Country of origin
Length (stock extended)
Length (stock collapsed)
150 m (375 m)
Range of effective fire
MGL (Multi-shot Grenade Launcher) is a repeating grenade launcher
originating from South Africa. It was the first commercially
successful weapon of this type. The MGL may not have been the first
weapon of this type (that honor goes to the
Engineering MM-1), but it is beyond disputable that it validated
the concept. While MILKOR has produced other weapons, the MGL is the
one they're best known for.
Development of the MGL was surprisingly swift and
problem-free, having been designed in 1980 by Andries C. Piek, and
the first prototypes being completed in 1981. After 2 years of
trials and further developments, it was accepted into service with
the South African Defense Force (SADF) in 1983 as the MGL Mk.1. Soon
after MILKOR began to market the MGL abroad, and it quickly found
success, being sold to several nations in the Developing World
before the decade had ended. By the 1990s, several competing
imitators and customers in the Industrialized World followed,
quickly cementing the MGL into the position of being the world's
most successful repeating grenade launcher.
The MGL has a distinctive appearance, which until recent
years was fairly unique. It has a skeleton buttstock attached to the
butt of the cylinder crane hinge, that can fold 180 degrees over the
top of the weapon, an assault rifle-style pistol grip, and a
shallowly-bulged 90 degree foregrip bracketed to the barrel. The
receiver is wedge-shaped, with a conspicuously large trigger and
trigger guard, and the aforementioned rifle-style pistol grip
attached to the underside of the back end. The cylinder has a flat
recoil shield, a bottom strap, a thicker front shield, and an
overhead cylindrical housing for the cylinder crane hinge, which
swings 90 degrees to the left side when unlocked. The ejector rod
used to unlock the cylinder has a distinctive C-shaped catch. The
barrel is short, awkwardly resembling a drainpipe, and the
aforementioned foregrip is attached to it by a bracket. The standard
finish of the MGL is dark and metallic, but they have also been
produced in other colors as well (such as sand or olive drab).
The original MGL Mk.1 was made of an aluminum alloy, but this
was eventually replaced in production by examples made instead from
stainless steel, which were designated as the MGL Mk.1S. The
dimensions of the Mk.1S changed slightly, with the overall length
and length with the stock folded increasing to 787 mm and 661 mm,
respectively, and the unloaded weight increasing by 0.3 kg. Later
examples of the MGL Mk.1S have a larger scope, and a rifle-style
Further development of the MGL resulted in the MGL-140. This
model is distinguished primarily by its longer 140 mm cylinder
(hence, "MGL-140"), compared to the 105 mm cylinder used in the MGL
Mk.1 and Mk.1S. The MGL-140 has also been referred to as the MGL
Mk.1L (the "L" denoting the longer cylinder), but the MGL-140
designation is usually used to avoid confusion with the preceding
models. As the features and capabilities of the MGL-140 have
markedly changed over the original production models.
As in the earlier Hawk Engineering MM-1, the drum magazine of the MGL is
rotated by a spring when the weapon is fired, and must be rewound
every time the weapon is reloaded. This process is faster in the MGL
however, and is accomplished simply by rotating the magazine 360
degrees before or after reloading it. However, there is no cartridge
extractor system, so any spent casings or unfired rounds must be
removed by hand, one at a time.
The sight for the MGL is mounted atop the cylinder hinge, and
is usually a telescope. It may also be fired without a functioning
sight in an emergency, though unless the user is highly experienced
in using the MGL, accuracy will suffer (especially at long ranges).
The MGL can fire any low-velocity 40x46 mm grenade. The same
grenades are used by the US
grenade launcher and
underbarrel grenade launcher. For a list
of some common examples, see the
The MGL was first used in combat during the South African
Border War by the SADF, in which it earned great praise from South
African soldiers. This weapon has since seen action all over the
world, in locations as far-flung as Central America, Central Asia,
and the Philippines; and just as in the border war, wherever the MGL
is used in combat, it impresses soldiers and journalists alike.
Known operators of the MGL and its variants include
Bangladesh, Bosnia, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Croatia,
Denmark, France, Georgia, India, Israel, Indonesia, Kuwait,
Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines,
Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Taiwan,
Thailand, Turkey, the United States, and Vietnam. Note that this
list also includes nations witch use the MGL-140, as it is unclear
with some operators as to whether they use the MGL, the MGL-140, or
both. The MGL has also been manufactured under license in Columbia
by INDUMIL, and the MGL-140 has been build under license in Croatia
by RH Alan as the "RGB-6". The MGL-140 has also been manufactured in
the US as the M32 MGL --- and interestingly, rather than being built
by a US company, MILKOR has a US branch with its own "state-side"
factories, that produce the M32 locally in the US.
The basic MGL was eventually phased out of production in
favor of the MGL-140, which remains the flagship product of the
MILKOR company. At least 50 000 MGLs of all types have been
manufactured to date.
Original production model. It is the only production variant made
MGL Mk.1S: Improved MGL Mk.1 made from stainless steel.
MGL-140: Radically improved MGL Mk.1S, with improved
ergonomics, sights, and longer cylinder chambers allowing for longer
grenades to be fired. This weapon can be identified by a much
MGL Mk.1L: Alternate designation for the MGL-140.
M32 MGL: MGL-140 built under license in the US.
Mk.14: Shortened M32 with a 203 mm barrel, developed for use
MAR: Less-lethal version of the MGL-140 for crowd control
purposes, in a 37 mm chambering.
SuperSix MRGL: Third generation MGL introduced in 2012, with
M23A1 MSGL: US military designation for the SuperSix MRGL.
RBG-6: Croatian Army designation for the MGL-140.
Y2: Danish Army designation for the MGL Mk.1S. This was also
at one time an alternative company designation for the MGL.
Granatkastargevär 90: Swedish Army designation for the
RGP-40: Polish grenade launcher based on the MGL-140.
Engineering MM-1: US grenade launcher with a similar layout, and
a much larger 12-round drum. This weapon was produced in small
numbers. No longer in production.
RG-6: Russian grenade launcher similar in form and function
to the MGL.
LG6: Chinese revolver-style repeating grenade launcher.
Unlike the MGL, the LG6 fires from a detachable drum magazine.
LG3: Chinese grenade launcher with a strikingly similar
design to the MGL-140.
QLZ-87: Chinese automatic grenade launcher fed by a drum
magazine. It is unique in being the only fully man-portable weapon
in this class to be fielded so far.
Lavina: Bulgarian repeating grenade launcher, with a unique
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