Mk 19 grenade launcher

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Mk 19 grenade launcher
A Mk 19 40 mm grenade launcher mounted on an M3 tripod
Type Automatic grenade launcher
Place of origin United States of America
Service history
Used by See Users
Wars Vietnam War
Persian Gulf War[1]
War in Afghanistan
Iraq War
2006 Lebanon War
Turkey-PKK conflict[2]
Mexican Drug War
Production history
Designer Naval Ordnance Station Louisville
Designed 1966
Manufacturer Saco Defense Industries (now a division of General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems), Combined Service Forces, MKEK[3]
Unit cost $20,000[4]
Produced 1968–present
Variants Mk 19 Mod 0, Mk 19 Mod 1, Mk 19 Mod 2, Mk 19 Mod 3, Mk 19 Mod 4
Weight 77.6 pounds (35.2 kg) (empty, without accessories)
Length 43.1 inches (1,090 mm)
Barrel length 16.25 inches (413 mm)
Width 9.46 inches (240.4 mm)
Height 7.8 inches (199 mm)

Cartridge 40×53 mm
Action Blowback (Advanced primer ignition)
Rate of fire 325–375 rpm (cyclic)
Muzzle velocity 790 feet per second (240 m/s) (average)
Effective firing range 1,500 m (1,600 yd)
Maximum firing range 2,212 m (2,419 yd)
Feed system 32 or 48 grenades belt

The Mk 19 grenade launcher (also known as the Mark 19) is an American 40 mm belt-fed automatic grenade launcher that was first developed during the Vietnam War. The first model (Mod 0) in 1966 was determined to be unreliable and unsafe, but a total of 6 Mod 1 launchers were successfully tested on U.S. Navy riverine patrol craft in the Mekong Delta in 1972. The Navy made further improvements to the weapon, resulting in the Mod 3 in 1976. The MOD 3 was adopted by the U.S Army in 1983 and remains in service to the present day.[5][6]


A U.S. Marine fires a Mk 19 40 mm grenade launcher in Quantico, Virginia in September 2000.

The Mk 19 is a belt-fed, blowback-operated, air-cooled, crew-served, fully automatic weapon that is designed not to cook off. It fires 40 mm grenades at a cyclic rate of 325 to 375 rounds per minute, giving a practical rate of fire of 60 rounds per minute (rapid) and 40 rounds per minute (sustained). The weapon operates on the blowback principle, which uses the chamber pressure from each fired round to load and re-cock the weapon. The Mk 19 can launch its grenade at a maximum distance of 2,212 meters (2,419 yd), though its effective range to a point target is about 1,500 meters (1,600 yd), since the large rear leaf sight is only graduated to 1,500 meters. The nearest safe distance to launch the grenade is 310 meters in training and 75 meters in combat. Though the Mk 19 has a flash suppressor, it serves only to save the eyesight of its operator; it does not conceal the weapon's position. For night operation, a picatinny rail quadrant sight can be added for thermal and night vision optics.

The Mk 19A is a man-portable crew-served weapon that can fire from a tripod-mounted position or from a vehicle mount, with the latter being the preferred method, as the weapon alone weighs 77.6 pounds (35.2 kg). The primary ammunition for it is the high-explosive dual-purpose M430 grenade. On impact, the grenade can kill anyone within a radius of five meters, and wound them within a radius of 15 meters. It can also punch through 2 inches (5.1 cm) of rolled homogeneous armor with a direct hit (0-degree obliquity), which means it can penetrate most infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers. It is especially effective when used against enemy infantry formations. The ammunition comes in cans that hold a 32- or 48-grenade belt weighing 42 and 60 pounds (19 and 27 kg), respectively. Due to its low recoil and comparatively light weight, it has been adapted for use on many different platforms, including small attack boats, fast attack vehicles such as the Humvee (HMMWV), AAV and Stryker, military jeeps, and a large variety of naval mounts.

The Mk 19 automatic grenade launcher replaced the earlier Mk 18 hand-cranked multiple grenade launcher. The 40 mm ammunition used (40×53 mm) is not interchangeable with that used in the M203 (40×46 mm). The M203 ammunition develops a lower chamber pressure, and resultant lower muzzle velocity and range, compared to ammunition loaded for the Mk 19. The Mk 19 fires from an open bolt. The rounds are mechanically fed onto the bolt face with the pull of the charging handles. When the trigger is pressed, the bolt closes, and the firing pin is released. The recoil blows back the bolt, feeds a new round onto the bolt face, which pushes the expended casing off the bolt face.

Production of the Mk 19 is managed by Saco Defense Industries (now a division of General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems).

In November 2014, General Dynamics entered into an agreement with Advanced Material Engineering Pte Ltd, a subsidiary of Singapore Technologies Kinetics, to manufacture 40 mm high-velocity airburst ammunition for the U.S. military. The 40 mm airburst grenade uses a programmable, time-based fuse that computes and programs the detonation time into it, which counts down once fired to zero to detonate at the intended target point. The airburst ammunition is compatible with the Mk 19, which would give it greater effectiveness and lethality, particularly against concealed and defilade targets.[7]


GDOTS has built nearly 35,000 Mk 19 Mod 3 systems for roughly 30 customers since 1984.[8] Users of the Mk 19 include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Report: Profiling the Small Arms Industry - World Policy Institute - Research Project". World Policy Institute. November 2000. Retrieved 2010-07-15. 
  2. ^ "Milliyet - Özel birlikler Kato'yu PKK'ya dar etti". Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ "Weapons: Mk19 Gets A Brain". 2011-03-30. Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  5. ^ "Field Manual 3-22.27(FM 23.27) MK 19, 40-mm GRENADE MACHINE GUN, MOD 3" (PDF). Department of the Army. November 2003. Retrieved 2015-06-05. 
  6. ^ Tucker, Spencer C. (20 May 2011). The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War: A Political, Social, and Military History [4 volumes]: A Political, Social, and Military History. ABC-CLIO. p. 431. ISBN 978-1-85109-961-0. 
  7. ^ General Dynamics to manufacture ST Kinetics' 40mm High Velocity Air Burst Ammunition -, 20 November 2014
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ Armada Argentina - official site
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Jones, Richard D. Jane's Infantry Weapons 2009/2010. Jane's Information Group; 35 edition (January 27, 2009). ISBN 978-0-7106-2869-5.
  11. ^ "Bangladesh Navy Special Warfare Diving And Salvage (SWADS)". Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ a b "A new generation of AGLs". 2002-04-01. Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  16. ^ "Greece Land Forces". Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  17. ^ "ARW Operator manning a MK19 on a Long Range Patrol Vehicle". 4 January 2010. Flickr. Retrieved 14 May 2014. 
  18. ^ Miles, Donna (April 8, 2009). "Gates, Lebanese Defense Minister Explore Expanding Bilateral Relationship". American Forces Press Service - DefenseLink News. Retrieved 2009-04-08. 
  19. ^ "Pakistan Army". 
  20. ^
  21. ^ Janq Designs. "Special Operations.Com". Special Operations.Com. Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  22. ^ Henrik Svensk. "Granatspruta 40mm Grsp". Retrieved 2012-11-24. 
  23. ^

External links[edit]