Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A rifle grenade is a type of explosive device that fits onto the muzzle of a rifle. When the rifle is fired, it launches the grenade as well, similar to a purpose-built grenade launcher. Some rifle grenades require a special adapter that fits on the muzzle of the rifle, while others can attach directly to the rifle's barrel. The grenades are powered by a firing a cartridge in the rifle, either a standard bullet which is trapped in the grenade to provide the power, or a special blank cartridge that provides gas to propel the grenade.
Often special sights are also provided that clamp onto the rifle to provide aiming for the grenade's particular ballistics. Since rifle grenades travel at very low velocities with very high trajectories, their range is measured in tens of yards (meters).
Rifle grenades were common during WWII but during the late 1970s they were replaced by desginated grenade launchers, that come as independent firearms (such as the M79 grenade launcher) or as a rifle attachment (such as the M203).
Today, there is a return to the concept of the rifle grenade, such as the M-16's SIMON wall breach grenade and the IMI Tavor's "Rephaim" advance grenade. Modern doctrine designates a certain percentage of grenadiers, or soldiers equipped with a grenade launcher or combination rifle/grenade launcher. The criticism of this doctrine is that if the grenadiers in a group are disabled or separated from the group, then the group has lost the grenade launching ability. With rifle grenades, each soldier would be equipped with a small number of grenades, so every individual could become a grenadier if needed.
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