The ruggedness, simplicity, low cost, and effectiveness of the RPG-7 have made it the most widely used RPG in the world. Currently around 40 countries use the weapon, and it is manufactured in a number of variants by nine countries. It is also popular with irregular and guerrilla forces. The RPG has been used in almost all conflicts across all continents since the mid-1960s from the Vietnam War to the present day War in Afghanistan and Iraq War.
The most commonly seen major variations are the RPG-7D paratrooper model (able to be broken into two parts for easier carrying), and the lighter Chinese Type 69 RPG.
The RPG-7 was first delivered to the Soviet Army in 1961 and deployed at a squad level. It replaced the RPG-3, having clearly out-performed the intermediate RPG-4 design during testing. Its original design concept originated with two World War II era weapons: the American Bazooka and the German Panzerfaust. The current model produced by Russia is the RPG-7V2, capable of firing standard and dual high explosive anti-tank (HEAT) rounds, high explosive/fragmentation, and thermobaric warheads (see below), with a UP-7V sighting device fitted (used in tandem with the standard optical sight) to allow the use of extended range ammunition. The RPG-7D3 is the equivalent paratrooper model. Both the RPG-7V2 and RPG-7D3 were adopted by the Russian Ground Forces in 2001.