M203 grenade launcher

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The M203 grenade launcher is an underbarrel accessory grenade launcher originally developed as part of the SALVO / SPIW projects, a series of trials to produce an advanced rifle for the US Army. A sub-project, NIBLICK, produced a lightweight, low-recoil 40mm grenade round using the high-low pressure venting system devised by the Germans in WW2, and initially developed the M79 grenade launcher to fire it.

While the SPIW rifles were supposed to use a multi-shot semi-automatic launcher as part of a requirement that was too complicated for its own good, one of AAI's submissions featured a "simplified" single-shot launcher with a sliding breech which acted as both a loading port and a shotgun-like forend for cocking the weapon. While SPIW fell apart, this weapon was salvaged from the project and, with some refinement, was adopted as the M203 in 1968, initially as an accessory for the M16 rifle series with a 12-inch barrel. Since this time, numerous additional variants have been produced, including the 9-inch version for the M4 series, and parts kits have been produced allowing the device to mount to other rifles or be used as a standalone launcher.

NOTE: In some movies and TV shows, the Cobray 37mm Launcher is used to impersonate the M203. For a list of ways to tell the two launchers apart, visit the Cobray 37mm Launcher page.

Contents

Specifications

(1968 - Present)

  • Type: Grenade launcher
  • Caliber: 40x46mm SR
  • Weight: 3 lbs (1.4 kg)
  • Length: 15 in (38 cm) with 12 in (30.5 cm) barrel
  • Barrel Length: 12.5 in (31.7 cm), 18 in (45.7 cm), or 22 in (55.9 cm)
  • Feed System: Sliding breech, also functions as cocking mechanism
  • Fire Modes: Single shot, single action trigger

The M203 grenade launcher (often mounted on a variant of the M16 rifle) has been used by the following actors in the following films, television series, and video games:

M203 grenade launcher - 40x46mm. The original M203, intended for attachment to full length M16s and to carbines with a barrel step. This M203 example has its forward barrel clamp removed.
Knight's Armament Company M203A1 with 9" barrel - 40x46mm. Intended for attachment to M4 Carbines but will mount to any M16 fitted with an M5 RAS or any carbine with a barrel step. Unlike the original M203, it has a built-in quick release barrel clamp.
Knight's Armament Company M203A2 grenade launcher with an AN/PSQ-18A day/night sight - 40x46mm. Intended for attachment to M4 Carbines and the M16A4 MWS, but will mount to any M16 fitted with an M5 RAS or any carbine with a barrel step. Unlike the original M203, it has a built-in quick release barrel clamp.
LMT M203 2003 L2D grenade launcher - 40x46mm. Designed to universally fit M16s and M4 Carbines with railed handguards, notably the Knight's Armament Company M5 RAS. The launcher is available with either a standard 12" (L2D) or short 9" barrel (L2B).
LMT M203 2003 L2B grenade launcher - 40x46mm
RM Equipment M203PI - 40x46mm. Export M203 designed to be fitted to weapons other than just the M16 and M4 Carbine.
Knights Armament Co. Stand Alone M203 Launcher Platform with Type 1 Telescoping Stock - 40x46mm
M4A1 carbine 5.56x45mm with 9" barreled KAC M203 (non-A1) grenade launcher 40x46mm
M4A1 carbine 5.56x45mm with M68 Aimpoint red dot scope, flip-up rear sight, and M203A2 grenade launcher 40x46mm
M16A1 (5.56x45mm) with M203 40mm grenade launcher
M16A2 (5.56x45mm) with M203 40mm grenade launcher
M16A4 (5.56x45mm) with M203 40mm grenade launcher

Film

Title Actor Character Note Date
High Velocity Paul Winfield Watson 1976
The Odd Angry Shot Various Australian SAS troopers Mounted on M16A1 1979
Scarface Al Pacino Tony Montana Mounted on AR-15 1983
Missing In Action Chuck Norris COL James Braddock Mounted on M16A1 1984
Code Name: Wild Geese Thomas Danneberg Arbib Mounted on M16A1 1984
My Science Project John Stockwell Mike Mounted on M16A1 1985
American Ninja Steve James Cpl. Jackson Mounted on M16A1 1985
Commando Leopard Lewis Collins Enrique Carrasco Mounted on M16A1 1985
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home U.S. Marine Mounted on M16A1 1986
Legacy of Rage Henchman Mounted on XM16E1 1986
Heartbreak Ridge Vincent Irizarry Cpl. Collins Mounted AR-15/SP1 1986
Ramon Franco LCpl. Aponte
Extreme Prejudice William Forsythe Sgt. Buck Atwater Mounted on M16 (SP1) 1987
Death Wish 4 Charles Bronson Paul Kersey Mounted on M16 (SP1) 1987
Predator Arnold Schwarzenegger Dutch Mounted on AR-15/SP1 1987
Police Academy 6: City Under Siege David Graf Sgt. Eugene Tackleberry Mounted on M16A1 1989
Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection Various Ramon Cota's men 1990
Predator 2 Danny Glover Lt. Mike Harrigan Mounted on CAR-15 1990
Double Impact Triad hitman Mounted on CAR-15 1991
Hard Boiled Philip Kwok Mad Dog Mounted on M16A1 1992
RoboCop 3 John Castle Paul McDaggett Mounted on XM177E2 1993
Various 'SplatterPunks' members
Clear and Present Danger Jaime Gomez Sgt. Julio Vega Mounted on M16A1 1994
In the Army Now Pauly Shore PFC Bones Conway Mounted on M16A1, but not seen used 1994
The Dallas Connection Bruce Penhall Chris Cannon Mounted on CAR-15 1994
Top Dog Neo Nazi terrorists and SWAT officers Mounted on CAR-15 1995
The Rock Tony Todd CPT Darrow Mounted on M16 (SP1) 1996
Rogue Marine Standalone M203
Day of the Warrior Kevin Light Doc Austin Mounted on M16A1 1996
Ron Browning Ron
Warrior's henchman
Tomorrow Never Dies Götz Otto Robert Stamper Mounted on Colt Model 727 1997
Various Elliott Carver's henchmen Mounted on M16A2
Deep Impact US Army Soldiers Mounted on Colt Model 727's 1998
The Siege Various U.S. Army soldiers Mounted on XM177-types 1998
Point Blank Michael Wright Sonny Mounted on M16A1 1998
Bravo Two Zero Sean Bean Sgt. Andy McNab Mounted on M16A2s, featuring desert camouflage scheme while Sean Bean's weapon has a compass attached 1999
Kevin Collins Chris Ryan
The Boondock Saints Mounted on M16A1 and M4A1 1999
The General's Daughter Mounted on M16A2s 1999
Universal Soldier: The Return Jean Claude Van Damme Luc Deveraux Mounted on M4A1s, fitted with C-More red dot sights and SureFire Universal WeaponLights 1999
Various U.S. Army Rangers
End of Days Arnold Schwarzenegger Jericho Cane Mounted on H&K MP5A3 1999
Battlefield Earth Various Mounted on M16A1s and Colt 9mm SMGs 2000
Proof of Life David Caruso Dino 2000
Uptown 2
Black Hawk Down Ewan McGregor SPC John Grimes Mounted on M16A2s 2001
U.S. Army Ranger
Blade II Danny John-Jules Asad Mounted on Colt 727 Carbine 2002
2009: Lost Memories Various JBI SWAT officers Mounted on M4A1s, fitted with WeaponLights 2002
The Sum of All Fears Various U.S. Marines Mounted on M16A2 and M4A1 2002
The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course Various U.S. Army Rangers Mounted on M16A1s 2002
XXX Martin Hub Ivan Podrov 2002
Tears of the Sun Eamonn Walker Ellis "Zee" Pettigrew Mounted on M4A1s, fitted with Aimpoint M68 CCOs and KAC railed handguards with KAC rail covers 2003
Paul Francis Daniel "Doc" Kelley
Sniper 2 Various Mounted on M16A1s 2003
Detention Dolph Lundgren Sam Decker Mounted on Colt Model 727 2003
The Punisher (2004) Thomas Jane Frank Castle Mounted on M4A1, fitted with Aimpoint M68 CCO and KAC railed handguard with KAC rail covers. Also Mounted on M16A2, but not seen used in the film. 2004
Blade: Trinity Vampire Mounted on M4A1, fitted with a scope and KAC railed handguard 2004
The Pacifier Dennis Akayama Mr. Chung Mounted on M4A1, fitted with Aimpoint CompM2 red dot sight, KAC railed handguard, AN/PEQ-2 IR designator, SureFire Universal WeaponLight, laser module, and a KAC QDSS-NT4 suppressor. 2005
XXX: State of the Union Ice Cube 2005
Various General George Dekert's men
War of the Worlds Various U.S. Army soldiers Mounted on M4A1s, fitted with C-More red dot sights, KAC railed handguards, and SureFire Universal WeaponLights 2005
Jarhead Peter Sarsgaard Cpl. Alan Troy Mounted on M16A2s 2005
Brian Geraghty Pfc. Fergus O'Donnell
Home of the Brave Chad Michael Murray PV2 Jordan Owens Mounted on M4A1 and (rubber) Colt Model 733 2006
Children of Men Chiwetel Ejiofor Luke Mounted on M4A1, fitted with KAC railed handgaurd, SureFire Universal WeaponLight, and an AN/PEQ-2 IR designator 2006
Planet Terror Rose McGowan Cherry Darling Mounted on Bushmaster Carbine 2007
28 Weeks Later U.S. Army soldier Mounted on M4A1, fitted with carry handle 2007
Transformers Tyrese Gibson TSgt. Bobby Epps Mounted on desert camouflaged M4A1, fitted with carry handle, Trijicon TA01 4x32 ACOG scope, and KAC railed handguard with KAC rail covers 2007
Pat Mulderrig Ranger Team #2 Mounted on desert camouflaged M4A1, fitted with carry handle, KAC railed handguard with KAC rail covers, and an AN/PEQ-2 IR designator
U.S. Army Ranger Standalone M203
Various Sector 7 soldiers
Redacted Daniel Stewart Sherman SPC B.B. Rush Mounted on M4A1, fitted with Trijicon TA338 ACOG scope and KAC railed handguard with KAC rail covers. 2007
Mike Figueroa SGT Jim Vasques Mounted on M4A1
Various U.S. Army soldiers
Hitman (2007) Henry Ian Cusick Udre Belicoff Mounted on M4A1 2007
Various Russian Alpha commando Mounted on M4A1, fitted with SreFire Universal WeaponLight
The Mist U.S. Army soldier Mounted on M4A1, fitted with Trijicon 4x32 ACOG scope and AN/PEQ-2 IR designator 2007
Rambo (2008) Jake La Botz Reese 2008
The Eleventh Hour Matthew Reese Micheal Adams M203A1, Mounted on M4A1 2008
Resident Evil Degeneration Leon Mounted on M4A1, fitted with rear BUIS and an optical grenade sight 2008
U.S. Marine
The Objective Jon Huertas SGT Vincent Degetau M203PI mounted on M4A1, fitted with Aimpoint M68 CCO, KAC M4 RAS handguard, AN/PEQ-2 TPIAL designator, and SureFire Universal WeaponLight 2009
Sam Hunter SGT Tim Cole
Michael C. Williams SGT Trinoski
Terminator Salvation Various Human resistance fighters Mounted on M4A1, fitted with C-More red dot sights. 2009
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Various N.E.S.T. soldiers Mounted on M4A1s, fitted with Aimpoint M68 CCOs 2009
Dolan's Cadillac 2009
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra Marlon Wayans Wallace "Ripcord" Weems Mounted on M4A1, fitted with carry handle, KAC railed handguard, and a WeaponLight 2009
U.S. Army soldier Mounted on M4A1, fitted with C-More red dot sight and SureFire Universal WeaponLight
District 9 Various MNU mercenaries Mounted on M4A1s, fitted with AN/PEQ-2 IR designators 2009
Brothers (2009) . U.S. Marine Mounted on M4A1 2009
Legion Paul Bettany Michael Mounted on M16A2 and M16A4 2010
The Losers Jeffrey Dean Morgan Clay RM Equipment M203PI in standalone "Tactical Mounting System" stock with M203 grip and C-More red-dot sight 2010
MacGruber Will Forte MacGruber Mounted on M4A1 2010
A-Team, The (2010) Quinton Jackson SGT Bosco "BA" Baracas Mounted on KAC stand-alone platform 2010
Red Hitman Mounted on M4A1 2010
Bruce Willis Frank Moses RM Equipment M203PI in standalone "Tactical Mounting System" stock
John Malkovich Marvin Boggs
Battle: Los Angeles . . . 2011
Hanna CIA SOG operator Mounted on M4A1, fitted with a carry handle 2011
Memorial Day 34th Infantry Division soldiers Mounted on M4A1 Carbine 2011
Battleground US Soldier Mounted on M16A1 2012
A Dark Truth Equadorian soldier Mounted on Colt Model 723 Carbine 2012
Cockneys vs. Zombies Mounted on M16A1 2012
Olympus Has Fallen North Korean terrorist RM Equipment M203PI 2013
Robocop Iranian insurgents Mounted on KAC stand-alone platforms 2014
Patrick Garrow Antoine Vallon
American Sniper US Marine Mounted on M16A4, with AN/PEQ-2 IR designator, EOTech red dot sight, and stock-mounted magazine pouch 2014

Television

Title Actor Character Note Air Date
Mail Call U.S Marines Mounted on M16A2s 2002 - 2009
Red Cap British SAS Troopers Mounted on M16A2s 2003 - 2004
Over There Luke MacFarlane Pvt. Frank 'Dim' Dumphy Mounted on M4A1 2005
Ultimate Force John Schwab Pincher Mounted on M4A1s 2006
Justin Allder Barbella
The Unit Dennis Haysbert Command Sgt. Major Jonas Blane Mounted on an M4A1 2006 - 2009
Max Martini Master Sgt. Mack Gerhardt M203A1 mounted on an M4A1
U.S. Army soldiers Mounted on M16A2s, M203A1s mounted on M4A1s
Generation Kill U.S. Marines Mounted on M4A1s and M16A2s 2008
Ultimate Weapons Mounted on XM177E2 2010
Defiance Graham Greene Rafe McCawley Mounted on M4A1s 2013
Defiance residents

Anime

Character Title Note Date
Bandou Elfen Lied Mounted on Heckler & Koch MP5A4 2004
Commandos Black Magic M-66 Mounted on M16A1 rifles 1987
Sousuke Full Metal Panic?: Fumoffu Mounted on M16 rifle 2003
Manami Asobi ni Ikuyo: Bombshells from the Sky Mounted on M16A1 rifle 2010
Ishikawa Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig Mounted on Howa Type 89 2004 - 2005
Hideo Kuze Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig Mounted on Howa Type 89 2004 - 2005
A.E. soldiers Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig Mounted on Colt Model 933 carbines 2004 - 2005
British Army soldiers Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig Mounted on L85A2 rifles 2004 - 2005

Video Games

Game Title Appears as Mods Notation Release Date
Half-Life Firing HE rounds Mounted on H&K MP5A3 and Colt Model 727 1998
Parasite Eve II M203 Mounted on M4A1 1999
Delta Force: Land Warrior M203PI Mounted on Steyr AUG 2000
Project IGI: I'm Going In Mounted on Colt XM177E2 2000
007: The World Is Not Enough "Mustang MAR-4 GL" Mounted on Colt Commando 2000
Operation Flashpoint M203 Can fire HE, smoke, or flare rounds Mounted on M16A2 2001
Ghost Recon M203A2 Mounted on M16A4 2001
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty M203 Mounted on M4A1 Carbine 2001
Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix M203 Firing HE rounds Mounted on Colt Model 727 2002
Delta Force: Task Force Dagger M203 Mounted on Colt Model 727 2002
The Sum Of All Fears Mounted on M16A4 2002
Conflict: Desert Storm M203 Firing HE rounds Mounted on M16A2 2002
America's Army M203 / M203A1 Can fire HDEP or smoke rounds Mounted on M16A2 and M4A1 Carbine 2002
IGI 2: Covert Strike Mounted on M16A2 2003
Chaser integrated into the handguard of a FAMAS G1 2003
Delta Force: Black Hawk Down M203 Mounted on M16A2 and Colt Model 727 2003
Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes Firing ring airfoil projectiles Mounted on FAMAS 2004
Rainbow Six 3: Black Arrow Standalone M203 Can fire HE, smoke, CS, or WP rounds Stand-alone variant with sliding stock 2004
Close Combat: First to Fight M203A2 Firing HE rounds Mounted on M16A4 2005
Battlefield 2 M203 Firing HE rounds Mounted on M16A2 2005
Project Reality M203 / M203A1 / M203A2 Firing HE, smoke, and illumination rounds Mounted on M16A1, M16A2, C7A2, Colt Model 653, and M4A1 Carbine 2005
Far Cry Instincts: Predator Mounted on a hybrid rifle 2006
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl Mounted on SIG SG 550, L85A1, H&K G36, and Z-M LR 300 2007
ArmA: Armed Assault M203 / M203A1 / M203A2 Can fire HE, smoke, or flare rounds Mounted on M16A2, M16A4, and M4A1 2007
World in Conflict M203 Firing HE rounds Mounted on M16A2 2007
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare "Grenade Launcher" Firing HE rounds Mounted on AR-15A3, M16A4, G36C, HK91A3, and M14 2007
Soldier of Fortune: Payback Mounted on M16A2 2007
Counter-Strike Online Part of the "SVDEX" 2008
Battlefield: Bad Company Mounted on H&K HK416, Steyr AUG A3, and M16A4 2008
Terminator Salvation used by Terminators 2009
ArmA II M203 / M203A1 / M203A2 Can fire HE, smoke, or flare rounds Mounted on M16A2, M16A4, and M4A1 Carbine, the latter having a camo paint scheme 2009
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 "Grenade Launcher" Firing HE rounds Can be mounted on every assault rifle, except for the AK-47 2009
Army of Two: The 40th Day "M203 40MM GL" Can be fitted to almost all primary weapons 2010
Marines: Modern Urban Combat M203A2 Firing HE rounds Mounted on M16A4 2010
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Mounted on H&K HK416, Steyr AUG A3, and M16A4, with and without camo paint scheme 2010
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker M203 Can fire HE or smoke rounds Mounted on M16A1 and Colt Model 653 2010
Delta Force: Xtreme 2 M203 Firing HE rounds Mounted on M16A2 2010
Operation Flashpoint 2: Dragon Rising M203 / M203A2 Mounted on M16A4 and M4A1 Carbine 2010
Medal of Honor (2010) M203A2 Firing HE rounds Mounted on M16A4 2010
Bloody Good Time Mounted on Z-M LR 300, but unusable 2010
Call of Duty: Black Ops "Grenade Launcher" Firing HE rounds Can be mounted on every assault rifle, except for the AK-47 and AKS-74U 2010
Homefront (VG) "Grenade launcher" Laser rangefinder for fictional airburst rounds Mounted on various rifles, able to use airburst and EMP rounds, zero arming distance 2011
Operation Flashpoint: Red River M203A1 / M203A2 Firing HE rounds Mounted on M16A4 and M4A1 Carbine 2011
Battlefield Play4Free M203 Aesthetic decoration only, but not usable Mounted on M16A4 2011
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 "M203 Grenade Launcher" Firing HE rounds Mounted on M16A4 and M4A1 2011
Breach Mounted on M4A1 and HK416 2011
NCIS: The Video Game M203A1 Seen on a poster 2011
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier GL M203A2 with AN/PSQ-18A day/night sight not usable 2012
Black Mesa GL Mounted on H&K MP5A3 2012
Batman: Arkham Knight Mounted on M4A1s 2014
Yakuza: Dead Souls Grenade Launcher Standalone variant with telescopic stock 2011
Squad M203A1 Mounted on the M4A1, fires HE or smoke rounds 2015

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