What types of grenade launchers are there? Nowadays, there are different types of weapons available. One of them is the Grenade Launcher. It is a firearm designed specifically to fire a large-caliber projectile, typically with an explosive, smoke, or gas warhead. Today, this term commonly refers to a specialized firearm class that fires individual grenade cartridges.
Grenade launchers come in various types and can be held and fired from the shoulder, although there are also some with different structures. They can be standalone weapons or attachments that are mounted onto a primary firearm, typically a rifle. In some cases, larger automatic grenade launchers, like the Mk 19, are mounted on tripods or vehicles and operated by a crew. Additionally, certain armored combat vehicles are equipped with short-range, single-shot grenade launchers fixed in arrays to provide defense capabilities. This article has been prepared to inform you only.
Grenade Launcher Types
There are numerous models of grenade launchers available, showcasing a wide variety of types. Among the earliest examples are slings used to release grenade-like projectiles.
In the past, the predecessors of modern ballistic grenade launchers were relatively straightforward muzzle-loading devices. They consisted of a stake-like body used to attach a short, wide-barreled gun. These weapons were designed to accommodate explosive or incendiary devices. Over time, they evolved into shoulder-fired “hand mortars” and eventually transformed into firearm-like weapons resembling blunderbusses.
However, these models had their fair share of risks. They didn’t receive much acclaim because they relied on the user igniting a fuse on the projectile before firing, which posed a significant danger. There was a high risk of the explosive failing to leave the barrel. This was because attempts to ignite the fuse while firing, using a gunpowder charge, often led to situations where the weapon would push the fuse into the grenade, causing it to detonate inside the barrel.
Hand Grenade Launchers
Hand grenade launchers are another type within the category of grenade launcher types. In the midst of the First World War, various crew-served launchers were developed with the aim of extending the range of infantry grenades. Examples include the Sauterelle crossbow, Western bow gun, and Leach trench catapult devices. However, these designs proved to be less effective than anticipated. Eventually, the task of extending the range of infantry explosive shells fell mainly on rifle grenades, while lighter mortar systems like the Stokes mortar replaced these early hand grenade launchers.
A notable example in this context is the Japanese Type 91 grenade, which served as a versatile weapon. It could be utilized as a hand-thrown grenade, equipped with adapters for firing as a rifle grenade, or employed as a projectile with the Type 89 grenade discharger, a lightweight grenade launcher.
Rifle grenades are another option within the grenade launcher types. They were developed primarily during the First World War and remained in use throughout the Second World War. The concept behind rifle grenades revolved around utilizing the soldier’s standard weapon as an improvised mortar. To fire, the rifle’s stock would be placed on the ground, providing stability during the launch.
Standalone Grenade Launcher
Among the options available in the Grenade Launcher types, standalone models are another choice. In the modern sense earliest examples of standalone grenade launchers was designed as wedge-loaded riot weapons. These meant to launch different kind of shells. An example of such a launcher is the Federal Riot Gun, which was developed in the 1930s.
Attached Grenade Launcher
The Grenade Launcher types encompass various options, one of which is the attached type. Grenade launchers of this kind can be mounted under the barrel of a conventional rifle, as they require lower internal pressure and have a shorter barrel compared to standalone models.
This configuration eliminates the need for a separate stock for the grenade launcher, reducing the weight carried by the soldier and enabling quick access to the launcher. Under-barrel 40 mm grenade launchers typically come with their own trigger mechanism.
To fire, one simply changes their grip, disengages the safety, and pulls the trigger. In Western systems, the barrel either slides forward or rotates sideways to facilitate reloading.
List of Grenade Launchers
List of grenade launcher is quite extensive. Today, there are different models produced by many companies, some of which can be given as follows:
- Arsenal 40mm UBGL-1 – Arsenal JSCo.
- Arsenal 40mm UBGL – Arsenal JSCo.
- Beretta GLX 160 Pietro – Beretta S.p.A.
- ARDE 40 mm under barrel grenade launcher – Ordnance Factory Tiruchirappalli
- BS-1 Tishina – TsNIITochMash
- STK 40 GL – ST Kinetics
- EAGLE grenade launcher – Colt Canada
- GL 40 – Steyr Arms
- GM-94 – KBP Instrument Design Bureau
- GP-25 – KBP Instrument Design Bureau
- Heckler & Koch AG36 – Heckler & Koch
- Heckler & Koch AG-C/EGLM – Heckler & Koch
- Heckler & Koch HK69A1 – Heckler & Koch
- Indumil IMC-40 – INDUMIL
In addition to all these, there are different models among the list of grenade launchers.
American Grenade Launcher Models
Grenade Launcher is produced in many countries around the world. United States is one of them. There are many models among the list of American grenade launchers, and some of them with their manufacturers are as follows:
- M79 grenade launcher – Springfield Armory
- Action Manufacturing Company
- Kanarr Corporation Thompson-Ramo-Wooldridge
- M203 grenade launcher – Colt’s Manufacturing Company
- XM148 grenade launcher – Colt’s Manufacturing Company
- China Lake Grenade Launcher – China Lake Naval Weapons Center
- Hawk MM-1 – Hawk Engineering Co.
- XM25 CDTE – Heckler & Koch
- Alliant Techsystems
- XM29 OICW – Heckler & Koch
- Alliant Techsystems
- M75 grenade launcher – Springfield Armory
- M129 grenade launcher
- Mk 18 Mod 0 grenade launcher
- Mk 19 grenade launcher – Saco Defense Industries
- Combined Service Forces
- Mk 47 Striker – General Dynamics
In addition to all these, there are different models in the list of American grenade launchers.