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The M-203 Grenade Launcher as a mountable attachment for the M16
or M4 Carbine
rifle used by the United States Military. It is a 40mm, single shot launcher which attaches to the bottom of the rifle barrel in front of the magazine. A separate targeting system is often added to the weapon due to the fact that the standard weapon sights would not be properly aligned to function with the launcher.
The M-203 was originally developed as part of the flechette rifle program but was the only part of the program to be successfully carried over to combat use. The launcher has been in service since 1968 and was a great improvement to its predecessor which was not mounted to the soldiers main weapon. The user has the option of switching between grenade rounds or bullets.
The M-203 is very versatile and can launch projectiles such as explosive grenades, smoke grenades, illumination, buckshot, high explosives, CS gas and training grenades.
- Launcher: 3 pounds (1.36 kilograms)
- Rifle (M16A2): 8.79 pounds (3.99 kg)
- Total weight (including 30 rounds): 11.79 pounds (5.35 kg)
- Bore diameter: 40 mm
- Maximum effective range:
- Area target: 1148 feet (350 meters)
- Point target: 492 feet (150 meters)
- Maximum range: 1312 feet (400 meters)
- Minimum safe range:
- Non-Direct Fire: 115 feet (35 meters)
- Training: 427 feet (130 meters)
- Combat: 102 feet (31 meters)
- Unit Replacement Cost: $601 (USD) (2005)
Note: some data differs for versions that attach to the M4 Carbine