M32 Multiple-Shot Grenade Launcher

The M32 Grenade Launcher, Multi-shot, 40mm provides the U.S. Marines with increased firepower to dominate an area of operation or to defeat specific targets in battle. The ability of the M32 to deliver explosive 40mm grenades in volume with high accuracy is far more effective than the single-shot grenade launchers that the M32 replaces.

PFC Kris A. Peoples (from Kennesaw, GA), 3rd Bn, 6th Marines, fires the M32 Grenade Launcher, Multi-shot, 40mm, Camp Habbaniyah, Iraq,  23 Jan 2007
PFC Kris A. Peoples (from Kennesaw, GA), 3rd Bn, 6th Marines, fires the M32 Grenade Launcher, Multi-shot, 40mm, Camp Habbaniyah, Iraq, 23 Jan 2007.

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M32 Multiple-Shot Grenade Launcher

Lance Cpl. Gerard R. Fraino prepares his M32 Multiple-Shot 40mm Grenade Launcher before going on patrol, Ramadi, Iraq, 23 May 2006
Lance Cpl. Gerard R. Fraino prepares his M32 Multiple-Shot 40mm Grenade Launcher before going on patrol, Ramadi, Iraq, 23 May 2006.

The M32 Grenade Launcher, Multi-shot, 40mm was considered for procurement by the US Marine Corps in 2005, based on needs assessment in Iraq. The requirement called for a grenade launcher that could rapidly fire multiple rounds, unlike the single shot M203 Grenade Launcher and M320 Grenade Launcher. The MGL-140, manufactured by Milkor USA Inc., was evaluated and tested. Based on the test results, the USMC issued specifications for modifications to meet Marine requirements. In August 2005, the USMC awarded a contract to Milkor for weapons meeting the improved design, designated the M32 Multiple shot Grenade Launcher (M32 MGL or M32 MSGL). Delivery was completed by early 2006.

The M32 MSGL is an awkward looking weapon, stripped down for its basic function of putting low-velocity 40mm grenade cartridges downrange, on target. It features a collapsible buttstock and a Picatinny rail with an M2A1 reflex sight mounted. Using a mechanical concept very much like a revolver pistol, the M32 will fire six rounds as fast as the operator can pull the trigger. The reloadable six-round magazine can then be quickly recharged and reloaded to fire six more rounds.

Experience in the first few years of use showed that Marines can be quickly trained to be at least as accurate with the M32 as with the predecessor M203, but with the added rapid fire capability at a sustained minimum rate of approximately one round per second. Its 140mm chamber length allows the M32 MSGL to fire all types of lethal and non-lethal 40mm grenade ammunition. Using an M32, a Marine can accurately cover an area of 20x60 meters in 3 seconds at distances up to 400 meters (firing six rounds of M433 HE 40mm ammo with a 5-meter impact radius). The M32 MSGL is effective against localized targets during Military Operations on Urbanized Terrain (MOUT), for example windows, vehicles, IEDs and moving personnel at a range of up to 250 meters.

The M32 Grenade Launcher, Multi-shot, 40mm weighs 13.2 pounds (5.9kg) empty. With six rounds the weight increases to 15-16 pounds (6.8 to 7.3kg), depending on the type of rounds loaded. The weight is a drawback, one of the few issues Marines have with this weapon.

US Special Operations Command also acquired a short-barreled version of the weapon designated the Mk 14 Mod 0. By 2009, they were said to have 230 such weapons in inventory. By late 2010, an improved M32A1 variant had also been fielded by the USMC. The weapons system was not limited to using High-Explosive Dual-Purpose (HEDP) grenades. It could also use a variety of other types of grenades such as illumination and smoke. This allowed the Marine on the ground to assess the situation and load their M32A1 as the situation dictated. The flexibility the M32A1 provided, using both assorted lethal and non-lethal rounds while staying man-portable, allowed individual units much discretion in how they would employ the weapons system. It also allowed them to tailor the role of the weapon to their operating environment.

The M32A1 was a Commander's discretionary weapon in the USMC as of January 2011. That meant there was not a doctrinal role tied to an individual designated to carry the weapon. In each tactical situation, the commander would choose who would carry it.

The M32 MSGL is manufactured by Milkor USA Inc. The weapon has been assigned NSN 1010-01-535-0989.

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