Infantry weapons / Grenade launchers / M203

M203

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Grenade launcher

  • ORIGIN
    United States

  • NICKNAMES
    K201 (South Korean production)
    Gk M/98 (Danish military designation)

  • DESIGNED
    1967 - 1968

  • DESIGNER
    AAI

  • PRODUCTION
    1969 - present (M203)
    1987 - present (M203PI)

  • PRODUCERS
    Canada - Diemaco/Colt Canada
    Egypt - Maadi
    South Korea - Daewoo
    United States - Airtronic
    United States - Colt
    United States - RM Industries

  • QUANTITY
    Unknown

  • UNIT COST
    About $ 1.000 in 2010

  • CHARACTERISTICS
    Compact
    Cannot fire long rounds
    Limited rate of fire

Introduction

The M203 is a grenade launcher of US origin. It was designed in the late 1960's to replace the M79 in US service. The M203 is the first succesful under barrel grenade launcher and was designed to fit onto the M16A1. As a result the grenadier has a full size assault rifle as secondary weapon instead of relying on a pistol.

Design

The M203 is a breech loaded grenade launcher that uses the same ammunition as the M79 it was intended to replace. In order to load the M203 the barrel is moved forward and the round is inserted. The weapon is cocked and ready to fire when the barrel slides back in position. The M203 mounts on the M16A1 just in fromt of the magazine. The magazine also acts as a sort of pistol grip as the single action trigger assembly is located behind the barrel. The launcher is attached to the rifle by means of a wider square forearm with various holes for cooling. The flip up mechanical sight is fitted on top of the forearm. Unlike the original M203 later models are quick detachable and will fit to more types of rifles.

Firepower

The M203 is a single shot weapon that fires 40x46mm low velocity grenades. Besides the standard high explosive fragmentation rounds there is a wide selection of other rounds available. Due to the distance that the barrel slides forward upon reloading not all types of grenades can be loaded due to their length. An experienced operator can fire 5 to 7 rounds per minute. The effective range against point targets is 150 m. Area targets can be engaged out to 400 m.

Users

The fist user of the M203 was the US military and it was used during the later stages of the Vietnam war and all subsequent conflicts. At first the M203 was only used by operators of the M16 series of assault rifles. Since the M203 became available in versions that will mount on other types of weapons its use expanded even further. The M203 is common in North and South America, Asia and Africa.

Variants

No variants

Use

 
Afghanistan
Argentina
Australia
Austria
Bahrain
Bangladesh
Belgium

Bolivia
Bosnia
Brazil
Brunei
Cambodia
Cameroon
Canada

Chile
Colombia
Costa Rica
Denmark
East Timor
Ecuador
Egypt

El Salvador
France
Gabon
Greece
Guatemala
Honduras
Hungary

India
Indonesia
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Jordan
Kenya

Kosovo
Kuwait
Lebanon
Liberia
Macedonia
Malaysia
Mexico

Myanmar
Netherlands
New Zealand
Norway
Oman
Pakistan
Panama

Peru
Philippines
Poland
Portugal
Qatar
Saudi Arabia
Sierra Leone

Singapore
South Korea
Sri Lanka
Sweden
Taiwan
Thailand
Turkey

United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
United States
Vietnam