IWI GL 40S Grenade Launcher

IWI will be debuting their new 40x46mm GL 40S Grenade Launcher at upcoming Eurosatory ’12 expo. It is a standard single shot grenade launcher that integrates well with the Tavor. It is side opening and so accommodates longer 40mm rounds.

IWI X95 with IWI GL 40S Grenade Launcher, MEPRO 21 Reflex Sight and Meprolight Grenade Launcher Sight (GLS)

From the press release …

Developed in cooperation with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the IWI GL 40 Grenade Launcher – which weighs only 1.400 kg – is a single-shot 40x46mm launcher, ergonomically designed, versatile, and compatible with all types of assault rifles. Available in two barrel lengths – for 400m and 300m range – the GL 40 is designed for low and medium velocity (longer than usual range) rounds. Unlimited feed for most 40mm rounds enables operation in any situation or combat conditions. The stand-alone option enables firing separately from the launcher when it is dismantled from the weapon.

Attaching to the lower rail of the weapon and locking rapidly with the lever, the GL40 can be quickly assembled and disassembled by a single soldier without any additional tools. Due to its side-opening barrel, which allows a simple injection and extraction of the grenade, it can use various lengths of ammunition including long grenades. Picatinny rails on the bottom and sides enable the incorporation of various devices and accessories.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • No doubt it’s an improvement on the M203, but I can’t help wondering whether the days of the UGL are numbered.

    Partly that’s to do with the weight on the front of the gun just where you don’t want it (although that’s less of an issue with a bullpup like the Tavor). At the recent NDIA meeting in Seattle, I heard a US Army officer state in a presentation that an increasing number of US troops don’t want the M320 on the M4, they prefer to carry it as a stand-alone with its own stock, sight and holster.

    Partly that’s to do with the development of medium-range 40mm rounds which are too powerful to be handled by UBGLs, but can be used in the sturdier multi-shot launchers like the USMC’s M32.

    And partly that’s because of the development of advanced computer sights incorporating laser rangefinders, which enable gunners to shoot the grenades far more accurately than with iron sights; but you don’t really want those on your rifle.

    All of this suggests that there may be a move towards dedicated GL gunners firing MV grenades out to 700-800m, with advanced sights including airburst facility. Revolvers like the M32 are available now to do this, and the new autoloading Rheinmetall Hydra, with its effective recoil buffer, looks as if it will be a real challenge to the XM25 while being able to shoot ordinary 40mm LV rounds as well as MV.

    If you still want all riflemen to be able to throw some HE downrange, then give them some rifle grenades. That saves the weight of the launcher on the gun.

    • SPC Fish

      if the US did go with rifle grenades the only way id carry them is if they were the shoot through type. loading a blank takes too much time especially and takes your primary weapon out of service. the only problem with my unit using the 203 is that they dont want to issue us HE grenades. so most people just take them off. Mainly because we are an aviation brigade and they dont think we have a need for them. well they have been proven wrong and still wont issue them. the only thing we were able to get were smoke grenades

      • Viper

        i feel for you.
        US generals are very reluctant to admit their mistake, no matter the cost.

    • Alex-mac

      Underbarrel grenade launchers are used to save weight. That way the aiming sight, buttstock and pistol grip of the main rifle can be reused. It’s also faster to bring into action.

      If you want to see a underbarrel grenade launcher done right look at the one for the latest Steyr Aug variant, Australia’s EF88. Better balanced and only needs one hand to fire so quicker to reload. The EF88 also plans to integrate a electronic control system, which will make switching between the rifle sight and grenade sight very easy. And will also enable them to program grenades for airburst too. That’s the future.

      A dedicated semi auto multishot grenades launcher has it’s place, but it’s alot heavier. And excess weight is a huge problem for soldiers.

      • Re. the Steyr AUG – as I mentioned in my first post, UBGLs work better with bullpups. They give the gun a slight forward bias to the weight distribution, whereas a UBGL on the M4 makes it massively front-heavy, and tiring to hold in the aim for any length of time.

        No doubt that’s why fitting the UBGL to the gun is falling out of favour in the US Army.

  • 15yroldgunman

    Kinda wanna see it on an ace or m4, anyways it looks good kinda like one big *** flare gun

  • Lance

    Looks nice like the full pistol grip for it. Still prefer a M-203 though.

  • Joe Schmoe

    Looks good.

    I’m sure that this will eventually be integrated with weapon sights like the VIPER to provide airburst capability, etc.

  • 6677

    doesnt one of the m203 variants mount via picatinny. Anyone want to try sticking it on this?

    I’m not in the armed forces and never have been so my opinion might not count as much but I definately agree that the old rifle grenades should be bought back into service. Britians L85A2’s can fire them already and I assume most other countries weapons can too. Saves alot of weight and although firepower is probably reduced per soldier, as a squad you can get more of them down range. Maybe technologies such as the hellhound 40mm grenades could be applied to rifle grenades aswell.

    • Tom – UK

      the problem is that rifle launched grenades don’t have the range, accuracy or rate of fire that grenade launchers do have.

      It certainly wasn’t through stupidity that we moved away from rifle launched grenades. I served in the Armed forces and I never heard of the SA80 being able to launch grenades :s

  • 6677

    From wikipedia and seems to come up when you do some googling too:
    “The L85 rifle features a barrel with a slotted
    flash suppressor, which also serves as a
    mounting base for attaching and launching rifle
    grenades, attaching a blank-firing adaptor or a
    bayonet .”

    Also from wikipedia:
    “All current NATO rifles are
    capable of launching STANAG 22mm rifle
    grenades from their flash hiders without the use
    of an adapter.”

  • Michael Pham

    Is the full grenade launcher grip really necessary? I don’t have a mockup, but trying to visualize holding it as a forward grip doesn’t really work (too close to the rifle grip)

    Or is it to facilitate use as a standalone launcher, after being detached? I have seen grenadiers in Afghanistan choosing to carry theirs detached; a pistol grip would be preferable then to a sort of launcher adapter (as was developed for the M203, for example).

    • Duncan

      I agree with you about the grip for the grenade launcher being too close to the rifle’s grip. Doesn’t seem like it would be that comfortable unless you moved your firing hand forward in order to use the grenade launcher. I can’t honestly see that as a good idea, but that’s just me, I a civilian with no experience in the field.

      • Joe Schmoe

        The reason the second grip is there is so when firing the grenade launcher you can have your right hand on the grip while the left hand grips underneath the launcher. During regular use of the rifle (bullets), your right hand grips the rear (default) grip while the left hand grips underneath the launcher; hence the different angle that looks uncomfortable in the default shooting position for a left hand foregrip is very comfortable for the right hand grip when launching a grenade at a steeper angle than you shoot bullets.

        The launchers grip is not meant to double as a foregrip. The launchers grip also allows for it to be used dismounted from the bullpup.

        Remember, this is a bullpup and not a regular rifle, the weight distribution and size are different.

      • Joe Schmoe

        And here we can see a perfect example of what I posted:


    • Alex-mac

      The GL grip is not necessary and has some drawbacks.
      It’s uncomfortable as it gets in the way and digs into the soldiers side 24/7. It forces the soldier to use two hands to the fire the GL, reducing reload speed. (in contrast to this design, http://lem.nioa.com.au/products/browse/24/weapon-systems/madritsch)
      And it adds more weight to the end of the rifle, (cause it’s further out too) decreasing pointing speed.

      But I’ll give the IDF the benefit of the doubt. The reason they kept the GL grip is for it to be easily detached and used quickly as a standalone weapon. This is an important feature to have for the IDF as they are a reserve army that is under threat of invasion. A concealable GL is a potent weapon. And as a separate weapon it increases the firepower of a small rebel force short on weapons.

      • Joe Schmoe

        Read my above reply.

        Also, the grip doesn’t add any noticeable weight; the entire GL weights 1.4kg which is about the same as an m203.

        The only difference between this design and the one you quoted is that this looks more purposely built for the Micro Tavor and hence more comfortable when shooting the GL (thanks to the angle of the grip).

  • calool

    this design is very nice, the grip is quite unique for a UGL and i can see it’s use. What seems wrong about this is that using the grip to fire it while UB might make it a bit unwieldy. As for the UB vs RL grenade debate thats going on here, i do agree that the life of both of them is limited, eventually we will have a way to give every soldier that firepower in a more compact, or a more convienent form (i doubt this will be soon, the US army still hasnt replied to the email i sent detailing the next step in man portable artillery – back mounted mortars)

  • chino

    My preference is for the GL to be a standalone. A rifle/UGL combo makes for neither a good GL nor a good rifle.

    IMO, a rifle is something you hold in your hands most of the time, a rifle/UGL combo means you’d be holding BOTH weapons in your hands at ALL TIMES even though you use only one at a time, and the one you’ll use most often is the rifle. So why add the weight of the GL to it?

    Weight issue aside it makes the rifle bulky.

    • Viper

      First, weight is not a drawback since it’s not like your GL will just disappears when you don’t need them.

      Second, GL makes the rifle bulky or not depends on the weapon’s design. F2000, A-91M, you don’t even know the GL is there.

      Third, rifle/GL combo is made for the convenience of the soldier in the face of rapid change of combat situation. It take time to change weapons and it’s, sometimes, life and death matter: if you use your GL, a hostile appear in front of you, can’t change to your rifle fast enough, you are dead.

      If it’s not for the readiness rifle/GL combo offers, i don’t see the reason why single shot GL can compete with MGL like M32A1 or XM-25 and still even exist.