Sunday, September 15, 2013

Truth in advertising...

I'd never fired a grenade launcher before.

I mean, I've fired a bunch of 37mm "grenade launchers", usually just popping a flare into the sky over the lake or what-have-you, but actually launching a grenade with the intent to hit something? That was completely outside of my skillset.

The FN40GL has a true DAO trigger so that Pvt. Snuffy can give a recalcitrant primer as many do-overs as he wants* without having to re-cock the weapon. When mounted on its stand-alone shoulder-stock doohickey, it is strange to fire because this long, light, vague trigger is most easily accessed by the traffic finger rather than the more usual digit.  Combine that with uncertainty over what recoil will be like and it makes one hesitate to snug up a good cheek weld on that metal rod of a stock to use the irons.

I was supposed to hit a car some distance downrange. Fifty yards? Seventy-five? With an orange practice marker grenade.

Fortunately there was a green Crimson Trace RailMaster laser clamped to one of the acres of Picatinny rail on the thing. "Just hold it where the trim strip on the door is... er, where it used to be... and be smooth on the trigger and you'll hit it, no problem," said the helpful RO.

The range officers on Stage 9 were so helpful because even on the second night of the match, they still got the giggles every time a marker grenade hit the car. It really is the simple things in life that are the most fun.

I held my head up like a prairie dog watching the green dot on the derelict Subie's door panel rather than snugged down watching the front sight like a good shooter, partly because of recoil paranoia and partly because, hey, I wanted to see the grenade hit, too.



POOF! Direct hit! Orange marker dust spattered everywhere. w00t!

You can see the orange on the berm from people who didn't listen to instructions.
Recoil was negligible, especially considering that I'd just lobbed a several ounce projectile out of something that felt about as substantial as a Nerf gun. And the laser? The laser made it stupid easy. If you could hold the dot still and pull a DA trigger properly, all you had to do was hold the dot where they told you and you literally couldn't miss.

In this case, the laser was practically cheating. If I'd realized the laser was that dialed in, I'd have shot it from the hip, just because.

*I don't know the exact logic behind this, but I think I'd treat the possibility of a 40mm hangfire differently than a 5.56mm one, too.


Anonymous said...

Our slick drivers always liked it when we prepped the LZ for them with the "chunker" (XM5)aircraft. Come to think of it, it was pretty cool! regards, Alemaster

Nick said...

I bought an M203 like a month after I turned 21 so its always good to hear of other people finding out how flipping awesome 40mm systems are, just don't start collecting the ammo (it's expensive enough as it is and I don't need more competition :P).

Anonymous said...

"the traffic finger"

We call that the road-rage digit around here, and I really try not to use it...but sometimes...

Yesterday wife and I are cruising a rural but divided road, and a guy is lollygagging in the left lane and pulling a small utility trailer. The care in the right lane was a good piece ahead of him so I pass trailer guy on the right, and he speeds up to try to squeeze me out. I move on over anyway, close but plenty of room. I dutifully go back to the right when I clear the car I'm passing, and trailer guy zips past and swings his trailer in close then slows back down. I reactively flip him off over the steering wheel and briefly consider zipping back around him and nailing the brake. Maybe it's because I'm more old or less dumb than I used to be, but I just back off instead. And of course in hindsight, I realize it was dumb to flick the bird and would be way dumber to get into a car wreck or worse, a gunfight, while ferrying wifey to Target, so I pull into the Circle K for a soda, and was rewarded with a sweet and quiet "thank you" from her.

Dumb shit like that happens all the time; I'd just rather it didn't involve me, and I'm getting better about it in my old age. But sometimes, grrrrrrrrr!


P.S. Subies do eventually die?

og said...

that does look like a screaming hoot.

Fred said...

The absurdly low pressure makes 40-mike-mike surprisingly light feeling in the recoil department. However, rest assured, a transit sight to the face still hurts like hell (thanks SGT RO, the leaf sight was a great idea! Jerk.)

Scott J said...

Back in the 90's when I had a subscription to "Shotgun News" I used to eye the full page ads for M203s and go hmmmmm.

But I always talked myself out of it thinking that owning a potential launcher of a DD would get me more ATF attention than I wanted.

Tam said...

Scott J,

True Story: Back in... '02 or so? Anyway, many years ago, I was sitting at Oleg's kitchen table, listening to him talk about how neat it would be to have a suppressed .22 for teaching new shooters, but he "didn't want to be on any lists."

"Oleg," I replied, "if there are lists, the posters you make guarantee you're number one with a bullet on them. If you want a can, knock yourself out. It's not like it's going to make things any worse."

Scott J said...

I definitely got over it, Tam.

I very quickly came to realize those 4473s I filled out put me on lists. Not to mention some of the rants I sent to my congresscritters.

But by that time I had caught the long range and NRA Highpower bugs and laying in lots of .30-06 brass, 168 Sierra MatchKings and WLR primers interested me more.

Those bugs passed too but I sure have been thankful for all those components I socked away way back when during this most recent famine.

The only thing I've really missed in this lean time has been cheap duce duce. 1,500 rounds was not near enough to weather this storm.

Matt G said...

Deep, new-laser green envy.

Anonymous said...

One summer in college, I was on the CATM staff. The powers-that-be had organized a Spouse's Day for all of the officer's wives, so they let the female cadets do a weapons demo. One of the volleyball players laid waste with the '60 like she was born there.

On the other end of the spectrum was the girl on the M-203. What the audience was supposed to see was her fire a grenade and the 55 gal drum on top of the berm blew up. What the audience didn't know was that she had a chalk round, and there was a small charge planted under the drum that was remotely detonated by someone else.

She was uncomfortable as heck with the gun. I could hear the guy behind her saying, "Higher. Higher." The barrel wasn't yet level when her booger hook found the "Bang" switch. The chalk round went about 20 feet before smacking into the ground and skipping (or at least it seemed to). After a painfully long wait, the barrel detonated.

- Drifter

perlhaqr said...

In this case, the laser was practically cheating. If I'd realized the laser was that dialed in, I'd have shot it from the hip, just because.


I mean, not like I didn't already know that you're "my people", but... it's just good to see written confirmation of the known, sometimes. :D

Boat Guy said...

They are VERY fun and the lower-velocity 40mm round is pretty sweet. We had a variety of ways to make them fly; the Mk 20 was a recoil operated auto gun about twice the size of the crank-operated Mk 18; the 203 came in and solved the Infantry "problem" of single-purpose Grenadiers, but the REAL Sweetheart-of-the-Rodeo was (and still is) the M79. The boys are still totin them (very much chopped and channeled) in near-sidearm mode. As with shotguns, I still prefer a full stock on mine.
To my last (and best) PBR Det the direction I gave was "You can have any long gun you want as long as it's either an 870 or a 79."

Woodman said...

Cracked a tube on a 203 shooting up all Uncle Sam's ammo so we could get more next month.

Shoot-ex was never complete till we broke something.

Turns out five dudes, one m203, and two cases of flares are a bad idea. The goal was to see how many we could get in the air off one tube. I think we got up to 5 when it cracked. Not that that stopped us, but it did slow things down.

11B just ain't that smart sometimes. Especially when the only toys around go bang.

Matthew said...


They've had enough time to learn that if you don't want it broke, you don't give it to a grunt who didn't pay for it. :)

mostly cajun said...

Hangfire?''Don't worry abouth the projectile 'sploding. They're either set-back or spin (or both) armed.


NotClauswitz said...

Could it be that a 40mm subsonic high-arc round is less flinch-worthy than a 5.56 high-power round going ?

global village idiot said...

Mk 19s are fun but not as much fun as you'd think.

M203s with live ammunition, OTOH, are quite a lot of fun; however...

Calling for fire and having a 155mm HE round land directly on top of the target you were adjusting to is a thrill you can only get by applying explosives AND mathematics.

It also earns you a standing ovation from the forward observers.


Scout26 said...

So the FN40GL is simply the old M79 made Tact-E-Cool?

Scout26 said...

And how could I forget this one from the Army's Preventative Maintenance Magazine "P.S."

"Slipping gear could let your M203 grenade launcher fire when you least expect it. That would make you quite unpopular in what’s left of your unit.”

Tam said...

No, the FN40 is designed to be used underbarrel, like the 203 or Russian GP-25.