Ukrainian Troops Adapt Grenade Launcher For Standalone Use – Video footage shared online this week on several social media platforms shows a Ukrainian soldier using an adapted GP-25 Kostyer underbarrel grenade launcher designed to be fitted to a firearm.
The video was most commonly seen by English-speaking users on the Ukraine Weapons Tracker Twitter account.
In the video, the soldier can be seen using the GP-25 launcher without a firearm, meaning that it had been specially adapted by soldiers to be used as a standalone weapon.
“Ukraine forces with an interesting grenade launcher; a 40mm GP-25 UGL adapted for stand-alone use,” Ukraine Weapons Tracker writes.
— 🇺🇦 Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) June 27, 2022
Photographs of adapted GP-25 launchers have been shared widely on Twitter, showing just how simple it is to turn these weapons accessories into usable grenade launchers that do not require the use or possession of any additional weapons.
Ukrayna yapimi el bombası fırlaticisi bagimsiz kullanım icin uyarlanmis 40 mm GP-25 UGL.
Basit ve yapilabilinecek bir sistem. pic.twitter.com/IiesN5WzNN
— monte346363 (@monte346363) June 27, 2022
What Is the GP-25?
Designed and built during the Cold War, the GP-25 Koyster (which translates to “bonfire” in English) was the first underbarrel grenade launcher to be used by the Soviet Union’s armed forces. It was also the first grenade launcher of any kind to be used by the Soviet Union’s troops.
The device features a short barrel fitted to a mounting bracket. A sight is also fitted to the left side of the device, and a straight pull trigger is also mounted to the pipe with a pistol grip. While it may look as though the weapon should be easily used as a standalone device, it is designed to be attached to larger firearms. Most commonly, Soviet troops would use the device with AKM and AK-74 series guns.
A standalone version of the device was eventually developed, known as the RGM-40 Kastet, but this was not the device used in the video.
While Ukrainian troops had their own supplies of these Soviet-era weapons, some are also likely to have been captured from Russian troops.
In early April, Ukraine Weapons Tracker shared photographs of Russian positions hit by Ukrainian missiles. The images showed destroyed Russian armored vehicles and tanks, and popular arms research account Calibre Obscura responded to the post with an additional photograph showing small arms captured in the strike.
Among the small arms were several GP-25 underbarrel grenade launchers.
“Small arms were also captured,” the Calibre Obscura account wrote. “RPG-7(V), AKS-74, AK-74M, GP-25 UGL, PKM, AK-74, etc.”
Russian troops also captured AKS-74 and AK-74 firearms equipped with GP-25 launchers in late March.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.