Expedient Recoilless Launcher: Panzerfaust
Hi, I’m Jonathan Wild, the Author of the book Expedient Recoilless Launcher: Panzerfaust and owner of Wild Arms Research & Development. I appreciate the opportunity to share my project on The Kommando Blog. Thanks to the staff here for that.
Background of the Project:
Over the years I have considered a Form 1 destructive device, but never got around to it. In 2019 I saw a post about someone finishing a build of an RPG-2 on AR15.com which intrigued me to do more research on the project. I reached out to the maker who was selling kits at the time. They brought up that they also had a prototype Panzerfaust tube for sale. Due to the cheaper cost, I decided to buy the tube over the more expensive RPG-2 tube and started working on the project.
Unfortunately the builder had not released a trigger pack or launch charge kits like had been done for the RPG-2 he was working on. I started researching and realized that I could modify reproduction parts to work, and replica warheads are affordable/realistic. With an approved Form 1, I reached out to a local shop to help finish the parts and weld everything onto the tube. Then COVID happened. With crazy demand and general chaos of the time, the project got pushed back months. Some initial testing of the tube was done using fuse cable. I found that it worked quite well with the replica warhead.
Later in the year, the shop finally finished the project. With one power drill later, I completed the destructive device. While preparing my next testing launch day, I received a message on Discord with a copy of a few RPG/launcher DIY books from the 90s that looked really interesting. I got the idea that I could make my own while also making improvements to the general concept of the books.
This started the book making process which I had no experience with. 20 hours worth of YouTube videos later I had a general sense of the self publishing process. Over the next few months I would spend all of my money on buying camera equipment, artists, book cover designers, an editor, among other services to help finish the book. I was able to do a successful launch day with 4 warheads launched using different loads and the weapon worked without any misfires.
At the time of making this book I moved from Florida to Oregon. I left a comfortable job and began working Postmates deliveries to get by. Unfortunately, due to the situation, I was unable to add several additional chapters to the book after funding completely ran out. In September of 2020, the final product was completed and ready for distribution. With the support of the community, almost 400 copies sold globally which was far more than what I was expecting. With the success and support for the book, the next book is in the works, and a new more advanced launcher will be worked on going forward.
Why is there no explosion?
Unfortunately I cannot afford a federal explosives license to safely conduct live HE warheads yet. Hopefully if the book series expands, I can look at that as an option.
Why are you holding the Panzerfaust incorrectly on the front cover?
I fired it both ways in the video, but I did not like how the correct way looked in the photos. Rookie mistake, and I apologize for that one.
When will the E-book version be available?
When the second book is released, I’ll also release the E-book version of the first book.
What book is coming next?
I’m still deciding on a design, but the top 3 are: the Soviet 37mm spade mortar, the RPG7 or the Panzerfaust 44. The Panzerfaust 44 is in the lead based on cost and other factors. Still to be fully decided.
When are you going to test the semi-caseless ammunition you made?
Soon. When I’m able to finish a few parts, including the barrel chamber.