Talk:M72 LAW

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Progression from the Bazooka?[edit]

If the LAW is a single use weapon, isn't this a disadvantage as compared to the original Bazooka (granted it does not leave a smoke trail and has no recoil)? I think there should be mention of the reasoning of this change in the article.

I think that would be better put into an article on infantry anti-tank weapons and the change in personal infantry anti-tank weapons from mostly reloadable, to a very high percentage of disposable weapons, and then back again recently. The M72 replaced the M20A1/M20A1B1 "Super-Bazooka" which had itself replaced the M9A1 Bazooka. The M72 was then replaced with another disposable weapon, the M136. However, in the United States military, a return to heavier weapons, such as the Mk 153 Mod 0 SMAW and the Carl Gustav M3 show that perhaps the disposable trend may be in the process of being reversed.

Sure, go ahead.
Also, why does the title say the weapon is a LAW but in the article it says the weapon is a Light Anti :Armor Weapon (LAAW)? Dilbert 02:30, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
According to US Army TM 9-1340-214-10, it is a Light Antitank Weapon (LAW) system, so I changed it, because this is straight from the manual. There is no mention of the LAAW acronym in the manual talking specifically about the M72. Thatguy96 21:54, 26 January 2006
It was known as the LAW (Light Anti-Tank Weapon) when I was at West Point in 1971. Perhaps the Marines had a different name for it. anyoneis 18:50, 7 May 2014 (UTC)

Why is it Disposable?[edit]

What's the point of a disposable rocket launcher? Doesn't it cost more money and isn't it more convenient to have a reloadable weapon like an RPG-7? 08:57, 30 August 2006 (UTC)?

I can think of a couple of advantages off the top of my head, easier from a logistics POV to have a disposable unit that you can just treat as a round of ammo, and once you've used up your ammo for a launcher such as the RPG-7, you're left with a 15lb club to carry around. Just playing devil's advocate here, personally I think that reloadable is the way to go for reasons of cost and versatility. The weight becomes less of an issue if ammo for the launcher is also carried by people other than the grenadier. Riddley 15:43, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
Riddley is basically correct IMHO...The LAAW (which I thought was the original abbreviation - Light Anti Armor Weapon, not Anti Tank) was designed as "throw away" weapon. Most likely due to comparisons of what a soldier can actually carry: i.e. a comparison of the weight of a couple of LAAWs vs the weight of a permanent launcher and a bunch of warheads (or whatever their called) distributed amongst a squad. In other words, maybe half the squad members carrying a LAAW or two each works out better than one or two guys carry a launcher and one round apiece, and everyone else humping addit'l rounds... The LAAW is basically a fiberglass tube and the important part is the warhead. For anything re-loadable, the importance shifts to the launcher - you'd have to have a metal launcher, maintain it like your rifle, etc etc... The advent of helicopter warfare (1950s-60s) made resupply of disposable equipment much more viable too....Engr105th 00:00, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

You know that the correct designation is M72 Light Antitank Weapon (LAW). What's with all the LAAWs? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:03, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

With regard to the LAAW, this seems to have been a semi-official designation of sorts for the Marine Corps, at least during the Vietnam era.-- (talk) 20:37, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

from experiences in Afghanistan, soldiers say to bend the tube after firing, as the Taliban will later attach a metal plate with a nail through it to the bottom of the tube and use it as an impromptu mortar piece. should this be added into article? (talk) 00:04, 26 May 2009 (UTC)``

  • actually that little rumor goes back to nam, and if thats the case any piece of pipe will do. Brian in denver (talk) 01:53, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

M72 LAW vs RPG-7[edit]

Personally, i'm a bit confused with the armour penetration statistics of these 2 weapons. Can someone tell me which is better in armour penetration?chubbychicken 07:20, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

The short story is that the any of the anti-armour rounds used in the RPG-7 have more armour penetration than the standard (66mm) round in the M72. Armour penetration from a conical shaped charged is a function of the diameter of the charge. The warhead on an RPG-7 launched round can be anything up to 105mm or more Riddley 17:10, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
...and the RPG is reusable and cheaper, and you can carry a lot af spare charges instead of a lot of bulky tubes. Sorry, the russkies made it better this time. Randroide 16:19, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
Odd then, that the Soviets would copy it. See RPG-18 and RPG-22.-- (talk) 22:42, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

Folks, The RPG-7 and weapons like the M72 are different classes of weapons. The weapon that the Russians had for a long time that did the job of the individual light antitank weapon was the RKG-3 anti-tank grenade. The RPG-7 is more in the class of the Carl Gustav recoilless rifle or the WW2 Bazooka. Yes, one man can carry the launcher and reloads, but tactically on the battlefield it operates far better with a gunner and a loader. What makes everyone think that the RPG-7 was the US equivalent of the M72 was that the Russia (and other) armies had so many at platoon level. And yes the RPG-7 is cheap, but only because it is produced in such large numbers. The main disadvantage of the RPG-7 is that the warhead is exposed, which on some battlefields can cause problems. Also, someone mentioned that the RPG-7 has a penetration of 105mm. That is only with the latest rounds developed (and they have a drastic reduction in effective range) and not the ones of the Vietnam War or the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. Finally, the tactical equivalent of the RPG-7 today is the Israeli-USMC B-300/SMAW. And like the RPG-7 it is designed to be operated by one man, but it reality there is usually two Marines or soldiers. And today the RPG-29 (similar in concept to the SMAW/B-300 with an enclosed warhead) is the replacement for the RPG-7, and the RPG-18 and RPG-22 replaced the RKG-3 antitank hand grenade. JACK --Jackehammond (talk) 10:12, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

It's not cheaper. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:15, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

We need a caption on that picture[edit]

Given the equipment and the rifle, I assume this image is a very early one. Can anyone positively identify the rifle? Maury 13:04, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

Its an M1 Garand type. The picture's file name gives the indication that it was taken in 1960 at Ft. Benning, GA. It would appear to have been a staged promo photograph of a new system. The Redstone Arsenal has a similar one from the last '50s when the LAW was in development. -- Thatguy96 15:10, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

the penetration of the M72 law and the British variant L12A1 system is 340 of rolled Homogenous armour or RHA —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:57, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Units[edit] changed the Imperial but not metric units. Not sure which is authoritative, but they should at least be commutative, no? MKV 21:24, 28 November 2006 (UTC)


Isn't there a problem with the following specifications ? I thought 1 in is 2.54 cm, if it is the case, 54.97 in is 1.38 m. Same goes for the weights.

   * Length:
         o Extended: less than 1 m (54.97 in).
         o Closed: 0.67 m (24.8 in).
   * Weight:
         o Complete M72A2: 2.3 kg (8.1 lb).
         o Complete M72A3: 2.5 kg (8.5 lb).

Svartkell 14:07, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Reusing the launcher?[edit]

Can an M72 laucher be repacked by the factories after being fired? I've heard that they can be, but that doing so is overly expensive and unreliable for it to be a common practice. 10:03, 24 January 2007 (UTC) probably can be re-packed...but as you said, doing that would likely cost more than just buying more off the factory line. It might be viable in training practice where you can recover the tube, but in real combat the soldier is going to throw down this "one shot" weapon after he uses it and move on. I doubt recovering these to send back to the rear would be much of a priority...Engr105th 00:07, 10 July 2007 (UTC)
The launchers can be reloaded at the factory, yes, but I don't know if all factories producing LAWs offer such services. I do know that Finland sends it's LAWs to Norway for reloading, but don't ask me to dig up a reference for that. :) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:00, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

M72 in Australian service[edit]

"The Australian Army also utilizes the M72 LAW as a secondary anti-armour weapon but they primarily use the FGM-149 Javelin Missile. M72 LAW's are stored in reserves and only withdrawn when the Australian Defence Force uses it."

This is wrong. All Australian infantry are trained on the M72A6 during their rifleman's course, and they are carried operationally by Australian troops in Iraq and Afghanistan for use in the anti-fortification role. It also makes no reference to the 84mm Carl Gustaf which was the primary anti-armour weapon in the Australian Army until the recent introduction of the Javelin. Simon9 14:16, 23 July 2007 (UTC)


Nothing on the development or adoption of the LAW. Why was it developed when was it tested etc?


why is range so low on this article? I'm in the Canadian army, they tell us range 700m stationary, 300m moving target (talk) 23:59, 25 May 2009 (UTC)


Should we add FSA to the list of users? Edit: Actually, it looks like that's the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front using it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:29, 25 June 2013 (UTC)


"Once fired in combat, the launcher is required to be destroyed to prevent its use by the enemy as a booby-trap; the enemy could collapse the launcher to its original configuration, fill it with explosives and shrapnel, and rig it to explode if moved by a soldier believing it to be unused" - this is unsourced, and something about it feels fishy. It seems superficially plausible but fabricated. How was it destroyed? The official training manual - which appears to be the only citable source for its use - simply mentions handing empties to the range authorities for disposal. I have a vision of GIs bashing their fired LAWs with rocks while the Viet Cong shoot at them, which seems absurd. Is there a source for this? A citable source? -Ashley Pomeroy (talk) 18:08, 17 June 2014 (UTC)