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Automatic grenade launcher


The Mk.19 saw action in a number of wars starting from the Vietnam War

Caliber 40 mm
Cartridge 40x53 mm
Weight 35.2 kg
Length 1 090 mm
Barrel length 413 mm
Muzzle velocity 240 m/s
Cyclic rate of fire 325 - 375 rpm
Practical rate of fire 40 rpm
Magazine capacity belts with 32 or 48 rounds
Sighting range 300 - 1 500 m
Range of effective fire 1 600 m
Maximum range 2 200 m


   Produced since 1968 by Saco Defense Industries, costing about $20 000, and in service with nearly 30 countries, the Mk.19 (or Mark 19) is a powerful weapon, capable of quickly firing large numbers of grenades. To date, over 35 000 have been built.

   The US developed the Mk.19 during the Vietnam War because it needed a river patrol craft with high firepower. The original Mod 0 was designed in 1966, and it was hurried into service in 1968.

   An improved model, the Mod 1, became operational around 1971. In 1974, the US Navy attempted to improve the design, creating the Mod 2. However, the Mod 2 never used. In 1976, the US Navy simplified the weapon, and the result was the Mod 3, the primary Mk.19 model.

   The Mk.19 is a blowback operated, open bolt, air-cooled weapon capable of fully automatic or single shot fire. It uses 40-mm grenades. There are high explosive fragmentation, dual-purpose (armor-piercing/fragmentation) and smoke grenades.

   The Mk.19 is fed from 32 or 48 round disintegrating link belts weighing 19 or 27 kg. This weapon can fire at 60 rounds per minute for fast fire or 40 rounds per minute for sustained fire. The Mk.19 is not safe to be fired at targets fewer than 75 meters away.

   It utilizes a large rear leaf sight moved in 100-meter increments. A night vision sight can be added via a Picatinny rail. Although it has a flash suppressor, it is only intended to preserve the gunnerís night vision. Consequently, it has a highly visible flash.

   Since it has relatively low recoil, the Mk.19 is best used on vehicles or small vessels. It can be mounted on a tripod, although it is more commonly used in the vehicle mode due to its weight, serving on HMMWVs, AAVs, the Stryker, MRAPs, hovercraft, jeeps or ships.

   The M430 40x53 mm high explosive dual-purpose grenades used provide much of the Mk.19ís power. They can penetrate up to 50 mm of rolled homogeneous armor with a direct hit. Thus, it is effective against most armored personnel carriers, some infantry fighting vehicles, infantry, and even helicopters. It is lethal within 5 meters, and wounds anything within 15 meters.

   The Mk.19 has fought in numerous wars, primarily with all branches of the US Armed Forces, including the Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, War in Afghanistan, Iraq War, 2006 Lebanon War, Turkey-PKK Conflict, and the Mexican Drug War.

   The Soviet Union adopted a similar 30 mm automatic grenade launcher soon after the United States did. It is known as the AGS-17 Plamya. Heckler and Koch developed an improved and lighter version of the Mk.19 using the same caliber: the GMG (Grenade Machine Gun). It is very reliable and more accurate, utilizing a closed bolt system.

   Major operators of the Mk.19 include the United States, Mexico, Pakistan, Canada, Israel, and Greece. Turkey and Egypt license produce Mk.19, although Israel did so formerly.


The Tiger

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