View Full Version : 82nd receives 1st batch of M320s

07-03-2009, 12:31 PM
82nd receives 1st batch of M320s

Staff report
Posted : Friday Jul 3, 2009 9:48:49 EDT

Soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C., on June 16 were the first to receive the Army’s new 40mm M320 grenade launcher. More than 320 soldiers will begin training with the weapon, which will be used for combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Program Executive Office Soldier.

The Army’s plan is to purchase about 71,600 M320s over the next several years at a cost of about $3,500 each. The weapon replaces the Vietnam-era M203 40mm grenade launcher, with several notable improvements.

• While the M203 was designed for day firing, the M320 can function both day and night. In the dark, the sight has a push-button infrared laser pointer that grenadiers will see through night-vision gear.

• The sight features also bring a higher level of sophistication. Using the laser range finder, a soldier lases to the target to get the exact range and then dials in the meters to the target, which are displayed in a tiny window on the day-night sight.

• The M320 can be attached to M4 and M16 rifles or fired as a standalone weapon. Unlike the M203, the M320’s breech swings open to the left side of the weapon so it can fire grenades up to about 9 inches in length.

• The M320 features a double-action trigger, an improvement on the single-action trigger of the M203. When the M203 is loaded, it is ready to fire. With the M320, the firing pin remains in the uncocked position. Pulling the trigger cocks the firing pin to the rear and fires it, reducing the possibility of a round going off if the weapon is dropped or bumped.

• The M320 features its own pistol grip instead of relying on the 30-round magazine of the M16.