Rifle Grenades ?


March 13, 2004, 10:50 AM
Does the US military still use/have rifle grenades? I'm thinking specifically about the capability of the A2 flash-hider to act as a launcher... Is there anywhere that shows how to use these things? Thanks in advance.

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March 13, 2004, 11:08 AM
They stopped using rifle grenades when the M79, and then the M203 (which mounts on the M16) grenade launchers came into service. The last rifle that really used them (and even then not much) was the M1.

March 13, 2004, 11:19 AM
I like the idea of rifle gernades, I wonder why they stopped using them? They sure are a lot less bulky than having one of thos monstrous single shot M203 additions to your gun. I don't really see the advantage of the M203 to be honest with you. Still single shot with far more weight to launch a gernade than the typical muzzle launcher.

March 13, 2004, 11:25 AM
I remember firing a grenade from an M1 during basic training (in 1951). The grenade was loaded into an attachment that hooked onto the barrel and, I believe, the bayonet lug. A special blank cartridge provided the propellant.

I had to fire the thing from my shoulder; it kicked like hell. It wasn't very accurate, especially at distances over a hundred yards. I was very lucky to use proper Kentucky windage and put one into a window of a mock building. It impressed my instructor, but I knew it was nothing more than pure luck.

The grenade itself looked something like a streamlined, miniature bazooka rocket, with guide fins at the rear. A shaped charge module about two or three inches long was at the front.

I often wondered what would have happened if a live round of ball ammunition had been substituted for the blank cartridge.

March 13, 2004, 11:28 AM
Dug up an interesting link:


Apparently, some of our NATO allies would like to use them (not to mention Israel), but not the US military because of the widespread use of the M203. I didn't know that the M203's round was considered less lethal and shorter ranged than many explosives/RPGs.

I can see why our military doesn't feel the need for it, though. With one of the most advanced air forces on Earth (some Russian fighters can outperform ours, however), along with precision-guided munitions, the average soldier may not need that much firepower all the time.

March 13, 2004, 04:46 PM
I like the idea of rifle gernades, I wonder why they stopped using them? ... I don't really see the advantage of the M203 to be honest with you.

Well, let's see: the 40mm round is shorter; more accurate; weighs less, and is harder to really goof up and kill yourself and your squadmates.

I can't think of any reasons, either... ;)

Mulliga, if you compare the RPG-7 (for instance), you will see that the 40mm is an antipersonnel/anti-light vehicle weapon, whereas the RPG-7 is more of an anti-armor weapon. The RPG-7 has a reputation as badly inaccurate, whereas I hit a 1 foot-wide wall (from the top) with a M-203 at 200 meters. If it's too inaccurate to use at distance, it's not really longer-ranged, is it? If you're just comparing anti-personnel use, you might want to consider how many RPG rounds can be carried vs how many 40mm rounds are in a grenadier's vest. That will give a more accurate picture of true capability.


March 13, 2004, 04:54 PM
Another disadvantage to rifle-grenades is that your rifle is out of commission while using one. You have to turn off the gas system, put in a blank round, and stick the grenade onto the end of your barrel. After you have fired the grenade, you then have to switch the gas system back on and chamber a live round.

(This is how I undestand rifle grenades to work for all semi-autos, if I'm mistaken please forgive me. :))

March 13, 2004, 05:07 PM
With the 22mm flash suppressor, the M16A2 and M4 still have the ABILITY to launch rifle grenades, and the newer style of "bullet-through" grenades don't even require special ammo, so the only real reason they aren't currently issued in US service is because the niche filled by rifle grenades is already filled by other systems (M203, AT4, etc.)

March 13, 2004, 05:30 PM
Wasn't aware of bullet-though rifle grenade systems. Thanks.

March 14, 2004, 04:51 AM
The A2 doesn't have a flash hider. It has a compensator.

March 14, 2004, 07:53 AM
The A2 doesn't have a flash hider. It has a compensator.


4v50 Gary
March 14, 2004, 10:52 AM
It's actually a good thing that we don't use rifle grenades anymore. The grenadier had to make sure he used a blank cartridge less he sees the mother of all muzzleblasts. :uhoh: Several years ago FN developed a rifle grenade that didn't require special ammunition. It was hollowed around the center so the bullet would pass right through the body of the grenade.

I've got a couple of grenade launchers including a "tin can" type for the Mauser 98k. Kinda nifty to have around but darn if I'd ever try to launch a dummy grenade (yet alone a real one).

March 14, 2004, 12:53 PM
Rifle grenade techology has improved immensely in the 50 years since the US stopped developing/issuing them. Bullt-thru is almost standard, and bullt-traps are univeral; no ballistite cartridges anymore. And a very wide range of terminal effects. Here's a set of good photos of the FN Telgren http://www.project-x.org.uk/sa80grenade.html

Note that this is very small, more explosive than a hand grenade (and much more so than an M203 round) and is really not that big anymore. I've seen various euro-troops wandering about with hard-plastic three-tube carriers on their belts; not a lot bigger than a standard mag pouch.

Many rifles that fire rifle grenades have the sight integral with the gas shut off. Never used one, but it seems simple. Since you have to shift grip entirely to use the M203 (or HK AG-C http://www.hk-usa.com/pages/military-le/special%20applications/ag-c.html), and most units seem to require keeping it unloaded. it doesn't seem like rifle grenades would be much slower.
Guns with no gas shutoff like the M16/M4 still work, but suffer a range reduction from the gas leaking back into the bolt, and some worry that it could cause a stoppage so the gun isn't ready to fire next round. And I wonder how bad it is if the gun's set to automatic? I'll bet you are supposed to pull the mag for firing from M16s. Too bad.

There /are/ those in the US Army currently sorta clamoring for either our own RPG or re-issuing rifle grenades. This is because of the relatively small punch of the 203, the fact that support vehicles like the Bradley shoot little holes in things (bushmaster gun is only 25mm) and we keep having to dig people out of buildings and light fortifications. Oh, and there are gripes about the AT-4 being too big also. I've seen no one (in photos, I am not in the military) on patrol in Iraq with an AT-4 on their back.

Air support and artillery is still danger-close under 400 m right? We could use a little more explosive stuff in the 125-400m range. Maybe it'll end up being the Carl-Gustav that the Rangers are using: http://www.armyranger.com/mod.php?mod=userpage&page_id=39 or the reloadable (USMC) SMAW: http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/land/smaw.htm

March 14, 2004, 01:55 PM

The fixture on the muzzle of an M16A2 wasn't designed to hide the flash, it was desighned to keep the muzzle down by directing the gasses upward. Ever notice that it doesn't have any slots on the bottom? If it was a flash hider, they would have told us to call it a flash hider in boot camp. They told us it was a compensator and they explained why.

March 14, 2004, 02:00 PM
Wasn't this discussed just a week or so ago? The birdcage was the second generation M16 flash hider. /Then/ they dropped the bottom slots on an otherwise unchanged design to prevent dust being kicked when firing close to the ground (which should be always). Any comp effects are incidental, currrent documentation notwithstanding.

March 14, 2004, 03:50 PM
If it was a flash hider, they would have told us to call it a flash hider in boot camp.

When I was in boot camp, a drill instructor once said that a kevlar helmet would stop rifle rounds. I've seen quite a few pictures to the contrary; the US kevlar helmet was never designed to stop rifle rounds in the first place.

Anyway, the A2's device is a flashhider. The lack of slots on the bottom is, primarily, to stop dust from kicking up when firing from prone (which can give your position away). I don't think it acts as a compensator. In any case, a 5.56mm rifle hardly needs a compensator in the first place.

March 15, 2004, 01:08 AM
It's a compensator because it's supposed to keep the muzzle from climbing in burst mode. Show me some proof on the dust thing and I might believe it, otherwise it sounds like something somebody made up.

March 15, 2004, 02:03 AM
instead of grenade launcher I would be happy with a m203 grenade launcher sized shotgun that attaches to a MBR. just imagine a nice rifle with the ability to throw slugs or 00 buck when you need it. jet li in the movie:The One. lame movie but nice accessory.

March 15, 2004, 02:52 AM
Show me some proof on the dust thing and I might believe it, otherwise it sounds like something somebody made up.

hmm i suspect that you've NOT fired an "earlier than A2" M-16, prone, on a dry day..... all it's take is once. Been there, done that (though in my case the rilfe(s) in question were ARs belonging to a friend, that happened to have the 3-prong and A1 style FSes, NOT an M16), went "well THAT would suck if someone was trying to kill you..!"

ok, since i do not at this time HAVE the documents needed to be able to quote chapter and verse on this..... any of you guys out there that have copies of the documents the group that "designed" the A2 produced, or alternately an account from an accepted authority on the evolution of this rifle, detailing EXACTLY why the bottom slots were deleted, wanna cover that part of what he's asking for......

Houndawg..... your DI was Full of Bull droppings!!! (and/or-additionally just pumping sunshine up the tails of all those little pieces of impressionable "Fresh meat" that were under his care, for some reason)

the "compensator" thing is a result of the "rumor/scuttlebutt mill" getting a hold of a rather minor factoid about the "new superdandy M-16A2" (the A2 is what you get when competitive shooters design a combat arm by commitee, a frankenstein that solves NONE of the A1's problems while gutting many it's strengths) and then blowing the supposed effect WAY out of proportion...

the A2 birdcage never was and never has been a compensator, it does have a mild (read as "so small as to be laughable, and VERY neglibile/unnoticable to the shooter") side effect of putting a downward push on the muzzle. the bottom of the cage was closed off b/c the dust signature of the M-16 when fired from a prone postion WAS a major drawback to the 3-prong and A1-style birdcage, flash supressors.

summary.... IF the A2 birdcage was designed as a compensator (it wasn't,) then it is THE biggest failure of the USMC Re-design process that spawned it, b/c it simply does not perform that task to a level that is in anyway meaning ful much less of greater utility to the men/women(now) wielding it.

Edited to remove rather useless and uneeded ramblings and blather. resultant from writig this at 2Am

March 15, 2004, 03:36 AM
Yes its a flash suppressor and a greanade launcher both, just ask the ATF....

March 15, 2004, 10:32 AM
Have heard the A2's FS called a suppressor.

Also heard lots of bovine scatology in the service.

instead of grenade launcher I would be happy with a m203 grenade launcher sized shotgun that attaches to a MBR.

The "Masterkey Breaching System".

March 16, 2004, 08:52 AM
Yes. Though they /just/ started issuing it for official Army breaching purposes, Knights has been making one for like 10-15 years.

Here's a bad photo of one:

And come to think of it, a price. Does everyone agree that Impactguns is wrong; its a tax stamp as an AOW, not a short-barreled shotgun, right?

Incidentally, if I need such a thing, /I/ would rather have a dedicated breaching short-gun with stock (or AOW) with standoff, than having it on my rifle.

March 16, 2004, 08:57 AM
Also, I have to wonder why they can't make a 40mm breaching round? That might be a better solution for the military, no? Even if there are pressure issues, or no one wants to make a big-diameter powdered-metal cartridge, just glue a 12ga breacher into a 203-case-sized chink of plastic.

If we issued AC-Gs instead of 203s the case could even be long enough to have fins sticking out the front so it always had a standoff.

Now, to bring this back to the topic (Rifle grenades) how about a breaching RG? Lemme google before speculating...OMG, check it out: http://www.isayeret.com/gear/simon/simon.htm

Master Blaster
March 16, 2004, 09:44 AM
I have a question

Can you single load these, and what kind of a group do they produce?.

I just trying to find a new way to bond with the benchrest crumudgeons at my Club.:D

March 16, 2004, 10:07 AM

Here's a pic of a soldier from the 101st ABN DIV (AASLT) on patrol, in Iraq, with an M-136(AT-4) on his back.

101st in Iraq (http://media.militaryphotos.net/photos/gulf_war_2_iraqi_freedom_101st_airborne/101stairborne18)


BTW, the specific unit is 3rd Bn./187th Inf Rgt (Iron Rakkasans) of the Division's 3rd Brigade.

March 16, 2004, 10:10 AM
Detritus is correct on the flash suppressor. And for why they switched to that design, I know several dozen Vietnam vets, and two guys who served in Grenada/Panama with A1s who can attest to why they switched to that design. I've shot A1s and went through basic with the A2 and it was nice not throwing dirt everywhere from the prone.

The Simon doorbreaching rifle grenade is the Israeli way of saying "we love your door, let's blow it to bits from across the road!" and quite effective from what I've seen.

March 16, 2004, 10:12 AM

Here's another one. (http://media.militaryphotos.net/photos/gulf_war_2_iraqi_freedom_101st_airborne/101stairborne8)


March 16, 2004, 01:51 PM
Here's a photo of the later type of M1 Garand Launch vehicle. An extension was screwed into the end of the M1 which provided the 22mm diameter tube needed to slide this launcher on. Boy, it's heavy! I can't imagine launching this from your shoulder!



March 16, 2004, 07:49 PM
OEF_VET, very well. Thanks. I should have known that was an invitation to such photos.

Lots of room, and concrete walls. Looks like a good place for one.

If I was in the mood to argue, I would point out that it would be hard for him to carry several more. rifle grenades or RPG-type reloadables can carry more shots per man. I like the AT-4 at some visceral level, and it always seems to work, but it is bulky.

March 16, 2004, 08:10 PM
Traditionally, you didn't launch grenades from the shoulder.

You'd place the stock under the arm (in the classic submachine gun point shooting position), and from this position you could use the ladder sights that many greande launchers utilized.

Alternatively, you could use it as an indirect fire weapon by placing the stock on the ground and aiming the weapon like a mortar. You'd place the stock sideways, though, as too much force on the heel could crack it.

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