5RAR Association Website


M79 Grenade Launcher

M79 Grenade Launcher

Pte Gary Townsend C Company 5RAR Firing the M79 Grenade Launcher
Pte. Gary Townsend, C Company 5RAR practice firing the M79 on the firing range inside the 5RAR perimeter at Nui Dat

The M79 is a 40 x 46 mm grenade launcher that first appeared during the Vietnam war. Commonly known as the "Thump-Gun", "Thumper", or "Blooper" in US service, it is also known to some Australian units as the "Wombat Gun".

Resembling a sawn-off shotgun, the grenade launcher was designed as a close-support weapon for the infantry. It plugged the gap between the maximum throwing distance of a hand grenade and the lowest range of supporting mortars. The M79 was a single shot, shoulder-fired weapon which broke open for loading into the breech. It fired a 40 mm grenade and had a killing range of 5 metres. Its weight loaded, was 3Kg, with a muzzle velocity of 75 metres per second and a maximum range of 400 metres.

Type: Grenade launcher
Weight: 8.10 kg (17.81 lbs)
Length: 737 mm (29 in)
Barrel length: 355 mm
Cartridge: 40 mm grenade
Action: Single shot, breech loaded Rate of fire: Single shot
Effective range: 50-300 metres
Feed system: Single shot, breech loaded
Sights: Iron sight
Muzzle Velocity: 75 metres per second
Radius: Enough explosive within a steel casing that upon impact with the target would produce over 300 fragments at 1,524 metres per second within a lethal radius of up to 5 metres.
Arming Device: Stabilised in flight by the spin imparted on it by the rifled barrel, the grenade rotated at 3,700rpm, this in turn after approximately 15 meters of flight armed the grenade.

40mm round for the M79 Grenade Launcher
40mm HE (High Explosive) Round