5.56 Timeline

My M203

I don’t know when I started wanting a M203 Grenade Launcher, but I’m pretty sure I wanted one right after I first saw one.

About three years ago I had a little extra cash in my pocket and I realized that if I didn’t buy a M203 then, I probably never would.

The M203 is a Destructive Device and requires annoying special paperwork to purchase.  Not that long ago the paperwork requirements changed and make it a little harder to purchase a M203.  I decided I would purchase one before these 41F changes.

Well, I wasn’t so lucky, took me a long time for the launcher to get to my local dealer, then a long time for the ATF to clear the post 41F paperwork.  But after about 2 years I finally got it.  I had shopped around local dealers and the only ones that had it in stock were charging about twice MSRP for a LMT M203.  I couldn’t find any other brands at a reasonable price.  I ended up buying from The Bullet Hole in Sarasota who special ordered it for me and got me a good deal.  I’m very glad I purchased from them.

I once saw a comment, it went something like, “The M203 is the most versatile useless thing you could own.”  There are a wide variety of rounds and subcaliber ammunition available, but all are for specialized purposes and are mostly useless for the layman.

One of these grenade launchers can also fire shotshells, flares, baton rounds, smoke round, CS rounds, chalk rounds, flash bangs, cameras, and a variety of other stuff.  But as I said, those are generally useless for the layman, not to mention rather expensive per round.

For example I purchased some chalk training rounds.  I paid about $7 a round shipped.  I believe I will be able to reload them for about $2 a round.  Not very cheap to shoot, but also something you wouldn’t be shooting very high volume with.  I purchased some 12 and 20 gauge adaptors allowing me to fire shotgun shells, but the M203 makes for a very awkward slow single shot.  I’ve been keeping an eye out for sales on other specialty rounds like flares and the like.  I want to get some, but I don’t want to spend $50 a piece for them.

My favorite part of owning a M203, and quite possibly the best part of owning a grenade launcher is being able to tell people I own a grenade launcher.  I get asked, “What are you going to do with a grenade launcher?”  To which I reply, “What ever I want, cause I own a grenade launcher.”

Ultimately I recognize that my M203 is just an expensive toy for me.  That is why I like having it on it’s own stand alone stock.  Mounting it on a rifle really means I am adding 3 pounds of dead weight to a rifle.  That said, the M203 needs a mount to be used so I purchased the KAC QD mount.  This lets me quickly mount this on a rifle should I want too.

The M203 is something I really don’t need, but I am really glad I bought it.  It is nice to have some fun guns.


M203 Information

I was asked by someone on AR15.com to find some information about the M203.  I am posting it here so it will be available for everyone.

I weight a 9 inch and 12 inch barrel on a precision scale.  Both barrels had grease on them which I did not clean off.  I can’t tell you how much the grease threw off the measurements, but this should still give  you a fair comparison on weights.

The 9 inch barrel is 14.7 oz, or 416.6g.

The 12 inch barrel is 17.54 oz or 497.5g.

It makes me think that since the 12 inch barrel is so close to 500 grams that may have been a target weight for the barrel.  When I first put the 12 inch barrel on the scale it said 500 flat, but when I moved it and wiggled the barrel it ended up settling down to 497.5g.  So in the end, the 9 inch barrel is about .18 pounds lighter than the 12 inch barrel.

LMT M203 with unknown brand 9in 40mm barrel.  LMT Stand Alone Stock, Daniel Defense Front Sight, and unknown rail mount leaf sight.

Also, the Army says that the muzzle velocity of the M320 is 236.22 fps, and the M203 is 250 fps.  But I don’t know what barrel length they are referring to in that.