The new Carl-Gustaf M4 is a man-portable multi-role weapon system that provides high tactical flexibility through its wide range of ammunition types. A marked evolution in the history of the system, the new M4 model meets the needs of modern conflict environments while offering compatibility with future innovations.
The Carl Gustaf ( also known as, Gustaf Bazooka and M2CG) is an 84 mm man-portable reusable anti-tank recoilless rifle produced by Saab Bofors Dynamics (formerly Bofors Anti-Armour AB) in Sweden. 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.
The first prototype of the Carl Gustaf was produced in 1946 as a lightweight anti-armor weapon, one of many similar designs of that era. While similar weapons have generally disappeared from service, the Carl Gustaf remains in widespread use today. A combination of light weight, low cost and widely varied ammunition types, makes the Carl Gustaf extremely flexible and able to be used in a wide variety of roles where single-purpose weapons like the M72 LAW passed out of service as newer tank designs rendered them ineffective.
The basic weapon consists of the main tube with the breech-mounted Venturi recoil damper, with two grips near the front and a shoulder mount. The weapon is fitted with iron sights, but is normally aimed with the attached 3× optical sight with a 17 degree (300 mil) field of view. The most modern variants fielded by Swedish rifle companies have been fitted with the Swedish Aimpoint sighting system. Luminous front and rear sight inserts are available for the iron sights when aiming at night, and an image intensification system may also be used.
The Carl Gustaf can be fired from the standing, kneeling, sitting or prone positions, and a bipod may be attached in front of the shoulder piece. An operating handle called the “Venturi lock” is used to move the hinged breech to one side for reloading. The weapon is normally operated by a two-man crew, one carrying and firing the weapon, the other carrying ammunition and reloading.
In its country of origin, it is officially named Grg m/48 (Granatgevär – “grenade rifle”, model 1948). British troops refer to it as the “Charlie G”, while Canadian troops often refer to it as “Carl G”. In U.S. military service, it is known as the “M3 Multi-Role Anti-Armor Anti-Personnel Weapon System” (MAAWS) or “Ranger Anti-tank Weapons System” (RAWS), but is often called the Gustaf or “the Goose” by American servicemembers. In Australia, it is irreverently known as “Charlie Gutsache” (guts ache, slang for stomach pain), or “Charlie Swede”.
The M3 Multi-role Anti-armor Anti-tank Weapon System (MAAWS) is the U.S. military designation for the Carl Gustaf M3 recoilless rifle. It is primarily used by United States Special Operations Command such as the Army Rangers, Army Special Forces, Marine Raiders, Navy SEALs, and JSOC operators. When used by the U.S. Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment, the M3 is known as the Ranger Anti-tank Weapons System (RAWS). Army Rangers found the M3 Carl Gustaf was best employed using a two-man team. One person would carry the launcher and be armed with a pistol for personal protection, and the other would carry 5–6 rounds of ammunition and act as a spotter for the gunner. Although the single-shot AT-4 is lighter and can be carried by one person, a Gustaf team with the heavier recoilless rifle can reload and fire more rounds.