I want to ask a question about whether to use an article (Ein/Eine/Der/Die/Das) with weapons and such.

The abbreviations used in my question:

Do we say: Das ist ein RPG / das ist ein M16.
or do we suffice with: Das ist RPG / Das ist M16.

  • 6
    @πάνταῥεῖ Könntest du dir die Mühe machen, die Frage zu lesen, bevor Downvote und Closevote kommen?
    – David Vogt
    Oct 24, 2019 at 18:43
  • @DavidVogt Und das ändert an der Qualität der Frage was genau? Ich habe das gelesen, und ich bezweifle das hier eine vernünftige Antworrt gegeben werden kann. Oct 24, 2019 at 18:45

2 Answers 2


In the case of abbreviations, the article refers to the basic word. e.g. die Granate and der Werfer becomes der Granatwerfer. Therefore der is to be used for RPG from der Granatwerfer and das for M16 form das Gewehr.

  • Der RPG ist ein tragbarer Panzerabwehr-Granatwerfer, der von Hand gehalten wird.
  • Das M16 wurde 1967 als Gewehr der US-Streitkräfte eingeführt.


  • The RPG is a hand-held portable anti-tank grenade launcher.
  • The M16 was introduced in 1967 as rifle of the US Armed Forces.

The original Russian translation leads to "der Granatwerfer", because the later English translation Rocket Propelled Grenade (die raketenangetriebene Granate does not technically cover all variants.

As mentioned in your question above following is OK for a short use:

  • Das ist ein RPG. ... Das ist ein Granatwerfer.
  • Das ist ein M16. ... Das ist ein Gewehr.
  • 2
    Are you sure? Wikipedia agrees with you regarding the "M16" (neuter) but treats the "RPG" as feminine. See de.wikipedia.org/wiki/M16_(Gewehr), de.wikipedia.org/wiki/RPG_(Waffe). Not sure if that reflects the broader use, just thought I'd point it out as it doesn't comport with this answer.
    – johnl
    Oct 24, 2019 at 19:55
  • Do you have a source or a reasoning, why these articles should be set? This might help learners to understand the underlying rules or to learn where to look up such things.
    – Arsak
    Oct 25, 2019 at 8:29
  • @johnl and Arsak - thanks for the hint. It seems to me the article die used for RPG on Wikipedia is derived from die Granate. This is wrong for Granatwerfer as mentioned in my EDIT. Oct 25, 2019 at 18:25
  • I agree with you that the article has to be used and it refers to the orginal word. The only little detail is wether RPG is a "Granatwerfer" (der) or a "Granate" (die).
    – EFrank
    Nov 14, 2019 at 13:57

Even though you can regard (some) weapon names as proper nouns, such as the AK-47 or the M4A1, you still have to use an article - the female one, to be precise. This is valid for pistols, assault/sniper rifles, machine pistols and machine guns. I would address the RPG with a neutral article, or with a male article in case of RPG-launcher.
Unfortunately I can only provide you my native instinct and couldn't find a credible source. Still, there are some examples found on Dayz-Duden.de.tl, which I'll link here just for the pun.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.