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Custom M9A1 Bazooka

Review date: 7/23/2002
Model: Custom Rocket Launch M9A1 Bazooka
Type: Rocket Engine powered
Manufacturer: Savoy6

Editors note: As mentioned in this review, this particular airsoft is powered by model rocket engines. This is DEFINATELY NOT for everyone! Never in any circumstances use an airsoft like this without the permission of ALL the airsofters present and of the field owner/operator!

The Bazooka

The whole idea for this project stemmed from the need to have some thing that could take out a vehicle or a bunker or fixed position as well as wanting to add some battlefield realism, safely, to the airsofting experience. Personally, I can understand concern about rockets being used in the field, but since the rounds for this project are constructed from styrofoam and use only approved model rocket engines and the fact that I personally have been hit with them at very close range(-5 ft), I think they are reasonably safe to use.But that is only my opinion and anyone who builds a project like this should do so at their own risk!!! Also, if you have severe fire conditions where you live, you shoudn't fire model rockets in a rural area. That said, lets get a little history on this critter.

Bazooka History Class

First, the military use of rockets is nothing new. They have been around for almost 1200 years at least. But late in 1941, the Ordinance Department of the U.S.Army wanted to give the infantry a weapon that could be used against armor a little more easily then the standard 37mm Gun M3 that was in use at the time. The winning design was submited in early '42 by General Electric who were then given an order for a 1000 units. After lots of problems with getting the electrics straightened out, they succeeded in getting the first lots of the original M1A1 2.36" AT launcher delivered to the troops heading out for the Torch landings in N. Africa with only 45 mins. to spare. They were deployed against the Afrika Korps in Tunisia where their effect was more psycological then real. But at least they gave the infantryman a weapon that could keep most armor at a distance or perhaps take off a track or disable it in some fashion. Suprisingly, the bazooka was offered to the British Army, but was refused in favor of the homegrown PIAT (what were they thinking?). Delivery was taken on 1200 units by the Soviets where they were put into action and some were captured leading to the development of the Panzershrek in '43. The M9 and M9A1 versions were developed in late '43 to fit the need for a Bazooka that could be broken down into 2 seperate sections for easier for transport and storage by airborne and infantry troops. The rounds themselves were simply the standard AT rifle grenade with a rocket motor and fins attached. On the first models the power for the launch came from a dry cell battery but later models were fitted with a magneto in the trigger assembly that gave the neccesary current to launch the round. Most of the late war German tanks were pretty much unaffected by the 2.36" HEAT round but it continued to be used for fixed targets and lightly armored vehicles. In the Pacific, if was well liked as a bunker buster and saw extensive use by both the Army and Marines. It was later replaced by the M20 3.5" bazooka and the 57mm recoiless rifle.

Why the Bazooka?

My own interest in this weapon stemmed from the first time I saw that Johnny Quest episode where they are flying around with the jet packs hunting pteradactyls with bazookas. From that point on I was hooked. Lately, my interest has grown with my participation in airsoft since, for the most part, there aren't a whole lot of any sort of "heavy" weapons in this sport. The ways of taking out vehicles or hard targets in airsoft ,on the average are rudimentary at best. Except for Skully's AT4, which is what really gave me the impetus for completing this project. Plus, being a major WW2 buff helps too. But, back to the review.

Bazooka Build

The weapon itself is around 57" long and weights around 10 lbs. Yes, it is fairly long and some what cumbersome but so was the original. It is mostly made from PVC with a wooden grip and metal shoulder stock and battery plate. The electrical system consists of 'gator clamps at the back of the unit to attach to the model rocket igniters, then running through a double set of switches to the 9V battery that runs it. One switch being used as a safety and the other being the trigger. As of this writing, the unit doesn't have a sight yet but i'm trying to finish an optical sight that replicates , in simplest form, the original ring sight. The rounds are simply copies of the originals in styro foam with a light PVC center section with the motor and fins attached to that. Both the launcher and the rockets are painted to match the originals as closely as possible.

Bazooka In Action

Now for the performance section. The rockets leave the tube with a good deal of noise and smoke. The effect is pretty good visually but everyone will know what you are using. Not that this is a stealth weapon by any means... LOL. Right now I've been tinkering around with using a little bit bigger rocket motor than I started with, so I'm still getting the weight and balance right. But with C size motors, the rounds have a range of over 60-70 feet. The only thing with them is that you have to hold somewhat high over your target. Right now I'm testing with the larger D size motors. Once we get the balance right ,it should almost double the range.

Bazooka End

All in all, this weapon is simply an attempt to add some more fun and interesting stuff to the general airsoft arsenal. Plus it's tons of fun to shoot and people really run when you trot it out, as well as adding some "battlefield" realism to the sport. Once again, I need to reiterate that if you try and build anything like this, use common sence, be safe, and you do so at your own risk !!!

Savoy6, out.

Review by: Savoy6.


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© Copyright 2004 by Lance Eppley & Joey Araniego