Mystery North Korean Grenade Launcher

Along with nuclear bombs and ultra high capacity AK magazines, North Korea has also developed a new grenade launcher. The rifle shaped weapon, with its unusually long barrel and an optical grenade sight, must have been designed to engage targets at long ranges. It is not clear what caliber of grenade it is intended to be used for.

nk grenade large

The photo was published by

Many thanks to Rory for the tip.

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.


  • Casey Baker

    If I didn’t know better, I’d think it was designed to fire that anti-tank rocket on the table in front of them; similar to an RPG, but with a more traditional rifle stock. Seems like it would be unwieldy and unbalanced during aiming. Maybe that’s a good thing right?

    • Risky

      I think you’re right… but it might be more in the way of a rifle grenade than a rocket. Anyway, the launcher tube looks like it is bolted or riveted to the receiver at the rear bottom of the tube. That would negate any kind of break-action for breach loading grenades.

      • DiverEngrSL17K

        Good observation, Risky. One of a few probable answers to the question at hand.

  • damn hairstyle?!!! thats more frightening than the gun!!!!

    • Black_Viper

      I wonder if its approved in N. Korea? Is he abusing his powers? Never.

    • He needs a new barber or hairdresser. Whatever they call them over there.

  • looks like a sten had sex with a spud gun

  • P161911

    This should be a caption contest.
    “What do you mean you added a stock and closed off the end of the recoilless rifle because North Koreans are so tough?!?!”

    • sianmink

      “Can I eat this?”
      “No glorious leader!”

      • Kai

        “What kind of cake is this?”
        “Sir, that is a grenade launcher”

  • Im pretty sure the caliber of the grenade is sitting right there on the table is it not?

  • Stormhawk

    I don’t see a hinge but I do see a screw going down into the front of the tube and what appears to be a wire or vent hole. The item next to it (immediately to the left in the photo) has a tail that appears to be the same size. The item next to that appears to be a final “fins deployed” state. Do you think this loads like a mortar and is somehow lit off by the trigger and after it exists the tube, it sheds the bottom part to deploy the fins?

  • whodywei

    I have seen similar kind of weapon used as riot gun in Thailand.

  • Stormhawk

    That’s a sight for a moving type target. Think they’re trying to develop a shoulder mounted anti-air weapon? Like for helos in mountain passes. They would have customers for it and we know who they are.

    • Komrad

      “They would have customers for it and we know who they are.”

      NK doesn’t trade much and what they do trade is mostly with China, Russia, and Soouth Korea.

      • Anonymoose

        They trade with Iran, and the Chinese distribute Nork stuff all over Asia.

  • turner

    maybe its a riot grenade launcher?

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      I considered that … but I can’t see that that ****** authorizing non-lethal weapons when he runs political concentration camps filled with woman and children?

      • Eugene

        Why not? Not that i think it’s a riot grenade launcher or supporting his actions, but aren’t you letting your prejudices getting in the way here?

      • Eugene

        Personally, I think it could be a light spigot mortar, or something similar to the PIAT, on the basis that it looks to be muzzle loaded, but shoulder fired.

        • p0larn1k

          So they think that they may do something, that’ll make PIAT idea work?

        • Springloaded? Nah don’t think so. The Piat was garbage.

          • Eugene

            Yeah, don’t see the point of using a spring to launch the warhead, only to have a charge anyway to recock the spring….

  • Mountain

    That’s actually just Kim Jong Un. I know he’s a fatty and I’m sure he destroys a toilet like a GL but he actually isn’t a gun.

  • JC

    good luck firing it with as much weight as would be in the front of it.

  • -V-

    No matter how I try to twist my head about this, this seems like a horrible idea for whoever is using this contraption. If it works as a scaled-down RPG and uses a pyrotechnic charge to eject the grenades on the table, the recoil will be punishing followed by a nice blast of hot exhaust gas in the face from the rocket motor. If it simply fires rifle grenades, you again run into the issue that the recoil will be quire stiff unless this has a range of 150 yards or less. Either way, I suspect this weapon is made of fail.

    • Mr Silly

      Never heard of high-low 40mm M203 grenade launcher? Why are these mounted underneath infantry rifles?
      What about the LAW missile system- does it not fire a small pyrotechnic charge then booster engine ignite- several tens of yards away from the firer so they do not get a face of hot rocket exhaust?


    Can you imagine a screen like this in America! Obama standing there checking out a new model AR his staff and officials looking onward for his approval! Maybe taking a few shots!

  • Lance

    Looks like a Commie knock off of the old M-79.

  • Nick

    Any one else getting a hint of sorrowful contempt out of the expression on beige jacket man’s face ?

  • Ray

    That round on the table kind of reminds me of the Yugoslav M65 44mm RPG fired from the M57 launcher but even the M57 is shoulder launched (looks like the off-spring of a panzerschreck and an RPG) and not stock launched.

  • When I saw the photos of the oversized magazines (, my first thought was that they may be grenade launchers instead.

    Now, this looks thinner than the magazines?

  • bbmg

    Looks like a Federal riot gun knock-off:

  • Frosty_The_White_Man

    “Made in America!? Explain yourself General!”

    • gunslinger

      i was thinking more along the lines of”
      “so this is the extended pringles can? i get food out of here?”
      “no great leader. it is a weapon, not food”

  • Kevin

    I like how their technology all looks 60 years behind the rest of the worlds military…

    • p0larn1k

      Maybe It’s ’cause they are grabbing anything they got left from USSR’s armory… Maybe, just maybe.

  • mechamaster

    Maybe this grenade launcher is inspired by disposable RPG-76 Komar married with M79 grenade launcher.

  • B.

    You sure it’s not a pneumatic cupcake launcher for with Glorious Leader needs some sweets at a distance?

  • Clodboy

    Russian 40mm GL’s are “caseless” muzzle loaders, so there’s really no reason for a swing-open breech. The recoil is tamed by hi-lo-pressure system similar to Western 40×46 grenades – naturally with some necessary some modifications.
    So yeah, I doubt this thing is anything more than to a GP-30 than what an M79 would be to an M203, not some sort of spigot mortar intended for the specialized RPG projectiles displayed on the table.

    • Eugene

      I thought about it using the russian grenade rounds, but it require the grenades to be pushed right to the end of the barrel, which is going to be impossible without tools in a barrel this long

  • Mike Knox

    Gut in black: Dafook’s this thing?

    Guy pointing at it: Its a thing that does the thing that goes POOOM! and the thing goes over there and goes BOOM! bbecause the thng has a thing in it with things that go boom..

    Guy holding green pad: His weenie is a rocket-lol..

  • Looks like an old Federal Gas Gun crossed with an RPD.

  • javier mainar

    Iran came with a similar contraption, at least in concept, that was used during the war against Irak. Since both countries are quite close I wouldn’t discard some kind of connexion. The sight attached to that whacker shouldn’t be too difficult to remove from the cornea..

    • javier mainar

      The Iranian GL is called “Hoshdar 1” and caliber is 38 mm. Some images are available in the net…Cheers!

  • Brick

    (Sorry a lot of text but I have an idea how this thing might work in a capable way) It seems to have a higher caliber than 40 mm alse the long barrel would be a waste so it is probably not a “grenade pistol” . I have fired such a thing and it kicks hard. So it is unlikely that it would – in such a function – be any more capable without injuring the user. Putting a RPG sight on such a weapon would also be just dumb.

    So how can this thing make sense? Since there are RPGs infront of the thing lets asume it fires those. Here is how a good RPG launcher functions: PzF 3 can be fired indoors due to its small charge propelling the RPG out of the firing tube. A counterweight makes it a recoilless rifle. The rocket engine starts at a safe distance:

    I think it could be a hybrid between a grenade pistol and a Panzerfaust. A charge of a 40 mm grenade is enough to propell the RPGs out far enough to start the rocket engine without injuring the user and the recoil is bearable. Such a weapon would be both reuse and could be fired out of buildings from above and therefore at the weakest parts of a tank. So it might just be a brilliant idea. But not one that can be easily executed. PzF 3 has totally “messed up” sights since it uses two different means of propulsion this thing would have the same issue and the RPG has to be out before the recoil pushes the barrel upwards too much. Rocket engine start timing might be pretty tricky, also.

    • DiverEngrSL17K

      That’s a very interesting and plausible concept. Thanks for sharing!

  • Octane

    This…seems like a poor idea. Unless that RPG next to it has nothing to do with the launcher–and I have a feeling it does.

  • AR-PRO

    It looks like false propaganda, another ruse by the little potato head.. -v- makes sense, the recoil would be devastating…and these people are on the small side to begin with, so you do the math..

    • DiverEngrSL17K

      it is important to remember that “small” in physical size does not necessarily equate with less toughness, endurance or strength. Very often, the opposite is true. There is no set criteria in physical appearance that will accurately portray what the person in question is really capable of. As an example, all you have to do is look closely at available historic photo-documentation of the British SAS, who are easily some of the toughest and most battle-hardened Special Forces operatives in the world, bar none. One of the first things you might notice is that few, if any, conform to the conventional perception that being well-built somehow equates with actually being tougher. The same would apply to the North Koreans or anyone else, friend or foe, for that matter. It is also a serious mistake to under-estimate your enemies, or potential foes, on the basis of outward appearances.

  • lol, they sure like making stuffs “big & bulky”, look at the size of tat thing, looks like it could launch a motar round instead of some 40mm

  • Looks like the sight from an RPG. Caliber is at least 40mm. The big ?. Is it real?

  • Eric X Ericx

    Shoulder-fired RPG?

  • MSHill

    Probably just something like this: