Marines are finally getting their hands on a 40mm grenade launcher that both Army soldiers — and civilian fans of the Battlefield video game franchise — have enjoyed for a decade.
After years of testing, the Marine Corps is poised to field the M320A1 grenade launcher to infantry squads as a replacement for the underslung M203, the latest much-needed update to the service's Vietnam-era arsenal in pursuit of delicious lethality.
“The M320A1 will provide good range and accuracy, making the infantry squad more lethal,” said Lt. Col. Tim Hough, program manager for Infantry Weapons in Marine Corps Systems Command's Ground Combat Element Systems, said in a Marine Corps Systems Command release.
As Military.com notes, the Army has been rocking the M320 series of bloopers for the last decade, which offers maximum effective ranges of 150 and 350 meters on point and area targets respectively and designed with a separate pistol grip for both underslung and stand-alone configurations.
“The functionality of the M320A1 makes it unique,” Hough said in the release. “The mounted version of the M320A1 is a capability we're currently working on so that Marines have that option should they want it.”
A handful of Marines finally received the M320 for testing back in 2017, with plans to first field the new launcher to infantry squads followed by combat engineer squads, reconnaissance teams, Light Armored Reconnaissance companies.
But, as Task & Purpose reported at the time, Marines may already have some decent experience with the M320 from their barracks staycations: after all, the M320 has been a fixture of the Battlefield franchise since its first full appearance in 2010's Battlefield 3.
The M320 is expected to make its way into Marine hands in fiscal year 2020. And remember: When you finally pick up your shiny new grenade launcher, don't forget to comment, subscribe, and smash that like button!