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Carl-Gustav M1948

Sweden (1948)
Picture of Carl-Gustav M1948 Multirole, Shoulder-Fired Recoilless Rifle
Picture of Carl-Gustav M1948 Multirole, Shoulder-Fired Recoilless Rifle Picture of Carl-Gustav M1948 Multirole, Shoulder-Fired Recoilless Rifle
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The Carl-Gustav 84mm recoiless rifle design is a popular and widely used multi-purpose weapons platform appearing with various military groups across the globe.

Detailing the development and operational history of the Carl-Gustav M1948 Multirole, Shoulder-Fired Recoilless Rifle.  Entry last updated on 5/22/2018; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©

The global reach of the Carl Gustav recoilless rifle emphasizes the popularity of the weapon, appearing in three major variants and in use by standard military and special forces alike for some sixty years. The system has been noted from the start for its accuracy, impressive range and firepower since appearing with the Swedish Army in 1948. The system earned its distinct name from the production facility from whence the initial rifles were produced - Carl Gustafs Stads Gevarsfaktori in Sweden - a facility now owned by Bofors.

When introduced, the Carl Gustav was similar in most respects to weapons such as the American Bazooka, British PIAT or German Panzerschreck anti-tank weapons. The Carl Gustav was a recoilless rifle design featuring a rifled barrel which instantly differentiated itself from its contemporaries. The rifled barrel allowed for stabilization of the ammunition to occur through the barrel, negating the need for spring-loaded fins to be used once the projectile reached flight (a popular feature in other systems). This operation allowed the Carl Gustav's projectile greater range and firepower and quickly made it a favorite amongst its users.

Since its inception, the Carl Gustav went on to become a pivotal offensive arm of military forces around the globe (even seeing license-production in Japan with Sumitomo). The M1 appeared in 1948 and was followed by the improved Carl Gustav M2 in 1964. The M3 followed decades later in 1991 and featured a host of improvements, chief among these being a reduction in overall weight in part to the replacement of internal steel components. The Carl Gustav remains in operational service in its varied forms and is a particular favorite with special forces groups including the United States Special Operations COMmand (USSOCOM) units.

The rifle can fire all types of ammunition beyond its primary anti-armor projectiles and include illumination, anti-structure, smoke, practice and anti-personnel (flechette) projectiles. A crew of two is required for optimal service though the simplicity of the system allows for a single operator/firer at the cost of rate of fire. Optical, laser rangefinder and image intensification sights (along with the standard iron sights) can be mounted and greatly improve the weapon for a variety of specialty roles as needed. Ammunition is reloaded through a hinged breech on the side of the tube. The basic main tube features a pistol grip, a forward grip, shoulder strap and optional bipod along with standard iron sights.

Picture of the Carl-Gustav M1948 Multirole, Shoulder-Fired Recoilless Rifle
Picture of the Carl-Gustav M1948 Multirole, Shoulder-Fired Recoilless Rifle

Any available statistics for the Carl-Gustav M1948 Multirole, Shoulder-Fired Recoilless Rifle are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering initial year of service, country-of-origin and manufacture(s) involved in bringing the weapon to market. Other qualities showcased are related to physical values such as the internal action, available calibers / chamberings, weight and lengths. Global operators are also presented in A-to-Z format as are any model variants available to the series.
Supported Mission Types:
Frontline Issuance
Special Forces
Close Quarters Battle
Designated Marksman/Sharpshooter
Area Effect/Suppression
Indirect Fire
Airspace Denial
Attachment Weapon
National Flag Graphic
National Origin: Sweden
Service Year: 1948
Manufacturer(s): Bofors Anti-Armor AB, Saab Bofors Dynamics - Sweden / Sumitomo Heavy Industries - Japan
Classification Type: Multirole, Shoulder-Fired Recoilless Rifle
Global Operators:
Australia; Austria; Brazil; Botswana; Cambodia; Canada; Chile; Czech Republic; Czechoslovakia; Denmark; Estonia; Germany; Greece; India; Indonesia; Iraq; Ireland; Israel; Japan; Jordan; Lithuania; Malaysia; Myanmar; Nepal; Netherlands; New Zealand; Norway; Peru; Poland; Portugal; Singapore; South Korea; Sweden; Thailand; United Kingdom; Zambia; United States
Structural - Internal Design, Dimensions, and Weights:


Hinged Breech; Percussion Firing Mechanism


(Model / Chambering Dependent)
84x246mm R


(Model / Chambering Dependent)
Single-Shot; Reusable Launch Tube


1,130 mm

44.49 in


1,130 mm

44.49 in


Pounds (Unloaded)
18.74 lb

Kilograms (Unloaded)
8.50 kg


Iron Sights; 3x Optical

Operating Performance (Typical):

787 ft/sec

240 m/sec


6 rpm

Variants: Series Model Variants
• M1 - Production beginning 1946; entered Swedish Army service in 1948.
• M2 - Appeared in 1964; "improved" M1 model.
• M3 - Appeared in 1991; reduced overall weight; alloy/plastic construction replacing steel components; reinforced outer sleeve.
• M3 MAAWS - US Special Forces Designation of Carl Gustav M3 model.
• Panzerfaust Carl Gustaf / Leuchtbuchse 84mm - German designation.
• Sumitomo FT-84 - Japanese license-production Carl Gustav designation.