Portable DESTRUCTION: Ukrainian Firm Develops Handheld Automatic Grenade Launcher

    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.


    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. He can be reached via email at [email protected]