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M203 Grenade Launcher

The M203 is a grenade launcher that fires 40mm grenades of various kinds. It is typically attached, underslung, beneath assault rifles and carbines such as the M4A1. The M203 has long been used by US Special Operations Forces (SOF) due to its firepower and versatility.

The M203 can fire a wide selection of warheads, including :

  • M406 High-Explosive round (H-E)
    used against point and area targets - kill zone of 5 meters and a casualty-zone of 15.
  • M433 High-Explosive Dual Purpose (HEDP)
    can engage lightly-armored targets as well as point and area targets
  • M576 Buckshot
    firing 20 pellets of buckshot
  • M670 Smoke Canopy
    creates a smoke screen at the point of impact
  • M585 White Star Cluster
    used for signal or illumination purposes
  • M651 Tactical CS Grenade
    can be used in riot control or in certain counter terrorism scenarios

M203 Specifications

weight : 3 lbs (unloaded)
length : 15 inches
barrel length : 12 inches
rate of fire : 5-7 rounds per minute
muzzle velocity : 250 feet per second
effective range : 150 meters
caliber : 40x46mm SR

M203 - Images and Further Info

US Marine - M203
A US Marine armed with a M16A2 rifle with underslung M203.
U.S. Marine Corps photo by LCPL BRENT T. HARVEY, USMC

Force Recon - M203
A Force Reconnaissance Marine takes aim with a M203A1 attached to a M4A1 carbine. Note the flip-up 'leaf' sight mounted atop the M4A1's RIS rail. The leaf sight features elevation and windage scales while the front sight post on the M4A1 doubles as the M203's front sight post.
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Andrew J. Carlson/Released

A Force Recon Marine watches the impact of a smoke grenade fired from the M203A1 attached to his M4A1. In this photo the launcher is extended in the open position, ready to be reloaded with another grenade. The M203A1, with a barrel shortened from 12 to 9 inches, is specifically designed for use on the M4 and M4A1 carbines.
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Andrew J. Carlson/Released

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