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How a M79 grenade launcher works
The M79 grenade launcher is a single-shot, shoulder-fired, break-action grenade launcher that fires a 40×46mm grenade, which uses what the US Army calls the High-Low Propulsion System to keep recoil forces low, and first appeared during the Vietnam War. Because of its distinctive report, it has earned the nicknames of "Thumper", "Thump-Gun", "Bloop Tube", "Big Ed", and "Blooper" among American soldiers as well as "Can Cannon" in reference to the grenade size; Australian units referred to it as the "Wombat Gun". The M79 can fire a wide variety of 40 mm rounds, including explosive, anti-personnel, smoke, buckshot, flechette (pointed steel projectiles with a vaned tail for stable flight), and illumination. While largely replaced by the M203, the M79 has remained in service in many units worldwide in niche roles.