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The Handheld Rocket Launchers No One Talks About Anymore

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There are few things cooler than guns — except rocket launchers. What happens when you combine a typical firearm with a rocket launcher? Well, that’s something on a whole new level of awesome!

While it isn’t quite as interesting as the gun that shoots rocket-propelled ammunition that was developed by a researcher in the 1960s, the Gyrojet brings some added excitement to the conversation around firearms. The U.S. Armed Forces have been using shoulder-fired rockets and recoilless rifles for many years as a way to rout enemies and cause serious devastation. There are some limitations to technology such as the Gyrojet, but the concept of having a handheld rocket launcher is so compelling that you can’t help but be intrigued.

What is the Gyrojet?

Not technically a rifle or a rocket launcher, the Gyrojet is a lightweight case that serves as the launching point for miniature rockets.

The weapon has an extremely simple firing mechanism and only a few moving parts, but is able to push out a rocket that is purported to work underwater or even in outer space — making it the ideal option for any upcoming trip to Mars. Unfortunately, the handheld rocket launcher has some limitations, such as the extremely low initial muzzle velocity. While a traditional weapon may fire a bullet at up to 1,200 feet per second, the Gyrojet will only expel rockets moving at a measly 100 feet per second. The rockets do speed up over time, and can cause a significant amount of damage when they hit.

Bullets v. Rockets

Which one is better, bullets or rockets?

While bullets are the best option for close work as they move rapidly out of the barrel, rockets are better for odd applications. Rockets tend to be inaccurate, even with ported exhaust tubes to help induce a spin for stability during flight. Bullets tend to leave behind a fair bit of debris inside a weapon over time, requiring ongoing cleaning to ensure that the weapon continues to fire. Rockets are purported to be much cleaner and the simpler firing mechanism reduces the need for maintenance and cleaning.

Next-Gen Handheld Rocket Launchers

The Gyrojet is unlikely to come back into favor, but handheld weapons that have a great deal of power are under constant consideration by the U.S. military. Shoulder-fired 66mm rocket launchers are a larger version of the Gyrojet concept, and are much more accurate and available. The Vietnam-era M72 rocket launcher is one of the weapons that continues to stand the test of time, and will be reintroduced within the military with several variations in the future. The simple new solutions are a combination of rocket and launcher all in one, and only weigh 10 pounds or less. The disposable units are made for troops on the go, and have all the power that you would expect from a portable rocket.

While you may never be fortunate enough to find a Gyrojet, you might be surprised to see how closely the devices resemble a traditional rifle. This small-scale rocket launcher was one of the first of many options that allowed people to experiment with expansive firepower in a compact size.

Watch the video below to see the Gyrojet in action!

~ Ready to Fire News


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