The M79 Grenade Launcher almost looks like something that belongs in another place and time, especially given the list of nicknames that it earned in its name. American Forces that carried the M79 (predominantly through the Vietnam War) variously called it the “Thumper,” “Blooper,” “The 79,” the “Thump Gun,” or even the “Elephant Gun.” Soldiers also commonly referred to the 40mm grenades it fired as “Eggs.”
This latter designation was no doubt a reference to the 40x46mm grenades this shoulder-fired grenade launcher was designed around. These “Eggs” used a High-Low Propulsion System with low-pressure propellant to help manage the recoil generated from the heavy rounds. They were developed in a variety of configurations, including but not limited to HE and AB (High Explosive and Airburst shells), S (Smoke), G (Gas), and even TB (Thermobaric) rounds. Illumination rounds have also been developed for this platform.
The M79 Grenade Launcher is a single shot, break open shoulder-fired weapon that was developed as an attempt to expand the volume of fire-power that could be carried by infantry. Though it had a relatively low rate of fire (dependent on the speed and training of the operator), it was more portable than mortars and had a better range than rifle grenades.
Its simple break action operation and ease of use and maintenance made it quickly popular among United States servicemen in the 1960s. While it was used effectively during the Vietnam War, its slow rate of fire made it difficult to employ effectively against a highly mobile enemy that was capable of returning a high rate of fire. While it has been used by U.S. Army Special Forces in recent years, the M79 has been replaced by the M203, which can be mounted to an M16.
Our collection of M79 parts includes stocks, bandoliers, sights, a wide variety of hardware, and more. Check out our collection and contact us if you have any questions!