The large caliber of the RH-ALAN RT-20 makes it one of the most powerful anti-material rifles in service anywhere in the world.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
The RT-20 is an anti-materiel sniper rifle of Croatian origin, part of the region of the world well-known and respected for the gunsmiths it has produced over time. The RT-20's large 20mm caliber makes it one of the most powerful anti-materiel rifles in service anywhere on the globe. However, the system can only fire one 20mm projectile at a time and each must be loaded individually by the operator and further actuated by the bolt-action operation. The rifle was developed sometime in the 1990s by the firm of RH-Alan and subsequently entered service with the Croatian Army in 1994. She has since maintained a battlefield presence but has not seen sale outside of Croatian borders.
Anti-materiel rifles hold a special place in the armies of today and have proven highly-effective since the days of World War 2. They field the capability of dealing with light-armored vehicles and personnel alike and can engage a variety of targets as needed and at range. The 20mm projectile of a weapon such as the RT-20 makes it doubly-effective over the 0.50 caliber systems fielded by other contemporary land armies and is of similar caliber to the cannons as utilized by military aircraft for close-in work. As such, the projectile can be used to engage either personnel taking cover behind walls or can be equally used to penetrate a vehicle's engine block, rendering the target vehicle ineffective.
Such weapons are not without disadvantages however. They usually require multiple personnel to transport to position. Some large-caliber weapons can be broken down into smaller traveling components for ease of carrying but still remain relatively cumbersome when compared to their smaller automatic assault weapon brethren. Additionally, large caliber anti-materiel weapons deliver a great deal of "back-blast" from their massive recoil - this easily giving away a firing crew's position to the enemy. The RT-20, essentially operating as if a small-scale rocket launcher, is not recommended for firing from confined spaces. However, if used in a proper tactical nature, the stopping power of such a system becomes a priceless commodity to any infantry squad in need of some heft.
Externally, the RT-20 maintains a most unique external appearance. It is a far cry from the sleek and sexy designs of the West but it is an operational and wholly deadly weapon nonetheless . The receiver contains the integrated pistol grip and trigger group, the latter housed within a fixed trigger ring. The receiver includes the stock which makes up a great deal of the weapon's length. The thick barrel protrudes from the forward end of the receiver and is capped by a three-baffle muzzle brake. There is a foldable bipod assembly affixed to the extreme forward end of the receiver. A scope sits along the left side of the gun's body. The bolt-handle is fitted to the extreme rear left side of the stock. As the weapon is meant to be fired from a prone position, the overall design is quite well-thought out, containing the main operating elements to the rear and middle of the weapon and the barrel set far ahead of the receiver. Standard sights are located to the rear of the receiver.
The RT-20 was designed with a distinct recoil compensating system made up of a tube fitting across the top of the barrel. This system returns the cartridge gasses to the rear of the weapon and operates in similar fashion to that of a recoilless rifle. Her operating weight is listed at 42.33lbs when fitting the scope and bipod. She measures a running length of 52.4 inches (1,330mm) while her barrel alone makes up 36.2 inches of this size. The cartridge caliber of the RT-20 is of 20x110mm. She is a manually fed, individually-loaded weapon system featuring a muzzle velocity of 2,789 feet per second with a maximum listed range of about 1,800 meters.
The rifle receives its formal designation from the Croatian "Rucni Top 20" which itself translates into "Hand Cannon 20" (20mm).