completely understand what denel is trying to do with this weapon. the point is that the idea is bad. that is why no other force fields an infantry device like this.

    the US just literally shut down a 10 year project to develop the same idea. the US weapons were better than the denel weapons, and they still did not do anything that you would want.

  • mettandt

    There’s 20mm OICW type weapon available in market.

    South Korean XK-11.

    Bolt action rifle which is using 20mm airburst round.

    They say that its round is little longer than XM-29’s so it makes more fragment enough to neutralize enemy.

    Its fielding will begin late 09.

    weight 6.1kg, someone who have seen this weapon said it well balanced so dosen’t feel heavy as it seen.

    problem. it’s not combat proven.

  • viper5552

    after review of the brochure i conclude they intend to market this as a potential replacement for 40mm systems like the M203, in this role it has a greater effective range, but the effects on target is insufficient in my opinion and against infantry in the open a rifle is better. as for the suppression question it is not, in my opinion, better than any dedicated 40mm system on the market today.

  • hanz

    thank u Sven Ortmann
    yes , the word is LAVISH
    no lavish fire here
    do you think that a fully automatic version and a 30 round drum will do the job (despie the added weight)?

  • seryoga

    Sven, regarding your scenarios:
    All your questions can equally apply to small bullets which don’t go thru walls and stones. Suppressive machine gun fire is just the waste of your ammo to scare enemy 😉
    Explosive hits next to the covering stone, to stems and ground behind.. all that is not perfect but it does work. 40 mm don’t seem much more effective. They are loosely placed and are actually less dangerous than machine gun fire in open terrain.

    Watch the video. It’s the answer to all your questions: pretty precise shots penetrating light cover. But (again) killing pro soldiers is a very hard job..

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