Infantry weapons of the Vietnam war

The M-16A1 5.56mm assault rifle is one of the most identifiable hand held weapons of Vietnam, used by US troops, it has become a reliable assault rifle and is still used by US forces today. It can be fired in semi and full automatic having an effective range of some 300metres, firing 60 rpm. The CAR15 5.56mm Assault rifle produced by the Colt Company, was used mainly by Special Forces during the Vietnam War, it had a telescopic sight and was limited in its distribution.

M-16A1 5.56mm assault rifle

M 15
CAR15 5.56mm Assault rifle

Until the introduction of the M-16 in the early 60’s the M-14 assault rifle was issued to us force, although very accurate and powerful with its 7.62mm ammunition, it was heavy and at full automatic became far less accurate, When the M-16 was introduced this weapon was phased out.

M 1

The M-60 7.62mm General purpose light machine gun was commonly used by us troops as infantry support mounted on armoured vehicles and helicopters. With a Bipod it has an effective range of 500metres; with a Tripod it has an effective range of 1100metres. Gas operated it could fire 200 rpm; it was air cooled and belt fed. It was and effective support weapon also having a quick change barrel for overheating in extended period of fire.

M 60

The M-203 Grenade launcher attachment was fitted to the standard m-16 rifle which gave the infantrymen added firepower in the field without the added weight and encumbrance of another weapon. It was more effective than a hand throw grenade ranging some 400metres.


The M-72 Light anti-tank weapon (LAW) was very commonly used by US forces to attack enemy bunkers and as medium fired support in the field, single shot and light weight it could be carried into the field and discarded after firing. Held over the shoulder it fired a 1kg projectile to a maximum effective range of 300metres.


The Colt 45 1911 model 45 calibre pistol was in continuous service with the US military since its inception in 1911, seeing service thru two world wars, Korea, Vietnam and any other role the US armed forces have been involved in It was mainly issued to Officers and men in special forces roles. It was only retired in the mid 1980’s with the us military opting for a new side arm.

Colt 45

The AK-47  7.62mm assault rifle produce by the Russians in the 1950’s is one of the most effective and ruggered weapon the world has known, not as accurate or as quick firing as the M-16 it is however durable. Used by many armies and groups all over the world still in production today. It has a distinctive look with its high front site and distinctive banana magazine. It has a 40 round magazine and has an effective range of about 400metres.


 The Chicon Type 56 was a direct copy of the AK-47 made by the Chinese the noticeable difference is the folding stock allowing it to be more easily concealed. Used heavily by the North Vietnamese army and many organisations around the world.

Chicon Type 56

 The Simonov 7.62mm self loading rifle held 10 round in its magazine and was an effective semi automatic rifle, it resemble many military style bolt action rifles of the world war two era with a unique folding bayonet under the muzzle. This weapon was extensively used by the Viet Con during the Vietnam War.


 The RPD-7.62mm Light machine gun was Russian in design us as support for infantrymen, it had an effective range of 800metres, with 100 round belt fed magazine usually housed in a metal magazine. It could fire 150 rpm, the gunner was usually accompanied by a loader who if the gunner was injured could take over the firing of the weapon.

RPD-7.62 Lught Machine Gun

The Type 24 tripod mounted 7.92mm heavy machine was a copy of the World War one German Maxim gun, although a cumbersome and aged in its design it had an excellent rate of fire and was effective as an air defence weapon.

Type 24 Heavy Machine Gun

 The RPG Rocket Launcher is and was won the most effective rocket launchers ever invented, Russian in its design used heavily throughout the Vietnam war by the North Vietnamese army the Viet con, it was easy to operate, light weight and had an effective range of up to 500 metres depending on the target. The projectile was 40mm in diameter and could be used on both Land and air target depending on the range.

RPG Rocket Launcher

The Tokarov TT-33 7.62mm Automatic Pistol, First introduced in the 1930,s by the Russian armed forced it was used extensively by Russian troops during World war two, after World war two it was adopted into military use by most eastern block nations and the Chinese army used by the North Vietnams Army and the Viet con during the Vietnam war. Production stopped in 1954 in Russia but continued in other communist countries, it had an effective range of 50 metres and had an 8 round magazine.

Tokarov TT-33 Pistol

The Marakov Pistol was the Russian replaced for the Takarov in the 1950’s, it was produced in china as the Type 59, copied from West German the Walter PP (police pistol) of the 1930’s it became standard issue of the Eastern block countries and Chinese force the Russian model could be distinguished by the The Red star in the grip. It had an 8 round magazine and an effective range of 70 metres.

Marakov Pistol

 Further Reading: Map of Vietnam War, Vietnam War Facts.

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