It’s difficult to call a weapon with an 84mm-caliber a rifle. Nonetheless, that’s exactly how it’s known, and the paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division are more than happy to fire it at a qualification range in Fort Bragg, NC. The Swedish M3 Multi-role, Anti-armor, Anti-tank Weapon System (MAAWS), also known as the Carl Gustaf Recoilless Rifle, is an 84mm man-portable, multi-role, parachute jump-able, recoil-less rifle that can be reloaded and fired multiple times.
The M3 MAAWS has been in used since 1948. While similar weapons have generally disappeared from service, the Carl Gustaf remains in widespread use today. The U.S. Army is a latecomer on the M3 MAAWS, having designated it as a Program of Record within the U.S. Army and standard-issue in Army Light Infantry units in 2004, which is approximately 56-years after it was first used by the Swedish Army. Maybe the reason they waited so long has something to do with the fact that, although most rounds fired by the Carl Gustaf work on the classic recoilless principle, modern rounds sometimes add a post-firing booster that technically make it a rocket launcher. Sounds like a very powerful and versatile weapon to have!
Do you think that the U.S. Army should have adopted the M3 MAAWS so late in the game? Sound off and share your opinions and comments in the section below.