PIAT anti-tank grenade launcher, unloaded, left side view



PIAT anti-tank grenade launcher, loaded, right side view




HEAT (Anti-tank) projectile (bomb, grenade) for PIAT launcher



British soldier aiming PIAT anti-tank grenade launcher




83 mm / 3.25”


Spigot launcher

Overall length

990 mm


14.5 kg empty

Max. effective range

~100 meters

Armor penetration

75-100 mm / 90o


The British PIAT anti-tank grenade launcher was developed during the early stages of WW2 by Maj. Jefferis as inexpensive, lightweight self-cocking anti-tank launcher (“projector” in contemporary British terminology) that could throw HEAT projectile (“bomb”) to extended ranges and with decent accuracy. Its design was based on the so-called Blacker bombard, which also featured spigot type design. PIAT was manufactured in significant numbers by British company Imperial Chemical Industries, and used by UKand Commonwealth forces as light anti-tank and infantry support weapon since about 1943 and through WW2 and Korean war. The PIAT was indigenous weapon, simple and inexpensive, but also rather heavy (compared, for example, to US-made Bazooka rocket launchers) and with unusual and uncomfortable cocking procedure for first shot. It also produced heavy recoil when fired. Its positive features included lack of dangerous backblast and muzzle flash.


The PIAT anti-tank grenade launcher uses so called spigot principle, in which the simple “barrel” for propelling charge is formed as the long, tubular tail of the projectile. Total weight of the HEAT bomb is about 1,2 kg (2.6 lbs), muzzle velocity is about 80 m/s. The tail of the projectile is open from the rear, and the launching charge (made in the form of a special blank cartridge) is loaded into the closed front of the tail tube at the factory. Upon discharge, long and heavy striker (spigot) enters the projectile tail from the rear, powered by large and very powerful spring. Spigot passes through the tubular tail until firing pin on its forward end strikes the launching cartridge, setting its charge off. The pressure of powder gases pushes the projectile forward, while at the same time, throwing the spigot rod rearward, compressing its spring until the spigot is self-cocked by the sear, making it ready for the next discharge. Cocking of spigot for the first shot is achieved by placing both feet against the shoulder rest of the weapon and pulling the weapon up by the trigger guard. The movable shoulder rest is connected to the spigot and cocks it when pulled. This procedure requires a lot of muscular strength. After first shot, spigot is recocked automatically due to the recoil blast. In combat situations, PIAT was normally carried cocked and with safety on, unloaded. The projectile, which has large diameter warhead, is loaded into the open-top tray at the front of the weapon. PIAT was normally fired from the ground, using integral folding support of “inverted T” or “A” shape. Aiming was achieved by using folding iron sights of aperture type, with two or three apertures in rear sight blade (for 50, 80 and 110 or 70 and 100 yards ranges).

PIAT projectiles (“bombs”) were available in three basic types – HEAT, White Phosphor and inert (for practice). Bombs were supplied pre-loaded with launching cartridge, loaded into cardboard containers of round shape.