When Polish workers held massive protests in Poznań against the communist Polish government in 1956, the Army was sent in to quell the unrest. In the aftermath of these events, the government decided to create a riot police squad to handle any future such situations. When this unit was put to use in the 1968 Student March, they found that hand-thrown tear gas could be thrown back into police ranks – and development began of tear gas launchers that would have a much longer range.
The first of these designs was the RWGŁ-1, introduced into service on March 30, 1971. It was a design build from other parts already available, which in this case meant a PM63 “Rak” frame, a Mosin-Nagant receiver (chambered for 7.62x39mm), a single-stack magazine form a sporting rifle, and a tear gas cup launcher. A small batch of these were manufactured, and used by the riot police until later designs were developed.
Many thanks to Works 11 for giving me access to film this very cool rare item for you! Further thanks to Leszek Erenfeicht for his assistance sourcing the photographs in the video.