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M79



Overview


M79

Right side view of M79 grenade launcher with leaf side in raised position.
Source: US Air Force - © Public domain

Origin
United States
Type
Grenade launcher
Entered service
1961
Status
Limited service
Development
1953 - 1960
Developer
United States - Springfield Armory
Production
1961 - 1971 (US production)
Producer
United States - Springfield Armory
South Korea - Daewoo
Vietnam - Z125 factory
Number produced
Well over 350.000
Designations
KM79 (South Korean production
SLP40 (Vietnamese production)
M79-VN (Vietnamese service)
Thumper (US nickname)
Blooper (US nickname)
Wombat gun (Australian nickname)

Description


Introduction

The M79 is a grenade launcher of US origin. It was designed to provide infantry with explosive firepower filling the between the maximum range of hand grenade and minimum range of the light mortar. The M79 was first used during the Vietnam war and proved effective. The M79 has become an iconic firearm. It remains the grenade launcher by which others are judged, even though it has become obsolete.

Design

The M79 is a very simple weapon and resembles a sawed off shotgun. The M79 is breech loaded by disengaging the barrel lock after which the barrel will drop down due to gravity and a round can be inserted. As a break open weapon rounds of any length can be inserted. The adjustable leaf sight is mounted on the barrel and can be flipped down when it is not in use.

Firepower

The M79 is a single shot grenade launcher that fires the 40x46mm low velocity round. Besides the standard high explosive fragmentation rounds there is a wide selection of other rounds available. These include short range flechette and buckshot rounds, marker and smoke rounds and non-lethal rounds such as tear gas. An experienced operator can fire 6 rounds per minute. The M79 proved to be very accurate. Point targets can be engaged out to 150 m and area targets out to 400 m.

Users

The M79 was widely used by US forces during the Vietnam war. It was eventually replaced by the M203, but was issued as a standard issue weapon until the late 1980's. The M79 was also exported in large quantities. Several nations have adopted it as a standard issue weapon, while many others acquired it for use by special units.

Details


Facts M79
General
Origin
United States
Type
Grenade launcher
Caliber
Caliber
40x46mm NATO
Feed system
Single shot
Barrel length
356 mm
Muzzle velocity
76 m/s
Operation
Action
Breech loaded, break open
Rate of fire
Single shot
6 rpm practical
Dimensions
Stock type
Fixed wooden stock
Length
731 mm
Weight
2.93 kg loaded
2.7 kg empty
Sights
Mechanical
Iron sights, blade front and adjustable leaf rear
Range adjustment
75 to 375 m gradations

Media