After maybe the AK family, no other weapon platform has as much impact on non-Western warfare than the humble RPG-7. Introduced in 1961 by the Soviet Union, the weapon can be used as poor man’s indirect artillery (guerrillas have adapted the RPG to launch 82mm mortar rounds), anti-amour, anti-personal or even as a bunker buster depending on the ammunition used. It punches far above its weight. If the weapon had not cemented itself in the mind of the Western public by the end of the Cold War, the downing of the two Blackhawk helicopters by RPGs in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1993 did the trick.
A few years ago when Airtronic USA, a company that used to make electronic medical products and more recently M203 grenade launchers, announced they would be manufacturing an RPG-7, I was skeptical to say the least. The Airtronic RPG-7 features quad picatinny rails, an M4 stock, an AR-15 pistol grip, a picatinny fore grip (mounted at the rear, so really it is a rear grip), flip up backup iron sights and support for red dot sights. After actually handling the RPG-7 I realized that was a ergonomic system and the M4 accessories were not just gimmicks.
Airtronic RPG-7 Specifications
Weight: 14 Pounds without furniture
Length: 37.4 inches
Trigger Group: Single Action
Launch Tube: 4140/4150 ordnance grade barrel steel (NO CASTINGS)
Sight: Flip-up BUIS on Picatinny Rail
Maximum Range: 1,000 Meters
Effective Range: 250-500 Meters (depends on round)
Safety Distance: Back 15-20 Meters
Muzzle Velocity: 110-140 Meters per second (depending on the round)
Life Expectancy: 1,000 Rounds
Ammunition: Backwards compatible with all existing rockets
Warranty: Two year limited for defects in material and workmanship
That said, I was still skeptical that Airtronic’s would be able to sell a premium version of the RPG-7. Last year they announced they were ready to take orders for the RPG-7. Judging by the photo at the top of this post, which was taken this week, it did not take them long to find customers. The photo shows the Peruvian Army Special Forces at a military parade to commemorate country’s 192nd independence anniversary. The solider in the center is carrying a Airtronic RPG-7 with a EOTech sight mounted on the top rail.