Portable DESTRUCTION: Ukrainian Firm Develops Handheld Automatic Grenade Launcher

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How much firepower can you hold in your hands? Quite a lot, according to Kiev-based Precision Systems, who has developed a handheld automatic 30mm grenade launcher capable of dispensing five 30x29mm grenades quickly when used by just a single individual. News of this assault-rifle-sized automatic grenade gun was first published in the Anglosphere by ISH Jane’s:

Kiev-based company Precision Systems has developed a new, handheld version of the Russian-made KBP AGS-17 30 mm automatic grenade launcher, which was displayed for the first time at Ukraine’s AviaSvit/Arms and Security show, held in Kiev from 11 to 14 October.

Speaking to IHS Jane’s at the show, company officials said this handheld variant, designated the RGSh30, was developed “in order to create a grenade launcher that could respond to the needs of Ukrainian units and special forces operating in the Donbas”. They added that this smaller and more portable derivative of the Russian model has the virtue of being able to be carried and operated by small, manoeuvrable groups of combatants. Despite its small size and reduced barrel length, the RGSh30 is reported to have an effective range of 1,600 m.

The weapon has a small clip that holds just five VOG-17 30 mm grenades in comparison with the 30-round magazine of the AGS-17, but the “concept of this weapon is to be able to fire small numbers of rounds to disable a BTR [Russian-made armoured personnel carrier] or other armoured vehicles at close quarters. It has the advantage over the Russian design in that it does not have to be mounted on a pylon in a fixed location but can be carried around just like an assault rifle,” said a company representative.

Jane’s reports that the new grenade launcher is based on the Russian AGS-17, but I doubt that. Very little of its action appears to be shared with the Russian tripod-mounted grenade machine gun, and the two weapons are completely different in size, role, and feed mechanisms (the AGS-17 is belt-fed). It is not yet clear whether the RGSh30 is semiautomatic only, or select-fire. Unlike its tripod-mounted counterpart, the AGS-17 (and other grenade machine guns), the RGSh30 is designed to be fired by an individual in the standing position, and used much like the Milkor MGL revolving grenade launcher.

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The RGSh30. Image source: warspot.ru

 

The RGSh30 is just the latest handheld explosive projector weapon of the 21st Century. It follows the American 25mm XM25 “Punisher” smart airbursting grenade launcher, and the South African Neopup/Inkunzi PAW-20 20mm grenade launcher. (Would-be designers of new small individual grenade launchers take note: It is apparently a requirement that your weapon has to include the caliber of shell it fires in its name!)

Thanks to Kevin for the tip!



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • Petto

    New Metro game’s rifle?

    it doesn’t look that thing works , it looks like Movie replica of something cool to see

    • Dougscamo

      Where’s the ejection port and charger? I’m with you…I’ve looked and looked and can’t figure it out….not that I claim to be even marginally familiar with a weapon of this type…

      • iksnilol

        IIRC, the Russian 30mm is caseless in a sense. entire thi gamajig gets launched. No separate grenade and case.

        • Mr Mxyzptlk

          No, the VOG-17 grenades have a traditional steel case so it would need a way to eject cases. Either it is long recoil and currently locked back, it is blow forward, or it is a slide forward pump action. My guess is the latter, as I cannot think of a way that the forward grip would not be in the way of the moving barrel for the other two possibilities.

  • Mr Mxyzptlk

    Aside from, the ammunition, I doubt this has anything in common with the AGS-17. The AGS-17 is a straight blowback weapon firing from an open bolt, which I doubt would be possible in a weapon light enough to be carried and fired from the shoulder. Rather than having a massive bolt with a long travel the rear of this looks pretty compact, so I assume that it fires from a locked breech. Based on the odd arrangement of the barrel my guess is that it is short recoil.

    Actually, on writing this and looking at it more, do we know that it is even automatic? To me it looks like it may actually be a pump action where the barrel slides forward and picks up a round from the front of the magazine like the South African Neostead or Russian RMB-93 shotguns.

    • 🐒👊

      It also looks like it may have a really heavy trigger pull. Pivoting at the top and double finger pads.

      • Flechette

        I noticed the same thing.

    • DanGoodShot

      I see pump action.

  • DW

    Briefcase of death!

  • Major Tom

    Full auto? Yes please.

  • Kevin Harron

    Woot~! 😀 Dubious of the 1600m range claim myself.Also not sure I’d want to fire it with my hand on the forgrip without gloves on

    • micmac80

      That is the range of the round from the AGS17 ,30mm round is quite fast but AGS17 is like wild bucking rodeo machine so i have my doubts in regards to this.

  • Matrix3692

    How do we shoot this in full auto without serious bruising on the shoulders?

    • 11b

      Drink vodka like Ukranian man. Don’t be of woman.

      • Russ Kell

        да, Товарищ.

  • Avery

    A gun made specifically for cyborgs, both the fictional and Ukrainian kind.

    The thing does look like something from a movie.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Doesnt look auto or even semi auto. Wear marks on the barrel looks like the barrel moves forward to accept each new round.

    • I assumed it was blow-foward.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Wonder if it could have been made a bolt action with fewer moving parts?

      • noob

        I wonder if there is any space in the design to add airburst fuse programming hardware

    • Robert Rodriguez

      It could be like a Boys Anti-Tank Rifle in that the recoil just resets the trigger? Possibly?

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Dont ask me dude. I barely know what im looking at.

  • Kevin Harron

    After looking at the handle, and the way it is attached, I’m almost certain that it is pump action.

    • By the dimensions, it is also likely a pump-forward design.

    • I was assuming blow-forward. Multiple sources say it is “automatic”, although whether that’s supposed to mean semi auto only or select fire, I don’t know (I suspect the former, obviously, but crazier things have been designed).

      • Raven

        Maybe a recoiling-barrel thing like the GM6 Lynx? Shown on display with the barrel locked to the rear?

        • Mr Mxyzptlk

          It could be long recoil and locked back, but the problem with that is that for the barrel to travel forwards the shoulder on it would hit the ring for the vertical grip before the back of the barrel is level with the front of the mag.

          As for the idea that it is blow forward, the same problem applies whereby either the barrel shoulder would hit the VFG before the case is fully extracted, or the VFG has to move with the barrel and breaks the firers wrist.

          Something else to bear in mind, where is the bolt handle? As it doesn’t have one it must be the VFG, and unless it is a pump action this would make the gun very unreliable.

          • Actually, I don’t think we know the internal contour of that bracket the VFG is hanging off of. The hexagonal portion of the barrel might slip under it.

            Could be charged by the VFG, plenty of automatic weapons are designed that way.

    • toms

      Remember VOG grenades are caseless so no ejection is necessary.
      This company also makes a superlight machine gun in 40mm and 30mm

      • Mr Mxyzptlk

        No they aren’t. The VOG-25 for the GP-25 underslung launcher is caseless, but the VOG-17 that this fires have a traditional steel case. That is why there are ejection ports on both the AGS-17 (on the bottom) and the later AGS-30 (on the side).

        • toms

          I am aware of the differences, I just did not expect a shoulder fired weapon to shoot vog17 round and assumed it was a typo. I have shot a ags-17 and it has a lot of recoil even in a 60lb tripod mounted weapon. I assumed it was the under barrel vog-25. But then again it would have to be the vog17 to take on a BMP. Vog25 rounds in Ukrainian inventory are not AP like US HEDP. Just HE, smoke and bouncers. I still don’t think that weapon could handle a 17 round unless it weighs 50 lbs. They have been messing with the chinese grenades there as well and maybe it uses one of them.

  • Penghulu Manuk Manchal

    BURN THE HERETIC
    KILL THE MUTANT
    PURGE THE UNCLEAN

  • “Dmitri! Quickly! The Plant Manager is coming and we already spent the R&D budget on vodka and the worst cigarettes in Europe– wire a bunch of loose drill press parts together and we’ll tell him it’s a grenade launcher!”

    Looks to me like this is a forward-pump design; the way that VFG is mounted and the way it attaches to a moving bar above the barrel looks like the launcher is reloaded by tilting the VFG and pumping it forward/back to cycle the action.

    • Dougscamo

      Okay…starting to see the action…and the method of ejection…and if I look hard enough, I can see the swimming dolphins or Statue of Liberty like in those dot pictures that had hidden images that used to be so popular that required you to cross your eyes or something…

  • USMC03Vet

    That is really going to take out BTR’s?

    • iksnilol

      I imagine 5 nades to the engine or wheels will ruin its day

    • Uniform223

      A single shot at the rear with a HE round… was always told/trained that the BTR has an exposed fuel tank. I would guess multiple hits from HE rounds would seriously damage or disable, assuming its a bare BY without ERA tiles. An M72 LAW is enough to give a BTR a bad day with a single well placed shot.

      • Chris

        M72 penatrates 300mm + of plate…so yeah !

  • JustAHologram

    It does seem slimer than the Milkor MGL

  • iksnilol

    Nice. You do you, Ukraine.

  • A bearded being from beyond ti

    Bulktown

  • “Concept of this weapon is to be able to fire small numbers of rounds to disable a BTR [Russian-made armoured personnel carrier] or other armoured vehicles at close quarters.”

    Can a shoulder fired 30mm/40mm grenade actually disable or even seriously damage a BTR or similar armored vehicle?

    • Ren

      Pretty sure that claim is just an attempt at marketing hype.

      Most BTRs have somewhat vulnerable wheels, at least. Data on 30mm grenade versions is sketchy in the ‘anglosphere’. I’m not aware of any 30/40mms that could reliably crack a modern BTR’s armor – it could be a thing.

      I suppose making it stationary is more-or-less good enough, at least then the RPGs have a decent chance at landing a hit and destroying it fully. I suspect that it’ll never see use in that role outside an emergency – looks more like an armed police / counter-terrorist unit weapon.

      • Mr Mxyzptlk

        I imagine that a HEAT grenade in this calibre could easily penetrate a BTR. They only have armour that is about 10mm thick and the western equivelent of this grenade (M430 from a Mk 19) can penetrate about 50mm or armour plate.

        • Ren

          Probably the basic level of armor in the right place since it’s rated only to 14.5mm rounds, yes, but the more modern BTRs do have up-armor kits available, spall liners etc.

          I wouldn’t like to have to bet on it either way, as shooter or target.

    • User

      There are reports about a somalian fat woman got shot with 40mm still walking. I dont imagine it really will to something to an BTR, its energy is too scattered as particles in every direction rather than focused at one small point.

      And thinking about weight of this strange designed ugly as sin thing, and the trajectory i would MUCH rather have an M25 airburst with automatic zero and flatter trajectory.

    • Robert Rodriguez

      The standard grenades in inventory for grenade launchers in US inventory have the designation of HEDP(High Explosive, Dual Purpose) which means that they have a shaped charge in the nose of the grenade for anti-armor use, up to 40-50mm of penetration, and a fragmentation body for anti-personnel use.

  • AHill

    Magpul and Lancer mags (and custom anti tilt followers and magpuls) for it when?

  • Sasquatch

    Dat muzzle blast…..

  • nova3930

    full auto grenade launchers….when you wanna kill EVERY last #$(*&#$)*@#$ way over there

  • Konflict7993

    Inb4 COD devs

    • Anomanom

      I was just thinking that this will end up in a Cod game.

  • LCON

    Damn It EASTERN Europe DO YOu WANT WARHAMMER? BEcause this is How you get Warhammer

    • Mazryonh

      Another small step towards the iconic Warhammer 40k Space Marine Boltgun.

  • John

    >”It is not yet clear whether the RGSh30 is semiautomatic only, or select-fire.”

    I’d venture it’s semi-auto only. 5 rounds magazine and all that. But it’s neat. The French were making a “dumb-fire” bullpup grenade launcher that TFB reported on; this looks like it’s inspired by that.

  • karmicforce01

    The ultimate Tshirt cannon?

  • karmicforce01

    Those of you who play Xcom 2… looks similar to Grenadier’s weapon.

  • vwVwwVwv

    no idea what its good for to make such a short one
    but i wuld give a lot to get my hands on one.

  • Audie Bakerson

    40×46 version when?

  • Martin Grønsdal

    if you look closely at the trigger guard, the extension forward doesn’t seem to be attached to the forward grip. Maybe some sort of swiveling motion, or lever action?

  • Kivaari

    1600m is doubtfull. That is more like the AGS17 which is like the Mk19, too powerful to shoot from the shoulder. I’d bet this uses the same rounds as the AK mounted launcher, and that wont reach 1600m.