RPGs With Forgotten Weapons…Because They’re Awesome!

RPGs. Who hasn’t considered getting their hands on one just once – once! – and unloading on something, be it a building, vehicle, or some other inanimate object. The appeal is certainly there, and although it cannot be considered forgotten, the RPG-7 recently found its way onto Forgotten Weapons’ YouTube channel.

The RPG-7 was designed in 1961 in the Soviet Union and is, of course, a shoulder-mounted, unguided rocket propelled grenade launcher. It’s a pretty straightforward weapon – simply aim at your intended target, and let ‘er rip – and the results tend to be quite satisfactory, which is probably which RPGs have remained popular for more than half a century now.

A few RPG-7 specs: it weighs in around 15 pounds and measures just over three feet in length. It as an approximate range of 1000 yards and covers that distance at a rate of about 115 meters per second. This is one cool weapon, and it isn’t often any of us get to handle one in person, so it’s understandable that Ian over at Forgotten Weapons jumped at the opportunity.

Best line of the video? Probably when Ian suggests you don’t stand behind the RPG while it’s being fired. Seems safe to say if you do it once you’d certainly never do it again…

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  • mechamaster

    The funny explanation parts ( more of the ‘dark-humor’ side joke.. sorry ) is the ‘safety cap’ story.. when ‘the guerrilla’ get tripped without safety cap installed in the warhead, and it’s exploded…

    • Zugunder

      I thought RPG-7 grenades aren’t supposed to go boom until actually fired.

      • mechamaster

        Well, maybe some of the older type grenade / rocket, or ‘cheap copy’ grenades are… But yes, it’s interesting story to hear ( from the technical point of view ).

      • Ron

        There is a set back arming safety in the PG-7 round. However, the production quality and QC of those rounds vary.
        Additionally, if handled roughly, say dropped from even the back of a 5T truck, there may be enough set back to arm the round.
        Back in 2003, 3 Marines died from 1st Battalion, 10th Marines when the RPG they were shooting detonated on firing.

  • Tassiebush

    I always enjoy Ian’s work but this would have to be one of the most fascinating ones he’s done just from the perspective of learning so much about something so ubiquitous yet there being relatively little coverage of it.

    • 6.5x55Swedish

      Yeah I don’t know how many times I have explained to people that the RPG-7 uses a rocket and is not a recoilless rifle like the CG.

      • Ron

        Some of the rounds are rocket assisted, some of the round like OG-7 APERS rounds are recoilless

        • Ken

          And even the rocket ones are kicked out by a booster charge first before the rocket kicks in.

        • 2wheels

          I think the OG-7 is the only exception to the rule in the PG-7 line.

      • Tassiebush

        I’d wondered for ages about the primer set up.

      • 2wheels

        Funny, with me it’s the other way around. Most people I’ve met know that the RPG fires a rocket (because they incorrectly believe RPG means rocket propelled grenade) and assume that the Carl G and the AT-4 are also rockets, when in fact they are definitely not.

      • Jean Luc Picard

        Technically any rocket launcher is a kind of a recoilless rifle
        The Gustaf is both a rocket launcher and a recoilless rifle.
        It just depends on what you shoot with it, some rounds are just shells while others are rocket propelled.
        But since I read about the OG-7 round the RPG 7 is the same then.
        They are both very versatile weapons so I guess …

      • Mikial

        Correct. It is a rocket and anyone who says differently just has no experience with them.

  • M

    Can someone link me to Ian’s discussion of the dragunov he was referring to in the video?

    • Jean Luc Picard

      I think it was a video about designated marksman rifles and the philosophy behind that, the type of combat it involved and all that.
      I think it’s on youtube at forgotten weapons channel in there.

  • Ron

    Good presentation, there are a few not quite right items in it but I think that has to do with the somewhat esoteric nature of RPGs in the US, since most people never have had the chance to train with them

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    My girlfriend keeps asking me what I want for Christmas and I think can answer now.

    • ostiariusalpha

      And if you trip with it while on board a yacht, you can fulfill all your fantasies in one fell swoop.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Id use it on annoying jet skiers.

        • Tassiebush

          Keep the landing net handy too. If you miss them it’d be good to scoop up the fish and an innocent explanation of why you fired one in their direction.

  • Robert L. Rice

    I fired a captured
    RPG many times in Vietnam,great weapon,bad news for a vehicle,or anyone standing behind it when fired,.

    • gunsandrockets

      B-40? or RPG-7?

  • Spade

    So an RPG can use a training rocket that fires a 7.62×39 and 7.62×39 will take down a deer…

    • iksnilol



      • Tassiebush

        I remember hearing about the rockets being used on hippos. Apparently the person shot the front end and retrieved meat from the back end.

    • gunsandrockets

      Yeah, that was really cool. I’d heard of a 23mm subcaliber training device, but never a 7.62x39mm one.

  • No Debt

    No Magpul furniture?

    • mechamaster

      You mean.. the Airtronic RPG version ?

  • iksnilol

    “Who hasn’t considered getting their hands on one just once – once! – and unloading on something, be it a building, vehicle, or some other inanimate object.”

    Considering the people in my life one rocked isn’t nearly enough. :/

    Note to NSA and federales: It’s a joke, even though I don’t like, like 95% of the people I know.

    • I got to play with one once upon a time but I didn’t get to fire it–darn! Suckers kinda heavy.

      • iksnilol

        But it must be handy, being able to reuse it and use different warheads.

  • Ron

    The cap is there to protect the tip of the fuze in tansit, it does not need to be remove nor does the safety clip for the round to function on impact

    • BattleshipGrey

      Thanks for clarifying.

  • BillC

    He got so many things wrong on this one.

  • gunsandrockets

    RPG-2 is smaller and only half as heavy loaded, so seems like a better general purpose weapon. RPG-7 is obsolete as anti-tank weapon anyway.

    • 2wheels

      The RPG-2 was replaced for a reason, it sucked.

      And the RPG-7 is far from obsolete, especially with modern warheads.

      • gunsandrockets

        RPG-7 have a top-attack warhead?

        • BillC

          Don’t be daft. With the RPG-7 it’s a cost to results ratio. You can use a number of warheads, from tandem (that means two in a row) shape-charges to thermobaric (that means heat and pressure) charges, all on the same system. It remains “dumb and conventional” for a reason.

          • gunsandrockets

            Defending the RPG-7 as an effective anti-tank system in todays environment, even for a mass conscript army, is lunacy. The simple slat cage used on Stryker vehicles defeat the simplistic RPG-7. Even used as a last ditch short range defense, targeting the side or rear of a tank, there are lighter and better options today than the RPG-7.

            It is a simple question of cost to results ratio. The payoff the RPG-7 provides as an anti-tank weapon is not worth the cost in weight the infantry must bear.

            The fame the RPG-7 has today is not from use as an anti-tank weapon, but instead as a light general purpose weapon used against fortifications, light vehicles, and concentrations of troops. That fame resulted from three virtues of the RPG-7: it’s portable, it’s cheap and it’s powerful. None of those virtues the RPG-7 enhanced over the RPG-2, just the opposite in fact.

            The essential advantage the RPG-7 does have over the RPG-2 is in hitting a moving target, because of the shorter flight time and flatter trajectory of the RPG-7. As a handheld launcher firing a fin stabilized rocket, the RPG-7 isn’t any more accurate than the RPG-2, it just has a faster flying projectile. That advantage was important in 1961 when the RPG-7 replaced the RPG-2 as a vital infantry anti-tank weapon, but that advantage is largely irrelevant today.

          • Aimz

            The RPG-7 with the tandem warhead will cut right through the armor cage on the Stryker. The thermobaric and FAE rounds are more than capable of destroying small rooms and structures. Please take a look at the various warheads available before calling the RPG irrelevant

          • gunsandrockets

            Tandem HEAT warheads are designed to defeat reactive armor. Perhaps you might explain the mechanism by which a tandom HEAT warhead defeats spaced armor like the slat cage.

          • The Brigadier

            Your right and the Russians are responsible for this weapon in the hands of criminals and terrorists all over the world. If I had God’s power, removing this weapon from the world would be on my Day 1 list of things to do.

        • 2wheels

          Uh… No.

          Because it’s not an ATGM, and it never will be. That would defeat the point, because nobody can afford to issue every rifle squad the equivalent of something like a Javelin ATGM. Even when it was designed the RPG-7 was only meant to complement Soviet ATGMs and MBTs at short ranges, not be their primary tank killer.

          You think the only way to attack a modern main battle tank is from directly in front of it? You think there aren’t any softer armored targets on the battlefield? Say… MRAPs? APCs and IFVs?

          And as I said, the RPG-2 sucks. The added range and versatility of the RPG-7 system has far outweigh any size and weight advantages the RPG-2 may have.

          • gunsandrockets

            Sarcasm is wasted on you.

  • gunsandrockets

    The forehead brace was interesting. Seems like something that could be useful on scopes of high recoiling hunting rifles too!

  • smartacus

    hey! diss haz nutn to do with Role Playing Games!

  • Fegelein

    الله أكبر

  • John McPherson

    Ian usually gets the facts right but on this one no. The rounds have multiple safety features to prevent premature detonation. I suspect the lure of the combat tales of veterans was just too good to pass on. I actually am quite impressed with the thoughtfulness of the mechanism of this round. I can also say that having fired the 3.5 bazooka round several times that behind the tube is no place to stand. At close range one can easily be killed. We did manage to get hits on 2.5 ton trucks at 400 meters with relative ease but no combat stress on the practice ranges. Keep up the good work Ian but do your research well.

  • Scot168

    Very good, enjoyed the information on the workings of the RPG

  • 2ThinkN_Do2

    Too bad they didn’t really fire a ROCKET, though it was still interesting, the ending was a let down . . . .

  • Mikial

    When I was doing private security convoy escort work in Iraq, we always carried at least one RPG with us on missions, if for no other reason to detonate IEDs. Once, when on a return from escorting a convoy of sensitive items going from the US military to Iraqi security forces up hear the Syrian border, we came upon a spot where a US Army patrol had stopped traffic because they had spotted an IED made from several arty rounds on the road ahead. This was in 2004 and the terrorists weren’t especially sophisticated about the way they emplaced them back then.

    They were shooting at it with w Ma-Duce trying to either detonate it or at least break it up so they could pass. We offered them the RPG, and since for some unknown reason, they had no LAWs along, they took it and blasted the IED enough that it was no longer a threat. They were a little surprised we had it, but didn’t seem to care where we got it, and it all ended well as we all went about our business. They had to wait for their EOD team to arrive, but we got home before dark. Always a good thing.

  • Eric Blatter

    I’ve fired the LAW and the AT4. The RPG has nothing better than fancy sights and it’s reloadable. Big deal. I don’t believe it is anymore accurate.

  • The Brigadier

    RPGs are the bane of the modern world and its fitting the NAZIs were defeated right after introducing the Panzerfaust. Its too bad the world couldn’t have done it before this weapon from hell was introduced.