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The RPG-7 consists of a 40mm diameter steel tube, wrapped with wooden heatshields and equipped with a trigger unit and flared venturi nozzle at the rear to reduce blast and recoil. The grenades are loaded from the front and are launched by a gunpowder booster charge. Once the grenade has reached a distance of about 10 meters from the launcher, the onboard rocket motor ignites and sustains flight out to around 500 meters. The grenade is stabilised by two sets of fins; one large set at the rear that pop out after launch and a smaller front set to induce rotation. Maximum range is set by the fuse, usually at 920 meters. As a recoilless launcher, the RPG-7 has a dangerous backblast zone of around 20 meters behind the launcher.
The RPG-7 is usually used with the specially-designed PGO-7 optical sight, which has a 2.7X fixed magnification , a range-finding scale for typically-sized targets (tanks) with a height of 2.7 meters, and windage adjustment scales. The standard PG-7VM anti- tank grenade has a single stage HEAT warhead suitable for use against armoured vehicles. The TBG-7V Thermobaric (FAE) grenade is a multipurpose grenade with a 10 meter lethal radius. The PG-7VR tandem (dual-warhead) HEAT grenade is intended for use against vehicles with Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA), with the first warhead disrupting the ERA and creating an opening for the main charge to penetrate the target. The OG-7V fragmentation antipersonnel grenade has a lethal radius of 7 meters and is equipped with a more powerful booster charge, but lacks the rocket sustainer motor of the other types of grenade ammunition.
The RPG-7 weighs 6.3 kg unloaded and has an effective range of 200-500 meters depending on the ammunition used.