Staff Writer (Updated: 9/26/2016):
The RPG-7, itself, is a further development of past RPG variations (from the RPG-2, RPG-3 and RPG-4). It can fire a variety of warheads including fragmentation, HEAT and high-explosive rounds. Sighting is traditional through static sights but optics can be fitted to the firing tube if needed. Not surprisingly, the RPG is a favorite guerilla weapon in many of the former Soviet-supported satellite states including Iraq and Afghanistan. It is produced in no fewer than a dozen countries (with China producing a localized copy as the Type 69) and can be found in the military inventories of nearly 40 countries worldwide.
Its effectiveness is not necessarily in the ability to stop armored vehicles but moreso in the shock and disruption value afforded to such a compact weapon system (the airborne variant designated as the RPG-7D is designed to be broken down into sections for the compact-minded paratrooper). The resulting "back blast" of the rocket firing is also relatively minimal, allowing the weapon to be fired from enclosed spaces as well covered positions outdoors. The operation of the RPG-7 system itself is somewhat basic, requiring little training on the part of the user. However, the role they have played in warfare since their inception - particularly in urban settings across Iraq - has been largely documented and showcases their effectiveness.