Modern Firearms - AGS-17
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AGS-17 automatic grenade launcher (Russia / USSR)

AGS-17 grenade launcher on 6T8 tripod.
 AGS-17 grenade launcher on 6T8 tripod.

 

 AGS-17 grenade launcher, close-up view.
 AGS-17 grenade launcher, close-up view.

 

Close-up view on the receiver of AGS-17. Clearly visible are dual grips, opticalsights, ballistic table (printed on the receiver top cover) and charging handle(hanging on the short steel cable from the rear of the receiver).
Close-up view on the receiver of AGS-17. Clearly visible are dual grips, opticalsights, ballistic table (printed on the receiver top cover) and charging handle(hanging on the short steel cable from the rear of the receiver).

 

Caliber: 30x29B
Type: blowback operated, belt fed automatic grenade launcher  
Overall length: 840 mm
Weight: 18 kg gun plus 12 kg tripod 6T8
Effective range: up to 800 m point targets; 1700 m maximum range
Rate of fire: 350-400 rounds per minute

 

Development of the AGS-17 (Avtomatischeskyi Granatmyot Stankovyi - Automatic Grenade launcher, Mounted)has been started USSR during in 1967 by the OKB-16 design bureau (now it is famous KBP- Instrument Design Bureau, located in the city of Tula). Most probably, its development was inspired by the Soviet-Chinese border clashes of late 1960s, as well as initial experience with several US automatic grenade launchers, learned from North Vietnamese troops who often were on receiving end of these formidable weapons.It was through that the automatic grenade launcher is one of the most effective infantry support weapons against typical Chinese "human wave" attacks. This lightweight weapon was to provide infantry with close to medium range fire support against enemy personnel and unarmored targets like trucks and other such equipment. First prototypes of new weapon entered trials in 1969, and mass production commenced in 1971. At the same time frame, the special heliborne version AG-17 was developed for installation on Mi-24 Hind gunship helicopters. Never used against Chinese, AGS-17 was widely used by Soviet troops in Afghanistan as aground support weapon or as a vehicle weapon on improvised mounts installed on armored personnel carriers and trucks. It is still in use with Russian army as a direct fire support weapon for infantry troops; it is also installed in several vehicle mounts and turrets along with machine guns, guided rocket launchers and sighting equipment. A special airborne version AG-17A was installed in door mounts of several Mi-8 Hip combat transport helicopters, and on gun pods used on late model Mi-24 Hind gunships; this weapon had thick aluminium jacket on the barrel and used a special mount and electric remotely controlled trigger.
AGS-17 may look inferior ballistically to its major rival, American Mk.19mod.3 grenade launcher, as it has somewhat lighter grenade with smaller muzzle velocity and slightly shorter range; the selection of available ammunition is also much less versatile as the only mass-made 30mm rounds for AGS-17are VOG-17 and improved VOG-30, fragmentation antipersonnel grenades with lethal damage /kill zone radius of about 7-9 meters. However, in ready to fire position AGS-17is almost two times lighter than Mk.19 mod.3 and thus can be easily moved and maneuvered across the battlefield by the crew of two men.
AGS-17 is manufactured in Russia by the Molot Engineering Plant JSC, as well asin China by state factories and in Serbia (former Yugoslavia).

AGS-17 is aircooled, belt fed, blowback operated grenade machine gun / launcher. AGS-17 firesfrom open bolt and uses non-disintegrating steel belts with open pockets. Upon the closing movement of the bolt, fresh round is pushed forward into the barrel from its loading position; empty cases are ejected to the bottom. AGS-17 is fed from special belt drums that hold 29 linked rounds. Loaded belt drum weights about 14kg (31 lbs). To reduce rate of fire and decrease dispersion, bolt of AGS-17 is fitted with hydraulic recoil buffer. In its infantry applications, gun is controlled by two horizontal spade grips with the trigger between them. T-shaped charging handle is located at the rear of the receiver and is linked to the bolt by the steel cable and special carrier; handle does not move when gun is fired.Standard sight is 2.7X magnification PAG-17 optical; it has a range-finding reticule,and top cover of each gun has a ballistic table for both direct and indirect fire. Standard mount is SAG-17 (official designation 6T8); it is a tripod with adjustable height and traverse and elevation mechanisms, including fine adjustment elements. For transportation and carry tripod can be folded and carried as a backpack using supplied slings. The AGS-17 gun also can be carried in a special backpack; this allows the complete weapon to be transported"on foot" by the crew of two men. Assembled weapon also can be carried trough battlefield for shorter ranges.