Recoilless Technologies International Recoilless Rifle

An Australian company has claimed to have developed truly recoilless rifles capable of firing .308 Win. (or equivalent) rounds.

Is this real or an elaborate hoax? It does seem pretty incredible.

Recoil reduction is reducing the actual recoil energy or reducing the recoil velocity (without reducing the actual recoil energy).

A slow recoiling gun is a lot more comfortable than a fast moving gun, for example compare someone pushing you slowly with two open hands with being punched by one fist. The fist is going to be a lot more painful. The easiest way to reduce recoil velocity is by making the gun heavier, including adding heavy metals inside the gun like mercury recoil reducers. Another way to achieve this is using spring, hydronic or rubber (recoil pad) buffer systems.

There is no way to cheap physics. The only way to actually remove recoil is to cancel it by directing energy in the opposite direction of the projectile. This technique was pioneered by the inventor of the Davis Gun , an early aircraft gun, in 1910. The Davis Gun fired both a real bullet and a dummy round, made of shot and grease, at the same time. The dummy round was fired in the opposite direction of the bullet.

Davis Gun. Mounted on top of the Davis Gun is a conventional machine gun.

Later recoilless rifles, most famously the Bazooka of WWII, achieved the same result by directing the projectile’s blast behind the shooter. At least one bullet (not warhead) firing rifle still in production today, the Croatian RT-20, uses this technique.

U.S. Special Forces Soldier fires a Carl Gustav Recoilless Rifle
Croatian RT-20. Photo from Worldwide Defense.

Modern shoulder fired rifles use muzzle brakes to direct gas back towards the shooter, canceling some of the total recoil.

Two Russian assault rifles, AEK-971 and AK-107 have counter/balanced recoil systems where a mass is directed in the opposite direction of the bolt/piston. Neither of these guns have been produced in any large quantity and are said to be overly complex to maintain.

The AK-107 Recoil System

I suspect that the gun in the video above is very heavy, is using some sort of counter/balanced recoil system and is firing weak loads, thereby appearing to have no recoil.



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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  • iMick

    I’ve seen these guys advertise the the local SSAA (Sporting Shooters Association Australia) Magazine for a while now. Offering to retrofit existing firearms with their technology. From what I could see with my basic research at the time, it was a sophisticated breach/barrel counterweight system when fired.

    No matter how dubious it is, I love that people are trying new things, especially in Australia! This technology, and the commercially nebulous but actually functional Metal Storm are great attempts at really doing something new, compared to most things being old gas/DI/recoil systems incased in polymers which make them “innovative” apparently.

    Aussie Aussie Aussie!

    • well, i must say that this system is far from being new
      jst check diagrams from their patent (issued in Russia, in this case) to some older stuff, shown in my blog here: http://mpopenker.livejournal.com/1431756.html
      the post is in Russian but diagrams from patents speak for themselves

  • Theodoric

    The Bazooka was a rocket launcher, not a true recoilless ‘rifle . It doesn’t really count as the first (since, you know, hand-held rocket launchers ‘without recoil’ have been around since the 1200s); the German 7.5 cm Leichtgeschütz 40 was the real first recoilless rifle used in combat.

    • Theodoric

      At least, in my opinion. 😉

    • Lex

      The term is “recoilless rifle” no matter the semantic arguments.

      • comatus

        What a curious response. You speak of “semantics” as if that’s something trivial. The bazooka is not a recoilless rifle, period. It’s a rocket launcher. There is another weapon called a recoilless rifle. The charge goes off in a chamber that is open at the back. The barrell is rifled. And it is 106mm.

        You owe Theodoric an apology.

    • W

      A recoilless rifle has rifling in the barrel, hence the name “rifle”. The bazooka is smoothbore.

      The de facto definition of a recoilless rifle is a weapon that fires a projectile that is not propelled on its own, allowing the gas to escape out the back, that features rifling in the barrel. The best example is the Carl Gustav recoilless rifle and US 90mm M67.

      “rocket launchers”, like the bazooka, also allow the gas to escape out the back, though this is where the similarity ends. Their projectiles are propelled on their own via rocket motor. The reason why the term “recoilless” is often attributed to the bazooka is because it uses technology of venting a large portion of the gas rearward.

  • No link?

  • Alex-mac

    Haha, first it was an australian defying logic and decades of 3D technology, with unlimited detail tech. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00gAbgBu8R4 And now we have another australian defying the laws of physics.
    But next time they should make their own trailer instead of letting the Singaporeans do it. Their dodgy english and outlandishness gives them away.

    Also I’d say recoilless weapons are the future. As the AN-94 almost doubles hit probability in testing. (firing two bullets with before the recoil impulse) It’s just overly complicated and expensive to produce, at least for the russians.

    • S O

      They don’t necessarily violate any laws of physics. The muzzle brake might be that effective if they pimped the propellant a lot (for example using some slow-burning propellant that doesn’t add much to the bullet’s acceleration, but provides a lot of energy for recoil mitigation at the muzzle brake).

      They may also use bleed gas from other points than the muzzle for recoil mitigation.

    • Benjamin

      Haha, dodgy english and outlandishness? Stop playing petty ‘patriot’.
      Plus, just because Singapore defence officials were there to observe the event does not mean the video is produced by Singaporeans. They are probably observing and evaluating on behalf of the government.

      • Alex-mac

        Sure it could have been produced by Australians, but why do they use incorrect grammar in several instances? And why is their advertisement so clueless about american gun culture?

      • Benjamin

        Perhaps you should try to come up with a better link to why Singaporeans were the ones who made the video, and why Singaporeans have shoddy English (perhaps you might consider taking the O Level English paper, or an A Level General Paper examination), and why exactly are Singaporeans outlandish.

        Just because Singaporean officials appear in the video does not mean Singaporeans made it.

        Secondly, Singapore has mandatory education in the English language. Most are proficient in it, and much more so than many other countries. If incorrect grammar is the root of your argument, then I can finger even more countries.

        And thirdly, I can call other countries outlandish, but this would reflect poorly on my country and myself.

      • Zermoid

        I play an online game with a guy from Singapore and his Written English is better than most American kids, no clue about spoken English tho….

  • S O

    The Bazooka was no recoilless gun. It was a rocket launcher with a solid fuel rocket that burnt out in the tube.

    The German larger calibre knock-off Panzerschreck used lesser solid fuel that didn’t burn out, in the tube, so the user had to wear either a mask for protection or had to use a thin shield on the Panzerschreck.

  • MrMaigo

    I love lots of moving parts, they’re great fun to take apart and play with.

  • Wosiu

    These guys are probably serious. They are working on this technology about ten years and few years ago they even tested this technology with Polish made 100 mm gun of T-55 tank.

  • Kasper

    The punching analogy is wrong. It should be being hit with the same energy but over a longer time. Two hands compared to one fist is two different kinds of pressure, as the areas are completely different.

    Also, a bazooka is not a riffle. If the projectile is spinning, maybe it is a riffle, but the projectile is a rocket and propelling itself, with nothing pushing back at the soldier, so no, that is not a riffle.

    • W

      you were right kasper, the bazooka is smoothbore, thus it is not a rifle.

  • Mike

    Recoil mitigation isn’t exactly new to competition shooters. You should see what you can achieve with an AR using low mass components, a properly adjusted gas system and an effective muzzle brake.

  • Tux

    Based on the cg exploded pistol views, the barrel actually moves forward, which makes sense as that’s the part of the rifle they blur out in the video. I’d be less skeptical if they didn’t call it completely recoilless.

  • hi everyone,

    here is the company web site : http://www.rticl.com/

  • Steve

    Cool. I know they are shifting the internal mass of the rifle to offset the recoil. I have a feeling they are mixing the moving barrel concept with a gas powered weight attached to a coiled spring (the silver pod on the bottom front of the rifle).

    The real question is, can they drastically reduce recoil cheaply while maintaining minimum standards of accuracy, feeding reliability, and rifle weight desired today?

    If it’s too heavy, not reliable, overly complex, or expensive to field they won’t be selling much or redefining the modern firearm.

  • Lex

    Seems fake to me. When the gun recoils from the first test shot it moves back at a quick pace, then suddenly slows down, then speeds back up. Pixelating the gun is really strange too. We’ve already seen the gun, if the recoil control is on the outside we’ve seen it, if the recoil control is on the inside pixelation is unnecessary.

  • PCP

    The fact that they are blurring certain parts of the rifle each time it “shoots” is somewhat of a letdown. Well time to patent hunt…

    It’s probably a shifting mass not unlike the AK-107, but them there is a thousand and one ways to implement the same idea. I only hope they are not connecting the gas system directly with the counterweight, I think that is the reason why the 107 was somewhat of a floppy.

  • PCP

    Well… I expected more of them, but let’s see how it fares in the real world. They are apparently using a fancy blowback system mixed with DI with a forward moving barrel as their counterweight… without an extractor, ejector or a system to actually delay the blowback and keep the thing from blowing up. There also a variation in which the barrel recoils backward. Which is basically a long recoil system with a gas operated counterweight slides forward.

    In my opinion this system is overly complex for its proposed task, it verges on the super-burst systems in terms of complexity without their benefit. If you simply want to reduce recoil the Ultimax and AK-107 systems are a far better solution.

    http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6761102.pdf

    • Avery

      The whole thing reminds me of Russell Robinson’s Constant Reaction Gun. A lot of Robinson’s work was in firearms and shock absorbers and the CRG was both. The CRG demo he made for the Australians in 1943 was a .50 caliber machinegun that used counteracting springs so it would have the recoil of a .30 caliber SMLE. There’s supposedly a copy of the gun in the Springfield Armory and it wouldn’t surprise me if this “recoilless” is using the same mechanism.

      • Doesitmatter?

        Yes Avery, I also remember reading about it. There was picture of Russel R. holding 50BM over his shoulder bravely taking aim. That certainly documents, this is not exactly new issue.

        Sticking with 50 for a bit, this is admirably long living design, albeit with some substantal improvements. It was derived from Browning 1919 (in 30.06) and that one required booster to work. This is particularly interesting details when we attempt to the grasp problem in wider connection.

        Briefly said, I do not believe any military will seriously consider any new weapon design which will not have a SURPLUS of power to cycle the mechanism. It is also unlikely it will be willing to add any undue design complexity or maintenance requirement.

  • MrMann

    Not as far-fetched as one might at first think. Practical recoil reduction technology does exist. One such example is the McMillan TAC-50 A1-R2 system. Link: http://mcmillanusa.com/mcmillan-rifles-tactical-tac-50-a1-r2.php
    Completely recoilless, no; but impressive recoil reduction.

  • jaekelopterus

    It looks EXACTLY like a Croatian RT-20. My guess is that they invented this design by licensing it cheaply from a former soviet bloc country.

    • Doesitmatter?

      You have sereral errors in it. Firstly, former Yugoslavia was not ‘soviet bloc country’. Furthermore, there are and were designs pointing it same direction as the Chroatian device earlier. One such gun is Cuban (yes sireeee) Mambi in 14.5mmm, perfect medicine for helicopters. They had it with them on their ‘expeditions’ to Afrika and it is conceivable that South Africans were interested in it. If they did, I would be inclined to believe that great designer Tony Neophytou took notice. His designs are more widely known.

  • Lance

    Got to love the Recoilless Rifle more fun and bang to your buck. Despite fancy AT and guided missiles over the years the old M-3 solders on. Got to love that.

    • MrDakka

      Its cheap, reusable, reliable and rugged. You just can’t beat that

  • C3PO

    on the video, i think i see the guy who “manages” the recoil with his figure tips, he’s shaking his hand awfully fast immediately afterward, like it hurts. I think he may have confused recoil distance with recoil force, which isn’t to say one way or the other if it is “reduced” or if it is counteracted almost simultaneously.

  • Michael

    I smell a rat.

  • Doesitmatter?

    Recoil-less? Not to worry, nothing is ‘recoilless’, omly bazooka is. Yes, the force can be managed in some ‘tricky’ ways such as TAC-50 does or common M-brakes do. Everybody knows ills of those, right?

    Now, what would be smart, if someone used recoil impulse to unlock the action and do all those petty chores with it. In some cunning, controlled way, of course. That would eat up large portion of it and would not add much of junk. Does anyone know of anything like that? I do.

    • Doesitmatter?

      Just to add something to it, more as a hint. There is impulse per individual shot and depending on arrangement of breach it can be managed. But, if we have device firing in burst, that is different pot of tea altogether.

      Here we have ‘aggregated’ recoil to deal with. I remember seeing a diagram of burst impulse dissipation of MP5 many years ago, if showed that very clearly – there is a buildup. It all depends how quickly mechanism is abble to ‘discharge’ the force versus the rate of fire. This is just a part of hint – obviously, refering to semi-rigid locking; but that is just a small part. More is possible with conventional means.

    • Mike

      Use recoil impulse to run the action? You mean like John Browning thought up over a century ago? Like the Johnson Rifle back in the ’30s? Like Benelli still does today? Or most semi-automatic pistols?

      It still doesn’t really mitigate much recoil, and can have serious reliability issues. Throw a side saddle on one of the recoil-operated Benellis and let me know how well it functions. And a modern gas-operated semi auto shotgun will have better recoil characteristics than an old recoil-operated Browning.

      • Doesitmatter?

        Hi Mike; I am sorry I ovelooked your note and responded to Avery instead… it is basically the same I would have told you.

        You are absolutely right; there is always a point when you ask yourself, if you can do ‘little bettter’ in some particular aspect. In most cases is wiser to take small step back because, if you do you loose somewhere else. The guns you mentioned are not advised to be messed with. They are good and brought to that state after long periods of development.

        At the same time I suggest that not all possibilities with recoil operated mechanism were exploited yet. (see R.Robinson’s design as example). This was content of my former message.

  • Simon

    http://www.rticl.com/multimedia/Brochure-HQ/index.html
    Interesting video, doesn’t quite justify the aforementioned rifle however.

    • Doesitmatter?

      Thanks for video, it says it all; actually it is, if what we see is true (looks like an awful lot of money is behind this ad and that is suspicious on its own), same patent what Mr.Popenker has on his page. It is little complex true, but it builds working concept of opposing momenta and is, by its virtue – trivial.

      Now, let’s take a look at that extra gas impulse addition. Why would they need it? In pure, mass times velocity opposing system they should not have needed anything else. My interpretation is that this is to tune the system while having always a surplus of operating power. So, from that principle it is not and cannot be in reality always fully ballanced; henceforth ‘recoil-less’. To call it ‘diminished’ recoil would be fair description and if practically useable, is an achievement.

      However, this in my mind should not be neccessary as it poses additional problem: gas intrusion into mechanism and resulting maintenance requirement. This is less than ideal situation. We know that there were pistols with operating system based on gas-delay, such as Steyer GB (gas bremse). Another one was HK’s P7, as I believe. They vanished from market, so did most of roller locking guns and delay bar operated weapons seem to head the same destiny.

      There is nine ways how to skin the cat, they say. This is very much the same thing; I would not call it necessarily a ‘breakthrough’, but as an interesting diversion to worn-in routine, why not.