The China Lake Pump-Action Grenade Launcher was developed by China Lake Naval Weapons Center in an attempt to replace the unreliable M79, XM148 and T148E1 grenade launchers. It was lighter than the M79 by 1 1/2 pounds when empty, owing to the significant use of aluminum in the weapon's design, and the tubular design allowed for a skilled operator to fire four grenades (three in reserve, one in the chamber) before needing to reload, or even before the first grenade landed. Despite these advantages, the China Lake had a critical flaw - the oddly shaped 40MM grenade was difficult to feed into the magazine.
The iron sights on the front of the weapon were similar to that of the M79, and could be adjusted from 75 to 400 meters in 25-meter increments.
It is disputed as the exact number of original China Lakes produced, with the highest estimate being 50 units. Whatever the number produced, there are only four remaining China Lakes accounted for, all of them in museums. One launcher, serial number 4, is on display at the UDT/ SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce, Florida, while another bearing the serial number 13 is at the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam. Two other China Lakes are on limited display in US Navy facilities, neither of which are open to the public.
The China Lake is often erroneously called the EX-41, despite the fact that the EX-41 was developed two decades after the China Lake Model. Another erroneous name was "China Lake NATIC." As the weapon was made on an ad-hoc basis and never went into full production, there was never an official designation for it.
- In service 1968
- wars: Vietnam
- Produced: 1968, 2009
- Weight: 4.63 kg (10.21lb ) loaded
3.72 kg (8.2 lb) empty
- Length: 875mm (34.4 in)
- Barrel Length: 356mm (14 in)
- Rate of Fire: 15 rounds min
- effective range: 350m
- Feed system: 3-round tubular magazine
- sights: Open, leaf-type, square-notch/blade