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Difference Between Bazooka and RPG

Bazooka vs RPG

Bazookas and RPGs, or Rocket-Propelled Grenades, are also known as tankbuster weapons. Both of them can effectively put a tank out of commission. These two terms are commonly used in the military, and feared by tank veterans because of their destructive power.

Children and teenagers get to know bazookas and RPG through television shows and computer games which exemplify them as the explosive weapons which can be used to eliminate the bad guys. When one watches the news, no military outfit is complete without soldiers lugging a bazooka or RPG, which serves as their fighting chance against armored vehicles. What most people don’t know, however, is that bazookas and RPGs are different from one another for two reasons. The first reason has to do with which came first. The bazooka is the first-ever tankbuster weapon, developed during World War II by the Armed Forces of the United States. It was a standard tankbuster weapon of the Allied forces, and used a HEAT or High-Explosive Anti-Tank shell as ammunition.

After World War II, the bazooka was also used in the Korean War and other conflicts which involved the United States. The first bazooka was formally known as the M1 Rocket Launcher. It was continuously improved and renamed through the years, spawning nine other versions. Examples of the other versions are the M20 A1B1 Super Bazooka, M25 Three Shot Bazooka, and the RL-83 Blindicide.

The RPG, on the other hand, was first developed by the Russians. The second difference of the bazooka and RPG is how they deliver their payload. The payload, or rocket ammunition of the bazooka is stored in the rear end of the inner chamber. The RPG, on the other hand, has its payload at the front end, outside of the inner chamber. The most popular RPG is called the RPG-7, which was developed at the end of World War II. The RPG-7’s structural design was a combination of the United States-manufactured bazooka and the German-made tankbuster called Panzerfaust. The RPG consists of only two parts: the launcher part, and the rocket itself. Like the bazooka, the RPG relies on HEAT rockets. The rockets are propelled at high velocity because the RPG launcher part, comprised of a tight tube, is designed to trap pressure exerted by rocket exhaust.

Unlike the bazooka which has an exhaust port at the rear end, the RPG traps and later dissipates exhaust into the tube launcher. Because of the popularity of both bazookas and RPGs, war manufacturers developed several countermeasures against these two weapons. Sturdy cage armors were fitted to armored vehicles In order to protect against explosive projectiles of tankbusters. This anti-tankbuster outfit is still popular nowadays. There are also active countermeasures against rockets, called APS or Active Protection System, which destroys the rocket before it comes into close contact with the armored vehicle.


1. The bazooka and RPG are both tankbusters. They specialize in piercing through armored plating, and carry a lot of explosive firepower.

2. The bazooka was developed first before the RPG. The bazooka was first manufactured by the United States, and used during World War II.

3. The RPG, on the other hand, was conceptualized by the Russians, and inspired by the designs of the bazooka and the German Panzerfaust.

4. The major difference between bazookas and RPGs is how they deliver their payload.

5. The bazooka stores its payload in an inner chamber, by the rear end of the tube. The RPG’s payload is at the front, and is not stored at the inner chamber. The inner chamber of the RPG is used to trap exhaust pressure and propel the payload at great speed.

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1 Comment

  1. I see this perpetuated everywhere I go.
    The ‘RPG’ is no specific subset of a rocket launcher. It’s just a rocket launcher. “Rocket Propelled Grenade” is also an incorrect backronym of the term, which is actually the Russian for “Handheld Anti-tank Grenade”. The RPG-7, 22, 28, 29, 30 and 32 are all still referred to as ‘Handheld Anti-tank Grenade” because of the original RPG-40, 43 and 6 – which were actual grenades thrown at the enemy tanks. Because the Russians like their consistency, they continued naming their anti-tank systems as ‘RPG’, because it was doctrinally identical.
    The ‘Grenade’ portion of the term presumably carries over from the fact that the warhead composition is functionally identical to that of the older, thrown grenades in being HEAT-type.

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