- "A portable, shoulder-launched, anti-tank weapon that fires explosive warheads. Very effective for taking down vehicles or large groups of assailants."
- ―GTA V description on the Rockstar Games Social Club.
The Rocket Launcher is among the most powerful weapons in the series, being able to destroy almost anything that is able to be damaged in one single shot. The chief advantage of this weapon is its destructive power and large area effect (with its blast being capable of inflicting heavy damage several meters away from the point of impact). Although its rockets self-destruct after traveling a certain distance (it does not always happen), its range remains impressive. The weapon's disadvantages are its slow aiming, and its potential to seriously injure or kill the operator if a rocket detonates at close range. Its weight is also an issue — the protagonist will be slowed to a walking pace while the rocket launcher is equipped in all games, excluding Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories.
Grand Theft Auto 1 — Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
- "Supposedly illegal. Banned for civilian use. Have been appearing on the streets of Vice City for the past couples of years, Present extreme danger for public order. I thought we sold all of these things to corrupt dictators and people fighting the Russians?"
- ―GTA Vice City Website.
Grand Theft Auto 1's rocket launcher has no obvious real life counterpart, while the GTA London version looks like a WWII-Era Panzerschreck; as for the Grand Theft Auto 2 variant, it look very much like a MK153 Mod SMAW with some differences in the grip.
In Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, the rocket launcher resembles a M72 LAW rocket launcher, with some aesthetic differences (the GTA III version is erroneously held by the unfolded end cap underneath and fired through a scope, unlike the real life M72 LAW, whilst the Vice City Stories version has a pistol grip on the underside, which the M72 does not have).
In the rest of the 3D Universe games, the rocket launcher is a Russian RPG-7 portable anti-tank rocket launcher. It is a useful weapon for starting gang wars in GTA San Andreas, as its splash damage can be used to kill a group of enemy gangsters in one shot. The rocket launcher is an incredibly powerful weapon and an errant shot at nearby objects could kill its user.
GTA IV — GTA V
- "Enemy goon or vehicle? It doesn't matter what you target: Point this steel finger of destruction at it, and witness its obliteration."
- — Description at GTA CW.
In the HD Universe, the rocket launcher again resembles the Russian RPG-7 portable anti-tank grenade launcher; however, it is not fitted with the PGO-7 optical sight usually seen on the launchers. Its front cross-hair is more like a standard gun sight. Unlike the 3D Universe, the player aims the rocket launcher from the over-the-shoulder perspective, allowing the player to move while aiming. Also, the rocket can be fired while in cover. Because of Grand Theft Auto IV's emphasis on realism, a rocket can be deflected if the tip of the rocket does not hit a solid object. This is the most powerful weapon in the game, able to take on cars, trucks, enemy players, motorcycles, and even the fearsome Annihilator gunship. Unlike other GTA games, the player does not explicitly need a direct hit on a helicopter to destroy it as the force of a self-detonating rocket can cause a helicopter pilot to crash. In Grand Theft Auto V, it is less accurate, but even more powerful. Its appearance mostly remains the same as the one in GTA IV, with the exception that the rear has an hexagonal shape and is more "streamlined" or modernized. In the enhanced version, the front iron sight is taken from an M136 AT4. Its ineffectiveness against moving targets is compensated by the new Homing Launcher.
The Rocket Launcher can be purchased at the back-alley gun shops for $15,000 and each rocket will cost $5,000. The Rocket Launcher cannot be obtained from Little Jacob in GTA IV. However, the player can obtain a Rocket Launcher from Terry Thorpe in The Lost and Damned or from Armando Torres in The Ballad of Gay Tony for $10,000 for the launcher and $3,500 for each additional rocket. This weapon is available in multiplayer via helicopters, which instantly give players an RPG and full RPG ammo upon entry. The rocket launcher's low carrying capacity of 8 rockets and its high price means that the weapon should be used sparingly.
Customizations (GTA V)
- Rockets (2 rounds) - $100; All for $2000
- Black - Equipped by default
- Army tint - $100
- LSPD tint - $600
Tints that are available for Collector's Editions, Online, and Enhanced Editions:
- Green tint - Free (C.E.);
- Orange tint - Free (C.E.);
- Pink tint - Free (C.E.);
- Gold tint - Free (C.E.);
- Platinum tint - Free (C.E);
Grand Theft Auto III
- Rockford, Staunton Island - Available to buy from Phil Cassidy's Army Surplus after completion of Arms Shortage. ($25,000)
- Cedar Grove, Shoreside Vale - On the west side of the roof of the large pink house at the west end of The Homes (closest to Cochrane Dam). To get this weapon icon, wedge an Ambulance under the lowest part of the roof on the east side of the house, climb the Ambulance then to the roof, then go west along the south side of the roof to reach it. Another way to reach it, is simply jump over the roof at the nearest corner to the garage in the east side of the house, where the roof almost touches the ground.
- Spawns at every safehouse after collecting all 100 hidden packages.
- The rocket launcher can be gotten right at the start of the game, before a single mission is completed provided the player does two things. 1. Use the jump the broken Callahan Bridge by using the two girders trick to get to Staunton Island and Shoreside Vale to collect the hidden packages there and 2. For the hidden package hanging on the broken draw bridge linking Staunton and Shoreside, use the dodo and fly up there. The trick is use the dodo and lift off of the side slanted runway at Francis International. Once lifted off, fly south, away from draw bridge rather than make the hard 180 degrees turn. This is because after leaving Liberty City for a bit, the game will automatically turn the player around and at the city. This means if the player is flying away from it, after a bit, he will be pointed directly at the bridge. This also give the player plenty of distance to adjust the height and aim point. The aim point is the third hole between the bridge support. Try and aim at it so the wing will bounce off of one the support and crash onto the bridge without flying through the bridge. Do not stay too close to the edge as that may cause the plane to skid too far and hit the water below. Once on the bridge it's easy to get at the hidden package.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
- Phil's Place, Little Haiti - The weapon is available for purchase here after completion of Boomshine Saigon. ($8,000)
- Hooker Inn, Viceport - Located in the swimming pool, directly after the entrance arch.
- Spawns at the Ocean View Hotel, the Hyman Condo, and the Vercetti Estate after collecting 70 hidden packages.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
- Downtown, Los Santos - On the roof of a building with large radio antenna. One must use a helicopter, a plane or a jetpack to reach it.
- Downtown, San Fierro - On the helipad of the San Fierro Police Headquarters (only during Toreno's Last Flight). It will remain at the same spot if not taken during the mission.
- Tierra Robada - Inside Mike Toreno's ranch upon completion of Vertical Bird.
- Las Venturas Airport, Las Venturas - Beside some freighters north of the garage for the AT-400.
- The Emerald Isle, Las Venturas - Two are located here, one on the 8th floor of the garage, the other on a corner of the roof.
- By activating the Tier 1 Thugs tools cheat which gives an RPG and any other weapons.
- From pedestrians (only available when cheats 'everyone is armed' and/or 'riot' are activated).
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories
- Francis International Airport, Shoreside Vale - Underneath the Shoreside Lift Bridge.
- Bedford Point, Staunton Island - Can be bought from Phil Cassidy's Fully Cocked Gun Shop after completing False Idols. ($9,000)
- Spawns at each safehouse after collecting 90 hidden packages.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
- Starfish Island - From the western bridge, it is at the front of the second house on the left.
- Ocean Beach - Available at the Ammu-Nation store after completing the mission "Turn On, Tune In, Bug Out" for $9,000 but the price will decrease to $6,750 after completing Phil's Shooting Range.
Grand Theft Auto IV
- Northwood, Algonquin - Can be found on a large boulder in the water north of Northwood. This is the easiest RPG pickup in the city.
- Castle Gardens, Algonquin - Can be found in an alcove on the southeastern partition of the construction site seen in the mission Deconstruction for Beginners. The RPG is inside an alcove facing the water, and can only be reached by boat or with careful use of a helicopter.
- Alderney City, Alderney - Can be found on the roof of the Kakagawa Building near AutoEroticar. There is no roof access from the street, so a helicopter is needed.
- Acter Industrial Park, Alderney - On a corner of a platform of the sunken cargo ship situated the the far west of the district.
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
Grand Theft Auto V
- Can be purchased at Ammu-Nation for $6,500.
- National Office Of Security Enforcement - On top of the building, next to the helipad, where the Buzzard helicopter spawns.
- At the top of the western part of La Puerta Freeway Bridge, next to Los Santos International Airport.
- Chiliad Mountain State Wilderness - Inside Altruist Camp, on the ground in the church porch.
- Alamo Sea - Inside of the sunken Cargo Plane after the mission Minor Turbulence.
- Used by the Military in Fort Zancudo if the player flies an helicopter or an aircraft close to the ground. They will not switch weapons if the player exists their vehicle, so the player can freely kill them and take their weapon, although they must be careful not to get hit, as it will result in an instant death.
- Can be looted from Elwood O'Neil if killed by Franklin during the mission Predator.
Grand Theft Auto Online
- Unlocked at rank 100, then can be purchased for $36,500 at Ammu-Nation.
- Spawns at waves 4, 7 and 10 in survival mode.
- The Rocket Launcher and the basic pistol are the only weapons to appear in every Grand Theft Auto game.
- In all 3D Universe games, excluding Grand Theft Auto Advance, it is possible for a launcher's rockets to be hit by gunfire, knocking them off-course. This is a noticeable occurrence when fighting soldiers, particularly in Vice City.
- Contrary to their depiction in the series, modern rocket launchers cannot be used to commit suicide by firing them at the ground. This occurs due to most rockets being outfitted with a timer fuse, a safety measure that renders the main warhead unable to explode until a rocket has been airborne for a certain period of time.
- In reality, rocket launchers such as the RPG and the LAW should not be fired from confined spaces or when there is an obstacle to the rear. This is because these rockets are not "soft launch" capable, meaning they produce a large back blast when launching their projectile. If this happens in a confined space or when there is an obstacle to the rear, the blast, smoke and concussion can seriously harm or even kill the user when it ricochets off of the obstacle. In reality, such weapons require approximately 150 feet of clear space to the rear in order to be fired safely.
- Rockets (both from launchers and tanks) in GTA 1 have the ability to set buildings on fire for a limited amount of time. Although the fire goes away after a while and leaves no fire damaged markings. When a building is on fire it only burns from the point in which the rocket hit it, the fire will not spread.
- Since Claude always looks downwards, the rocket launcher will make Claude look straight/upwards and hold his head straight.
- In Grand Theft Auto III, pedestrians using Rocket Launchers through cheat codes are incapable of operating the weapon properly. As they adopt the behavior of a character with a normal firearm, they will run up to a target and fire at their feet, killing themselves and anybody standing nearby, or greatly injure them.
- With the use of the "Infinite Ammo" cheat in GTA San Andreas, the RPG gains a greatly increased rate of fire, comparable to a 9mm pistol. The same occurs with the heat-seeking variant.
- In GTA Vice City, continuously firing the RPG with the "Fast Reload" upgrade and swinging the weapon will sometimes cause a rocket to detonate by making contact with the launch tube, injuring the player. A similar quirk is present on the Hydra's rocket pods.
- The projectiles of the GTA Vice City launcher do not explode when fired into the sky.
- When fired point-blank at the mirrors in a safehouse wardrobe, the rockets of the GTA San Andreas model will clip through them and fly for a considerable distance before impacting an invisible object, causing the same fire effect that occurs in normal gameplay. The flames can be seen through the mirror, although the object that was hit cannot be seen. The object is presumably a building/interior in the Hidden Interiors Universe, as the Wardrobe is an interior.
- In GTA San Andreas, there is a glitch with the rocket fired by any firing device: when the rocket is hit by a bullet during flight, the rocket will be redirected/reflected in "random" directions with a much higher speed. This is often seen in multiplayer, when a Hunter fires two rockets to players who are firing at the chopper, the rocket could fly off into random directions. With a jetpack and Micro-SMG, and very decent aiming, one can fend off all incoming missiles in Area 69 by shooting at the rather slow moving missiles.
- In GTA: San Andreas, when CJ equips the Rocket Launcher, his facial expression in-game changes to an angry look.
- When blindfiring from a standing position while facing left, the protagonists of the Liberty City trilogy will release their left hand and fire the RPG using only their right hand. This would be impossible, as RPGs are designed to be fired with the left hand.
- In GTA IV multiplayer, rockets fired at the ground will disappear into the ground for a brief moment before exploding.
- In Grand Theft Auto V, a GTA IV-model Rocket Launcher is hung on the wall of all Ammu-Nation stores. It is not obtainable.
- The RPG's price in GTA V is the cheapest it has ever been in the series at only $6,500.
- In the BradyGames Guide for GTA V, the Rocket Launcher was said to have an optional grip attachment. However, it is not present in the final game. Probably, it would become useless, as there are two main grips for the user's hands and a third one would have no use, unless the hand is moved to the front and it will increase the accuracy. Near the firing grip, there's a small rail that would fit the mentioned attachment.
- In GTA V, during The Big Score (obvious approach), Lester Crest called the RPG the "noob tube". In popular FPS series such as Call of Duty, "noob tube" is a slang term usually used for a grenade launcher. This is a reference to Lester's gaming habit.
- In GTA V enhanced version, there is writing on the side of the barrel that reads "Do not aim at pets or feet!"
- The "aiming at feet" reference is to the Quake video game series having the unique ability to "rocket jump" which allows the user to propel themselves a great amount of distance with the rocket's blast. It is possible to do this with Trevor's special ability, however, it does not propel him very far.
- In GTA Online, the RPG is usable when the player is hanging out the side of helicopters, unlike the homing launcher.
- In GTA IV, the rockets fired are able to bounce off any inanimate object (buildings, floors, etc.) at a certain angle, but will explode instantly at any angle if contact is made with another entity.
- After the Heists Update for GTA Online, the Rocket Launcher looks noticably different in first-person; the player now holds the RPG at a lower angle.
- Heat-Seeking Rocket Launcher - Another type of rocket launcher featured in GTA: San Andreas.
- Firework Launcher - A special variant appearing in the Independence Day Special update for Grand Theft Auto V.
- Homing Rocket Launcher - A homing rocket launcher that was introduced in the Festive Surprise in Grand Theft Auto V.