Whether you’ve played Black Hawk Down, Call of Duty, or Battlefield, chances are you’ve played around with the M203 grenade launcher. Goofing around with a grenade launcher in a game can be one hell of a good time, but there’s a reason why the actual military is slowly phasing it out.

An M320 grenade launcher rests on a crate with ammunition for a demonstration at the San Angelo Police Department firing range, Feb. 15, 2019. During the demo, Goodfellow members used pellet rounds, a sponge round, and other non-lethal rounds. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Isiah Jacobs/Released)

Around 2008, the M320 was developed by Heckler & Koch to create a new grenade launcher to fill the design and functional gaps the M203 left behind. That’s not to say the M203 wasn’t a reliable attachment. It’s just that technology improves, and we have to get along with the times to give our armies the best possible equipment they can get their hands on.

Giving Credit To The M203

Yes, I know that the title of this article is quite negative, but that does not mean the M203 doesn’t deserve a pat on the back. As we all know, the M203 has been in service since 1969. It provided the military the necessary firepower to blast the enemies as far as 400m.

The M203A2 Grenade Launcher can be mounted under the M16A4 Rifle or M4 Carbine. It gives the Soldier a grenade capability and bridges the gap between the hand grenade and mortar. Photo Courtesy of PEO Soldier

It served the United States Army for decades with little improvement or refinement. The M203 replaced the excellent M79 grenade launcher during the Vietnam War. It was generally easy to attach to M16s and M4s, and the C7 and provided crowd control whenever necessary in close-range situations dispensing tear gas and smoke. More so, it could also breakthrough light barriers such as windows, doors, and even unarmored vehicles if needed—although the weapon wasn’t really used for anti-vehicle purposes. Its A2 variant also had a quick-release mechanism for easier access and mobility.