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Pocket Rocket Launcher

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"Holy crap, it shoots rockets!"
Flavour text on Carnage shotguns, Borderlands

Stuff Blowing Up is pretty neat. It allows one to kill swarms of enemies (or one really big one), and looks really cool. The addition of a rocket to a bomb adds an extended range, and makes it at least twice as cool because now it rides around on a trail of fire. Two great tastes that taste great together! Even rockets without an explosive attached are at least 20% More Awesome than bullets (it's the fire), but rockets and explosives tend to work very well together, making rockets alone in military applications very rare.

However, the average rocket-firing weapon is a rather large affair; roughly the size of a cannon. Wouldn't it be neat if there was a way to miniaturize rocket launchers? Enter the Pocket Rocket Launcher. A weapon that fires those neato rockets without weighing a ton.

There is a reason that this sort of thing isn't usually done in real life. Rockets have a number of disadvantages compared to good ol' bullets. Rockets are quite slow and inaccurate compared to bullets, which is why they're reserved for targets the size of a car or bigger, and also why they're usually tipped with explosives, compensating for their inaccuracy with Splash Damage. (Furthermore, an explosive charge doesn't actually need to be going all that fast: all the killing power is in the blast effects of the warhead, wether that's the sudden pressure change, sharp fragments being driven into the body, or the violent injection of boiling metal into the target. That being said, some rockets-known as missiles-can be targeted with pinpoint accuracy, but they lack the punch to do much more than bruise.) They also have a nasty tendency to burn their operators if not constructed right, and while the military likes things to work right, they're also massive cheapskates. Everything is made by the lowest bidder, and those inherently dangerous, slow, inaccurate rockets cost many times more than a bullet. Expensive, finnicky weapons funded by skinflints tend to be things best avoided. Furthermore, if the rocket explodes, similar to Throw Down the Bomblet, you don't want to be anywhere near the thing. "Friendly Fire" isn't.

These have an odd tendency to be depicted as a Super Wrist-Gadget in fiction.

There is some overlap with the Flare Gun trope, as flares are rocket propelled, and are fired from a modified 12-gauge shell. This is more for practical reasons than Rule of Cool, since they're usually fired from a dinky plastic launcher that can't hold any pressure itself. Since they aren't actual weapons, they don't have to be at all accurate (all they need to hit is the sky), and actually need to be as flashy as possible to achieve their true goal of attracting the attention of Search-and-Rescue personnel. As a good rule-of-thumb, all flare guns (barring specific outliers that shall not be counted) are Pocket Rocket Launchers, but not all Pocket Rocket Launchers are flare guns.

Not to be confused with Hand Cannon, which is about very large conventional handguns, or a Grenade Launcher, which fires explosive projectiles that don't propel themselves with an engine like a rocket.

The trope name is based off the "pocket rocket," a type of motorcycle noted for both small size ("pocket") and high speed ("rocket").

May or may not be a Homing Projectile. A subtrope of Fantastic Firearms.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space
    • While buying weapons, Captain Proton rejects a rocket pistol designed for Outer Space because practical experience has shown that the rocket-propelled bullets bounce off if they're too close to their target because they haven't accelerated to full velocity. Later The Dragon empties a rocket gun at point blank range at our heroes and is amazed when they're unharmed.
    • Proton is also offered a Mix-and-Match Weapon with a Long List of options culminating in a "rocket-boosted terminal-guided multi-stage thermonuclear anti-satellite minimissile."
  • Protoculture Effect has wrist-mounted micro-missile launchers as a standard weapon built into Veritech "Cyclone" (swaps between a battle harness and a motorbike) Powered Armor, and hip-mounted clip-on versions as well. Each rocket is about the size of the average thumb and explodes in a similar blast radius to assault grenades.
  • Rocketship Voyager. In a flashback to the mutiny on the Valkyrie, Captain Qu shoots one of the female mutineers with a rocket pistol. She's wearing an early model spacesuit using pure oxygen and the still-burning propellant sets it on fire.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Agent Cody Banks: Destination London has a fight scene in the London Metro with a villain wielding a rocket launcher disguised as a Maglight (a sort of big, sturdy flashlight that can be used as a cudgel if necessary). It extends to twice its length and accepts small rockets dropped down the lamp bell.
  • The action-flick B movie Blood Debts infamously ends with the protagonist blowing up the villain with a pistol-size rocket launcher concealed up his sleeve.
  • The film Collision Course features a Gyrojet pistol as the weapon of choice for the Big Bad. The movie was released in 1989, long after the Gyrojet had ceased production, and thus finding multiple people shot with the pistol's rounds becomes sure proof that the police is dealing with a Serial Killer.
  • In The Delta Force, the Deltas' motorcycles are heavily armed, including front and rear missile launchers that shoot rockets about the size of a crossbow bolt. They're used to blow up enemy vehicles in the climactic raid.
  • Desperado: Quino, one of El Mariachi's compadres wields a rocket launcher built into a guitar case, which is lightweight enough to flip up onto his shoulder when aiming.
  • James Bond:
  • Johnny English Reborn: One of Johnny's spy gadgets is a rocket launcher small enough to be disguised as an umbrella.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: Several of Tony Stark's Iron Man suits starting with the Mark Inote  are armed with small missile launchers.
    • In Iron Man, he uses shoulder-mounted launchers to handle a Hostage Situation while intervening against the Ten Rings in Afghanistan, simultaneously killing the half-dozen hostage takers with headshots. It also packs a larger wrist-mounted missile capable of killing a tank.
    • Iron Man 2: Rhodey's War Machine suit is created by upgrading Tony's old Mark II suit with extra weapons provided by Justin Hammer's company. These include a shoulder-launched missile about an inch across which Hammer talks up as a bunker-buster he calls "the Ex-Wife". It turns out to be a dud.
    • In The Avengers, Tony's Mark 7 suit has tiny rocket launchers in both shoulders, which he uses to throw a Macross Missile Massacre at the first wave of Chitauri hover bikes, but he runs out of ammunition before he can make much of a dent in their numbers.
  • In Megaforce, the Megaforce’s motorcycles carry a couple of small missiles (about the size of a marker) on their handles, which notably have enough explosive power to take out a tank.
  • The hero of Moon Zero Two wields a gyrojet revolver, as befitting of its Space Western theme. What does a cowboy use? A six-gun. What does a space hero use? Due to some wheedling by MBA, a gyrojet, rather than a lazer gun like what might come to mind at first.
  • The 1966 film Murderers Row (made two years after You Only Live Twice) features a Gyrojet pistol used by the Big Bad to intimidate a woman necessary to the climactic theft. The big bad uses the gun's (even more rare) Lancejet attachment (darts the user clipped on to the front of the barrel for the jets to propel) for said purpose. The cigarette-concealed mini-rockets of YOLT make a reappearance in this film, as well.
  • In No Escape (1994) a major Chekhov's Gun is a rocket launcher Robbins steals from the Outsiders' arsenal, a gun that is fired by vaporizing most of the Outsiders in a gigantic explosion in the Final Battle. The launcher looks and is the size of a high-tech rifle.
  • The Royal Scoundrel, a Buddy Cop Show parody starring Tony Leung Chiu-wai has Leung's character carrying around a homemade portable grenade launcher, which he repeatedly claims it to be effective, but never getting to use it as his Friend on the Force makes fun of his gadget. Until a shootout occurs late in the third act, at which point Leung remembers his homemade gadget in his pocket, fires it... and blows up four vehicles full of mooks. Even Leung himself is surprised at its firepower.
  • Runaway. As well as his Killer Robots, Dr. Luther invents (and uses) a pistol firing projectiles that act like a tiny guided missiles, homing in on an individual's thermal signature.
    Sgt. James: This is a police nightmare. We used to worry about terrorists getting A-bombs? The real problem is this microelectronics stuff. I mean, a smart bullet?
  • In Star Wars, Jango Fett's armor has a single-shot missile launcher on the top of his jetpack; the missile is about as big around as his wrist and as long as his forearm. He fires it at Obi-Wan Kenobi during their fight on Kamino in Attack of the Clones, narrowly missing him. The missile is also present under Boba Fett's ownership in the original trilogy and is pointed out in the reference books, along with a wrist-mounted launcher(pictured above) and micro-rockets in the kneepads, but is never used.

    Literature 
  • In the novel Armageddon 2419 AD, which later inspired the Buck Rogers comics, semi-automatic rocket launchers the size of assault rifles are the signature weapon of the American gangs fighting the Han Empire. The 1960s re-release has a note that the weapon is descended from the bazooka, which protagonist Anthony Rogers (from 1927) remembers as a comedian's musical instrument.
  • The rocket launcher used in the Doom novelization uses rockets about the size of a "D"-battery, justifying how the one from the game had such a big magazine size.
  • Most anti-personnel weapons in The Expanse are "recoilless" guns that fire self-contained rockets. They come in pistol and bracer-mounted varieties, sometimes in a three-barreled minigun configuration in the latter case.
  • Smoothbore firearms firing rocket-propelled projectiles are mentioned in the novels by Harry Harrison, including A Stainless Steel Rat is Born and Starworld
    Jan Kulozik: This is a standard issue .65 calibre, rifleless pistol. It fires rocket slugs that can blow a hole through a cow.
  • In the The Man from U.N.C.L.E. tie-in novel "The Monster Wheel Affair," a Gyrojet pistol is used by the Big Bad of the book . It's noted that it's a pretty strange gun for him to be carrying, a sure sign of overkill, and then dismissed by Napoleon Solo as more proof of the man's megalomania.
  • In Old Man's War, the standard-issue weapon is the MP (Multi-Purpose)-35, a gun that can adapt itself for whatever role the user needs by interfacing with their BrainPal neuro-implant to modify the brick of nanomachines it uses for Universal Ammo, including launching salvoes of miniature missiles.
  • In the Star Wars Legends novel; Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter, during a brief fight with Maul in close quarters, the bounty hunter Mahwi Lhinn tries blasting him with a wrist-mounted rocket launcher. Maul escapes by slicing through a wall with his lightsaber, while Lhinn is killed by the explosion.
  • The War Against the Chtorr. A malfunctioning Spider Tank robot orders Jim McCarthy to drop his weapons. He drops his weapon and backpack, then remotely-triggers the rockets in the latter to provide a distraction while he makes a run for the bigger rocket launcher in his jeep.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Andromeda the High Guard's force lances carry a set of micro-drones that can be used as homing kinetic missiles or intercepting other projectiles.
  • The Book of Boba Fett:
    • In the first episode, the titular character uses micro-rockets fired from his Mandalorian gauntlets against a group of assassins.
    • In the first season finale, Boba Fett uses both his backpack missile and tiny one-shot rocket launchers that are built into the knee pads of his armor.
  • The Mandalorian:
    • Din Djarin's "Whistling Birds" are tiny self-guided antipersonnel missiles fired from a launcher on his left wristguard.
    • Boba Fetts' backpack missile reappears in season 2: Cobb Vanth uses it to blow up a transport full of goons and distract the Krayt dragon in "The Marshal". Later, in "The Tragedy", Boba Fett regains his armor from Din and puts the full arsenal(see film section) to use.
  • Street Hawk has the titular Cool Bike get a major weapons upgrade in only its 2nd episode. It's powerful particle beam weapon has some drawbacks so it gets a combination of a pair of 7.62mm machine guns and rocket launchers. These weapons have somehow been cut down to the size of a toaster oven.
  • The pilot episode of Wiseguy has an arms dealer involved in producing a combination submachine gun/rocket launcher (likely inspired by the Morgan M-101C submachine gun, which never saw production).
    Sykes: Norman Winfield created the greatest single hand weapon to date. Capable of firing twenty rounds per second, it is also a compact rocket launcher.
    Steelgrave: Yeah, and I've got a toaster that makes popcorn. So what?
    Sykes: Any number of men armed with the WL-15 is increased in strength tenfold. Any tiny nation—even a small band of guerillas totaling only one hundred—can now be the equivalent to a thousand men.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Gyrojet weapons are fairly common small arms in Roleplaying games set in the Battletech universe.
  • In Buck Rogers XXVC, miniature rocket launchers (pistol and rifle sized) are a standard weapon type of the 25th Century, using "smart shells" that make them ignore things like shooting around corners (the description of the weapon is similar to a gyrojet with target-seeking ammo; an evolution of the rocket guns from the book and newspaper comic strip). The problem then becomes that personal electronic spoofing devices that play havoc with the smart shells' sensors are also a standard method of protection, which means that Buck's old-school .45 revolver is a very awesome weapon because it cannot be electronically spoofed, with its only drawback being that it's hard to obtain ammunition for it.
  • In Coriolis: The Third Horizon guns that fire small explosive rockets are called "Vulcan" weapons and common throughout the Third Horizon because they're relatively easy to copy compared to, say, accelerator guns.
  • Cyberpunk 2020 has gyrojet weaponry, and its upgraded variant, ramjet weaponry, which uses a rocket to get the projectile up to speed until the ramjet can take over, increasing its bullet speed and damage. By ''Cybergeneration'", Gyrojet weapons have become a standard firearm alongside regular lead-spitters (the Hand Wave being that technology has finally advanced enough to iron out the weapon's inherent bugs). Two advantages the weapon has is the capacity to launch a variety of warheads (including of course high explosives) and that they are conventionally set to "fire-and-forget" mode.
    • In the Cyberpunk rebranding, mini-missile launchers are a ubiquitous heavy weapon of the setting, available both as a regular weapon and as an option for cybernetic limbs.
  • In d20 Modern, gyrojet weapons are part of the equipment added to the game in the expansion book "D20 Future Tech". The examples provided are a pistol (roughly the size of a .45) and a "rifle" (the size of an M-4 carbine).
  • Eclipse Phase has micro-missile launchers, including pistols and wrist-mounted versions.
  • The Elysium sourcebook for Mutant: Year Zero adds gyrojet weapons (available in pistol and rifle varieties). The weapons and their ammo are extremely expensive and hard to acquire, but the gyrojet rounds explode with the force of a hand grenade when they hit a target.
  • Mini-missiles are ubiquitous weapons in Rifts, mounted on everything from shoulder-firing launchers to starships.
  • Star Finder has a weapon called the "Multistage Rifle," a rifle-sized gun firing explosive rockets with two or more disposable stages to extend its range. When one rocket is out of fuel, it drops away and the next one starts up, similar to an Apollo or Soyuz rocket.
  • Star Frontiers Gyrojet weapons come in pistol and rifle sizes and fire small explosive rockets. When compared to guns that fire regular bullets they do twice as much damage, but they carry half as many shots, can't be used to make fully-automatic burst attacks, and have no point blank range category (as the rockets are still gaining speed at less than 5 meters).
  • Transhuman Space offers micro-missile and mini-missile pods; the latter is roughly rifle sized, but the former is more or less pistol sized, and could genuinely fit in a large pocket. These have the advantage over conventional forearms of launching larger projectiles, which — given the setting's advanced-near-future technology — can have homing capability and carry a variety of interesting warheads.
  • In Traveller, Gyrojet weapons are one of the available weapon options. They are balanced out by the fact that they are more expensive than regular ammunition, and needing distance to build up speed, making point-blank shooting almost useless.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Bolters are a type of gun that fire armor-piercing rockets, assisted by a cold-launch system consisting of a conventional explosive cartridgenote . They also tend to be semi- or fully automatic.
      • The sort used by the bio-augmented Space Marines are .75 caliber, firing rounds that weigh in at about the size of a 10-gauge shotgun shell. Deathwatch and Sternguard marines are issued with bolts carrying special warheads, such as Anti-Magic Psybolts, Hellfire bolts that explode into hundreds of flechettes poisoned with a potent chemical weapon (the emponymous Hellfire, a mutagenic acid that was developed especially for fighting Tyranids), proximity-fused Metal Storm bolts that explode into blasts of shrapnel, Vengeance rounds that EMP enemies (made to kill Traitor Marines wearing Powered Armor, hence the name. The EMP wrecks the armors circuits, sure, but it also heats the ceramite to the melting point, cooking anyone wearing it), and Dragonfire bolts that burst into clouds of flame. Scouts are equipped with the silenced "Stalker" version that replaces the cold-launch cartridge with a capsule of pressurized gas, and sport a teensy computer in them that makes them capable of seeking a designated target. Tactical marines can be equipped with Kraken rounds, which have exploding penetrators forged from Adamantium. The name comes from the wound channels, which resemble the tentacles of a sea monster. A nice side-effect is that the denser core makes the bolts fly farther. There are many more, but there's some overlap and this example is plenty long enough already.
      • Their big brother, the Heavy Bolter, fires 1.0 caliber rounds. While most are mounted on vehicles (the Land Raider Crusader carrying a whopping twelve of them) they can also be man-portable, by a single specialist Space Marine or a two-man imperial guard team.
    • The Aeldari Reaper Launcher is a rifle-sized mitralleuse-style weapon that fires a salvo of small armor-piercing rockets. It's roughly analogous to the Imperium's Heavy Bolter, except for its (lore-only) fancypants targeting suite that lets its wielder aim from the muzzle and see in the dark. The "Exarch" (kinda like a sergeant but more complicated; basically, Aeldari can get addicted to their jobs) version, called a "Tempest Launcher," can arc their shots to bombard entire enemy squads at once.
    • Ork Rokkit Launchas are handheld weapons that can fire salvoes of rockets at the general vicinity of the target (orks and accuracy are not on speaking terms). The weapon (in some cases; orks and mass-production are also estranged) consists of an assault rifle stock with a rocket rack carrying half-a-dozen antitank rockets mounted on the barrel (this is the model used for Dawn of War II) or a single, big rocket fired from a rifle receiver (DoW 1).

    Toys 
  • Metalhead from G.I. Joe, a member of the Iron Grenadiers, totes around missile racks on his back and thighs which he uses in combat. Every incarnation of the character is shown to be a bit unhinged, which one might expect from a man strapping high explosives to himself.

    Video Games 
  • ANNO: Mutationem: The Tunguska missile launcher can shoot a total of three missiles at enemies upon locking on at its targets, and is carried around with ease.
  • The Speargun from Bioshock 2 has rocket-propelled spears as one of its Abnormal Ammunitions. The rocket starts up as soon as the spear exits the bowgun. The flaming plume does just as much damage to enemies as the time-delayed explosion, acting as a flamethrower and setting everything around the poor schmuck on fire as they flail around in pain.
  • Borderlands:
    • Carnage shotguns fire a (usually) high-explosive rocket.
    • From Borderlands 2 onward, Torgue manufactures shotguns, pistols (one of them even called the Pocket Rocket), and assault rifles that utilize small rockets with high-explosive warheads. They also license the technology to the other gun companies on Pandora, which fire slightly smaller rockets at about half the efficiency. By 3, they can swap between Impact fuse and HESH modes, and may incorporate elemental effects due to the new way the game handles Explosive weapons (as bonus Splash Damage rather than an element in and of itself).
      • Torgue Engineers from the "Mr. Torgue's Capaign of Carnage!" DLC have a small rapid-fire rocket launcher in their back-mounted turret.
    • In Borderlands 3, Vladof (think the arms manufacturer equivalent of those guys who make Chet Guevara T-shirts) has underbarrel mini-rocket launchers as a possible Secondary Fire mode for their pistols and sniper rifles. The Logical Extreme of this is the legendary Ogre assault rifle, which fires nothing BUT mini rockets.
  • Bullet Storm:
    • The pistol has a rocket launcher secondary fire mode. For some reason, it's on a timed fuse, and has enough thrust to carry an enemy up into the air. Enemy mooks (Flaregunners) use this mode exclusively.
    • The Penetrator is a bizzarre rifle-sized weapon that fires rocket-propelled drill bits, which can screw enemies onto walls, floors, ceilings, and each other.
  • In Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3: Paradox Game Mod, the Medeterranian Syndicate arms its basic troops with gyrojet guns that get a damage boost at long range.
  • Contra uses a generic assault rifle sprite for it's various rocket launchers: short-range Crush rockets, target-seeking Homing missiles, a three-round-burst Rocket Launcher (rockets emerge abreast rather than single-file) that instagibs weak enemies without detonating and harm strong ones, and the Prototype Weapon, which creates a Macross Missile Massacre all by itself by launching a cluster missile that bursts into a shotgun-like spread of kamikaze drones.
  • In Control, the Service Weapon can take many forms while staying roughly the size of a pistol, one of which is a rocket launcher.
  • Crime Wave from Access software was a computer game from either 1989 or 1990. You are super crime-fighter Luke McCabe. The game had some similarities with Midway/Williams arcade game NARC including Luke's weapon, a high-tech assault rifle that had a small underslung rocket launcher.
  • In Crusader, the AR-7 is a rifle-sized mini-rocket launcher that shoots out a three-missile burst in a fan pattern that will cause lots of collateral damage, every time the Silencer fires. The game's manual provides details like the fact that it's an experimental weapon, that the mini-missiles won't arm until they have flown 50 feet away from the rifle, and also renames the gun as the "SW-404 "Spitfire" Anti-Personnel Multiple Rocket Launcher".
  • Dead Space 3 introduces a modular weapon system consisting of tool parts attached to various cores. By adding the Directed Suspension Field barrel to a Survey Charge core, you create an assault-rifle sized (it's only for two-handed frames) rocket launcher that can be mounted either as primary or secondary fire. Certain Gun Accessories can make it an Elemental Weapon as well, in Flame, Electric, Acid, or Stasis varieties. Sadly, it only carries two shots unless you add a huge ammount of + Ammo Capacity chips to it, whereupon it gains a third shot. And unless you also add in the Safety Guard (a late-game "scope" that protects you from explosive damage), you're going to blow yourself up with it, too
  • Destiny 2:
    • The exotic Fusion Rifle Jotünn functions in this manner. It fires a tracking projectile that explodes and leaves behind an area of flames where said projectile explodes.
    • The Mountaintop was a pinnacle Grenade Launcher that had the unique perk "Micro Missile," granting the grenade fired no projectile arc.
  • Doom:
    • As mentioned above, the rocket launcher from classic games had a very large magazine size: 50 rounds; double that of the player has the Backpack. It's also no bigger or harder to carry than the plasma rifle.
    • An alt-fire mode for the Assault Rifle in Doom (2016) is a miniature heat-seeking missile rack, that fires in bursts of six. After achieving Weapon Mastery, it launches an uninterupted stream of them. It makes a return in Doom Eternal, this time mounted on a bigger gun but otherwise unchanged.
  • Doom Troopers has Capitol Doom Trooper, Mitch Hunter have a small rocket launcher built into his assault rifle.
  • Duke Nukem 3D has a pair of gauntlets that launch small rockets from the knuckles, up to thirty rockets maximum. Ammo for these gauntlets is scarce, so it's wise to save this weapon for use against the Final Boss.
  • Enter the Gungeon:
    • A common passive item is the "Rocket-Propelled Bullet," which increases the projectile velocity of non-hitscan weaponry.
    • The Yari Launcher is a weapon that resembles a shotgun, and burst-fires homing missiles.
    • The Jetpack active item and Backpack passive item combine to allow the player to launch a rocket when activating the jetpack.
    • The Zorgun fires a random explosive when its magazine is emptied, including a rocket-propelled grenade. The Alien Engine allows it to fire three such projectiles as its clip empties, and the Shadow Bullet's bonus projectiles will always be one of these special rounds.
  • The modular assault rifle in Extermination has an underslung rocket launcher attachment, hidden in various peices across the map. While it's more powerful than the grenade launcher, it takes up all your other slots as well (or, rather, its components all fit into your slots and add up to a rocket launcher), making it a touch Awesome, but Impractical.
  • F.I.S.T.: Forged in Shadow Torch: While Rayton is missing his trademark Power Fist, and is thrown in a cell, he can obtain a two-shot rocket launcher that resembles a shotgun.
  • Halo Infinite
    • The Hydra MLRS, a rocket-firing carbine with enough strength to two-shot Made of Iron aliens and Super Soldiers, is a subversion, in that the darn thing weighs in at 25 pounds fully loaded, making it just as (if not more) unwieldy and unpleasant to carry as any full-sized rocket launcher, despite being the size of, looking, and handling like a rifle. Functionally, the Hydra is an Expy of the Doom/Quake rocket launcher, with extremely similar fire rate and relative damage, serving as an anti-personnel rocket launcher compared to the slower but more powerful standard Halo M41 SPNKR missile launcher.
    • It also introduces the Skewer, which is only this for the Jiralhane (8-foot tall gorilla-like aliens colloquially known as "Brutes") who invented it. For everyone else, it's a full-sized rocket launcher that shoots exploding swords with a BFS for a bayonet.
  • Jet Force Gemini has two different rocket launchers, the Homing Missiles and the Tri-Rocket Launcher. While bulkier than your other weapons, engine limitations required both to be compact enough to be held like handguns.
  • In the Metal Slug games, every weapon besides the pistol and (for the games that have it) the Zantetsu Sword uses the machine gun sprite, including the Rocket Launcher (high damage rockets with slow travel and a slight homing capability), Enemy Chaser (high travel speed, greater homing capability missiles), Super Grenade (dumbfire rocket-propelled grenades with similar power to a tank shell), and Iron Lizard (novelty weapon; rocket-propelled toy cars carrying a bomb).
  • In the Metroid games, Samus' Arm Cannon is about the size of her forearm, but can swap between an energy beam gun and a rocket/missile launcher without changing size. It can hold up to 255 rockets, if you find all the Missile Tanks. And fire the even bigger Super Missiles in games where they're separate missile weapons.
  • NARC had one of the earliest examples of this kind of weapon. Your DEA agent appears to be carrying a pair of carbines or submachine guns, but one of those is actually a powerful rocket launcher.
  • In No One Lives Forever, one of the game's weapons is a five-shot rocket launcher concealed within a briefcase. It is named, appropriately enough, the "Briefcase Rocket Launcher".
  • In Phantom Doctrine, the Gyrojet pistol is the most powerful handgun available in the game, available only after the agents have completed Black Ops Firearms Drill training. The game's version of the Gyrojet accepts a wide variety of modifications, including (oddly enough) silencers.
  • Ratchet & Clank: The RYNO launchers are the most powerful weapons in the games, blasting multiple missiles at enemies.
  • In Resident Evil Village, a Gyrojet pistol is available for purchase after beating the "Village of Shadows" difficulty. It is one of the most expensive handguns available for purchase (more than the Magnum Research BFR/"Handcannon PZ") and appropriately enough it's a more destructive Hand Cannon with its capacity of hurting multiple enemies with the rocket's explosion.
  • Russian General Aleksandr's Shock Troops from Rise of the Reds use 30mm gyrojet assault rifles with explosive rounds that are more powerful than the standard assault rifle used by most basic infantry, giving them the firepower to threaten tanks and buildings as well as infantry. This complements their vehicle-stunning Lightning Gun very well.
  • Star Wars: Battlefront II:
    • The Bulldog RLR is a pistol used by Magnaguards that fires anti-infantry homing rockets.
    • Super Battle Droids utilize wrist-mounted rocket launchers in place of thrown grenades.
    • Boba Fett also uses wrist-mounted rocket launchers.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic: Powertechs have a variety of small missile weapons. They're able to fire antipersonnel rockets from their wristguards, and from back-mounted launchers that are stored in Hammerspace when not in use.
  • Warframe features Angstrum, a Corpus-produced sidearm that shoots tiny explosive rockets; and Kulstar, a Grineer-produced sidearm that shoots torpedoes that fragment into grenades. The warframe Gauss also has two signature weapons: Akarius and Acceltra, a pair of pistols and a machine gun respectively that shoot missiles that become explosive after reaching a safe distance from the gun's user.
  • Wolfenstein:
    • In Wolfenstein 3-D, some bosses note  use a rocket launcher that both looks and is wielded like an incredibly large pistol.
    • In Wolfenstein: The New Order, the Assault Rifle (1960) has an underbarrel drum-fed rocket launcher attachment that loads 8 shots.
  • The World Is Not Enough: The mission in the Balkan Rig has James Bond being ambushed by enemy helicopters, which he needs to take down using a compact-sized rocket launcher disguised as a camcorder.

    Web Comics 
  • 21st Century Fox:
    • Arms dealer Doctor Shere Kaos has his Bodyguard Babes armed with target-seeking gyroget pistols.
    • Jack's hyeena mercenary bodyguard from the Kaldestan arc has a rocket-launching spear. The rockets are contained in a very big magazine in the back end.

    Web Original 
  • Atomic Rockets calls these simply "rocket guns," and specifically name-drops the gyrojet. It notes that the launchers are very light and cheap (which is great for spaceships with conventional engines, as they have very strict weight restrictions), and due to the nature of rockets, are nearly silent, and have next to no heat buildup or recoil (recoil is way less of a problem than you might think in zero-gee combat-in short, a soldier in full battledress, plus gun, outmasses a bullet so much that they'd go precisely nowhere even if they don't Take Cover!, which they of course will; barring deliberately using the gun as a very inefficient thruster for some reason-but nobody likes having their guns melt; especially if they burn a hole in your spacesuit doing so). With specialized ammo (various kinds of Trick Bomb warheads, and/or dial-a-range rounds to prevent decompression of a habitable spaceship compartment), it could be a great future-tech weapon to arm your characters with.
  • Future War Stories has an entire article dedicated to rocket-firing guns. It notes a very salient point that A.R. did not: It's very easy to make a miniature Multiple-Launch Assault System by having several barrels next to each other, something regular guns can't do because they have to get rid of shells somewhere.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • The Gyrojet, invented in 1965, was a carbine-sized firearm along with a more well-known pistol variant that used lightweight rockets for ammo instead of bullets (despite popular conception, these rockets were functionally the same as a bullet and were not explosive). It was too inaccurate for combat and suffered from a minimum effective range within which the rocket was moving too slowly to reliably kill, as well as a maximum effective range beyond which the rocket would tear itself apart through centrifugal force. These problems led the US military, embroiled in the Vietnam War at the time, to stick with traditional firearms, and the company responsible for the Gyrojet didn't last long.
  • A Spiritual Successor to the gyrojet, called the "pogojet" was invented in 2015. The rocket first forcibly extends a telescoping piston (the "pogo") that cold-launches the rocket, and creates enough drag to keep it from killing anyone-it's a deterrent, rather than a lethal weapon.
  • Beating out the Gyrojet by a hundred years were the Minné Volcanic Cartridges, which packed the propellant into the bullet. These also had quite a few problems, as the bullet's mass would rapidly change in-flight, disrupting its aerodynamics.
  • The USA's National Firearms Act declares a rocket over four ounces, or carrying explosives of any size (including incendiary or chemical warheads), to be a Destructive Device with "no sporting purpose," and it's illegal for a private citizen to own one.
  • For those with more balls than brains, firework fights. Yes, some people shoot fireworks at each other for fun, and a lot of them are hurt or killed.
  • The ancient Chinese utilized a small, musket-sized launcher that fired a quiver's worth of rocket-propelled arrows in a shotgun-like spread.
  • The Danes, as early as 1848, issued some soldiers with small rocket-propelled incendiary grenades that fit into their guns, called Voss rockets, instead of traditional rifle grenades. They were used in a couple of conflicts (namely, the two Danish-Prussian wars), but didn't see much use. While effective due to the use of the standard load of black powder used as a kick-charge, they became illegal by 1869 due to the signing of an international treaty banning explosive weaponry weighing in at under 400 grams.
  • Those Wacky Nazis tested with a 9mm rocket-propelled bullet of varying lengths that they called the "S-Munition" as part of an experiment. The idea was to create a constant pressure wave behind the projectile to increase its velocity (and thereby its range and damage profile). While their records state that they would be fired from a smoothbore gun similar to the MP-4 Sturmgerwer, no such device was ever found. Lots of rounds though. They also tried creating an Anti-Air rocket launcher that rivalled a regular shoulder-carry one, but had several (the working protoype had 4 and the improved iteration had 9) 20mm barrels strapped together. They called it the "Fleigerfaust," which means "plane-fist."
  • One that was just a hoax: In 1934, one Clyde Farrell claimed to have invented a rocket-launching, belt-fed SMG that weighed about three pounds. He never submitted the plans for patent, nor did he demonstrate it to the military (despite his claims to the magazine "Modern Mechanix").
  • One of the closest modern examples in Real Life thus far is the Raytheon Pike, a small guided missile that can be fired from a 40mm grenade launcher (currently the M320 or the FN EGLM).
  • A similar weapon, the AeroVironment Switchblade, is a guided missile (a "loitering munition," which does exactly what it says it does) that can be launched from a soldier's backpack, just like a certain bounty hunter from a certain Space Opera.

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