XM-25 Kaboomed, Removed From Service.

Rob Curtis reports that last month a XM-25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement system kaboomed and injured the operator.

The Army’s XM25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement system has been removed from service after a training accident injured a soldier in Afghanistan early last month.

A soldier was injured during a Feb. 2 live-fire training event during which the primer of a 25mm high-explosive air burst round ignited as a result of a double feed, according to Army spokesman Matthew Bourke.

Although the primer and propellant were initiated, safety mechanisms prevented the round’s warhead from detonating. The gun was inoperable after the explosion.

“The gunner training on the weapon system received superficial injuries,” said Bourke. “The gunner was medically evaluated and returned to duty.”

The XM25 is a bullpup and the kaboom would have been only inches from the operators face. While ideally a weapon would never fail, the prototype failed in a manner that caused little damage to the operator which shows the design is solid.

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.


  • big daddy

    Now go buy the cheaper M32 and use the targeting system on that. Makes more sense, it’s much cheaper, a proven system and it’s already being used for many years by the Marines and other countries. It’s time the DOD especially the Army stop trying to get weapons too many years away from being technologically sound and buy proven weapons. In a few years they will have some thing that is cheaper and works. We can buy it then, now go with what we know works and improve it in small increments. That is ALWAYS the best way. Whenever they try to make leaps and bounds in technology they usually fall flat on their face. Slow down and make sure it will work without spending billions of dollars and many years on R&D. There are a lot of really good weapons systems out there off the shelf that can be used until the DOD comes up with something better.

    • the reason the army is doing that is because most civilian companies cannot legally develop such systems without a military tie in.

    • I don’t think it’s a question of being beyond our technical abilities more of not unusual problem with a new system that needs some tweaking on the loading system but probably more on the primers used.
      Time will tell

    • mosinman

      Thats what this is, testing.and in my opinion this is the best way to do it, in a real world enviroment.

      • big daddy

        As an person that was a soldier I do not want to be the one they test things on. The 25mm round is too small and does not have enough HE-Frag effect, the 35-40mm size is the minimum.

    • unclezip

      This brings to mind the F-35 boondoggle. A giant waste of money, where the Chicoms and Indians are building conventional aircraft and training pilots to not be dependent on toys.

    • brainy37

      M32 still fires dumb grenades and has a much higher user error to it. While old 40mm grenades are relatively cheap, you’ll end up having to fire off 1-2 to bracket the target. On top of that, 40mm grenades are almost twice as heavy. A full kit might carry a full string of golden eggs which is only 12. You can forgo a personal weapon and try to lug another string for a total of 24 40mm grenades. Meanwhile you’re carrying twice the load (46 due to increase weight of gun) of 25mm grenades and are much more accurate.

      They’ve tried to incorporate a laser rangefinder into the M320 but it’s not as intuitive and the grenades are not fuzed. Which of course brings up the “dumb” grenade issue and how badly they’re currently fuzed. HEDP is not exactly the most efficient grenade.

  • Esh325

    The original AR-10 kaboomed also and almost killed the operator. This one incident doesn’t mean it’s a flawed design, it just means it might need a bit more R&D.

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      I did not imply that a prototype that fails badly means the design is fundamentally flawed. Shave enough metal off any gun in the wrong place and you have a potential grenade.

    • Ian

      There is a slight difference in a barrel that’s incredibly undersized and an explosive projectile detonating inside of the gun.

      • Dirt

        The explosive projectile didn’t detonate inside the gun. The primer detonated and the propellant ignited, but that’s just like any other kaboom.

  • M203’s killed shooters also!

  • ebang

    if it gives our guys an edge it needs some more honing to be safe for there use. bottom line

  • He’ll need a new set of pants and underwear. They might have been soiled.

  • Avery

    I’m hoping that this isn’t a strike against the system and that double-feeds can be prevented in the future.

    Wasn’t a chamber explosion caused by a misfire that pulled the OCIW for awhile? I recall a similar event that happened with that.

  • I think it sounds more like a problem related to the low volume production rate for the ammunition. The ammo was still all being assembled as prototypes last I heard.

  • Black_Viper

    Shoot a nuke down a bug hole, you got a lot of dead bugs.
    Accepting responsibility for Klendathu, Sky Marshal XM-25 resigns. Its successor, Sky Marshal ‘Going to spend more money’, outlines her new strategy.
    Would you like to know more?

  • Six8

    I’ve never seen the point of this gun in the first place. An Mk 14 grenade launcher does the same job if not better within the current logistical chain. That footprint is huge as it is, why add yet another system?

  • Ian

    Something similar happened during the OICW trials which helped put an end to that program.

    • mikewest007

      OICW or that Korean program aimed at getting exactly the same unwieldy cow of a combo-weapon? Because the only case I recall was that a Korean K11 OICW launcher module malfunctioned.

  • Jean Luc Picard

    Even some well proven and reliable designs explodes in soldier’s face and don’t get removed or be considered dangerous to use

    Anyways I remember also the K11 dvanced combat rifle had a similar problem with the grenade launcher exploding in soldier’s face

  • Clodboy

    The guy doing the maintenance work on the gun must have been distracted by constant arguments over the difference between “defilade” and “enfilade” 😉

  • Lance

    Well glad the two solders are ok. Hope there no more problems when retested.

  • Worried

    Absurd, in all the field report that i’ve read this weapon allowed the patrols to neutralize deadly ambush and distant machinegun nest in few seconds, during 5 years of experience at civilian range i’ve seen an ak-47 and another ex ursss rifle kaboom but this doesn’t mean that all the old russian rifles are useless in battle..i think this retire have more to do with politic&budget than malfuctions problem.

  • Para

    You say the design is “solid”, but note how it could have been far worse had the safeties in the grenade fuses had failed and a cartridge had actually detonated.

    The weapon experienced a double feed and a primer detonated out of battery. That is a rather serious concern.

    Then compare it to what happens when the Russians experience similar failures.