M320 Grenade Launcher Module
|M320 Grenade Launcher Module|
Standalone M320 with detachable buttstock
|Place of origin||Germany|
|In service||2009 to present|
|Manufacturer||Heckler & Koch|
|Weight||1.5 kg (3.3 lb)|
|Length||350 mm (13.7 in.)|
|Barrel length||280 mm (11 in.)|
|Action||Single shot, double action|
|Rate of fire||5 to 7 rounds per minute|
|Muzzle velocity||76 m/s|
|Effective range||150 m|
|Maximum range||400 m|
|Feed system||Single shot|
M320 Grenade Launcher Module (GLM) is the U.S. military's designation for a new single-shot 40 mm grenade launcher system to replace the M203[dead link] for the U.S. Army, while other services will keep using the older M203. The M320 uses the same High-Low Propulsion System as the M203.
After the U.S. Army at Picatinny Arsenal conducted a competitive bidding process for a new 40 mm grenade launching system, Heckler & Koch was awarded a contract to provide the XM320 beginning in 2006. The M320 was developed from but is not identical to the Heckler & Koch AG36 (a key distinguishing feature being the addition of a folding foregrip ahead of the trigger for use when the weapon is in stand-alone configuration, a feature the AG36 lacks). The M320 entered production in November 2008.
The M320 has three major parts: a grenade launcher, Day/Night Sight (DNS) produced by Insight Technology, Inc and a hand held Laser Range Finder (LRF). Some of the benefits are:
- The M320 can be used in two ways. It can be attached to the M16 assault rifle and the M4 carbine, attaching under the barrel forward of the magazine, or it can be used dismounted with a stock attached as a stand alone model.
- The Day/Night Sight allows the grenadier to effectively engage the enemy in the dark.
The sights on the M320 are located to the side of the launcher. This avoids the problems that the M203 had with its sight design. The M203's sights were mounted on top of the launcher and could interfere with the rifle's sights and they had to be attached separately. This meant two separate operations had to be performed when adding the grenade launcher to the weapon, and since the sights were not integral to the M203, they had to be re-zeroed every time the launcher was reattached to the rifle.
The M320 can fire all NATO high-explosive, smoke, and illumination grenades. Its breech opens to the side, allowing it to fire a variety of newer rounds which are longer, in particular certain non-lethal rounds such as Federal Laboratories' "exact impact" (brand name) non-lethal sponge batons or sponge grenades.
The M320 operates in double action mode, with an ambidextrous safety. In case of misfire, the M320 operator merely has to pull the trigger again. The M203 used a single action mode which cocks the weapon as the barrel is opened. The M203 operator has to open the barrel by unlocking it and pushing forward to cock the weapon and then re-close the barrel, then pull the trigger again. The problem with this is that in opening the barrel, the grenade is designed to eject and the operator must ensure that it does not fall to the ground.
The LRF helps eliminate range estimation errors common in shots greater than 100 meters, thus increasing first round hit probability.
See also 
- KAC Masterkey
- M26 Modular Accessory Shotgun System
- Rifle grenade
- Under-slung Grenade Launcher
- Related Lists:
- "XM320 Grenade Launcher Module And XM26 Modular Accessory Shotgun System". Army Magazine.
- "Product Manager Individual Weapons"
- "AG36 / AG-C / EGLM / XM320 grenade launcher". Modern Firearms.
- MacLeod, Spc. Michael J. "Bragg GIs 1st to Field Grenade Launcher". Military.com, July 08, 2009
- Fuller, BG Peter N.; COL Douglas A. Tamilio (18 MAY 2010). "Project Manager Soldier Weapons Briefing for NDIA". PEO Soldier. United States Army. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
- This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: XM320|
- XM320 40 mm Grenade Launcher Module (GLM) Fact sheet[dead link]
- AG36 / AG-C / EGLM / XM320 grenade launcher page on Modern Firearms site
- M320 on GlobalSecurity.org
- XM320 page on HK USA site