XM25 25mm Airburst Grenade Launcher To Become The M25

Despite setbacks, SOFREP.com reports that the XM25 is set to be adopted by the US Army and named the M25 …

The XM25 has a range against point targets (e.g. a window) of 600m, and 700m for area targets. The M203 has a 150m/350m range for point/area targets. Maj. Shawn Murray, Soldier Weapons Assistant Product Manager at PEO Soldier said, “Our studies indicate that the XM-25 with HEAB (High Explosive Air Burst) is 300 percent more effective at incapacitating the enemy than current weapons at the squad level.” The M203 and M32A1 are squad level weapons. Check out this video for weapons effects, and notice the recoil of the weapon.

The BOI (Basis of Issue) being discussed is one M25 per rifle squad.  The system will be fielded to conventional Infantry and SOCOM units. From now until next year around this time the Army is improving the fire control system, magazine size, battery life and weight. If Congress funds it the M24 should go into low rate production late next year of about 1,100 systems and ammo.

Earlier this year the XM25 was removed from service after a double feed caused a round to fire out of battery injuring a solider.

Thanks thanks to Nic 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.


  • Nicholas Mew

    I hope this thing pays off.

    • It should it was very effective until those problems cropped up.

      • MrBobBarker

        *reads comment 4 times, adds a comma, brain works now*


    • allannon

      FWIW, I know a couple guys that have handled or been in a unit with one, and they both thought very highly of the weapon system. Apparently this is the general opinion of it.

  • Lance

    Well hope they fix its safety issues since they withdrawn the weapon from use earlier this year. I think for defense its a good weapon n insurgence wars less useful in real wars since I doubt this can take out a T-72 tank. Think it should be less of a squad weapon and more of a optional weapon for defense and or added at the commander discretion than a forced on new squad weapon. Two other problems the USMC wants a 40mm version and budgets cuts are here to stay so I doubt to see this weapon in normal army hands anytime soon. I hope for a 40mm version too.

    • CrankyFool

      This thing has something like 4x the range of the M203 and I suspect that in order to make this thing maintain its range with 40mm grenades the recoil is going to be A. Bitch.

      • bbmg

        The 25mm a lighter grenade with a more aerodynamic shape and much lower frontal area than a typical 40mm grenade, therefore it retains its velocity for longer and has a flatter trajectory – greater range in this case does not necessarily mean more recoil.

    • Matrix_3692

      The system was never meant to take on a main battle tank, but to engage hostiles infantries hiding behind covers(like a window, wall, etc). And the system is design for offensive, not a defensive weapon.

    • Callum King-Underwood

      Its an anti infantry weapon, not vehicles. Enemy fortify themselves within a house, laying heavy fire. Take the M25, estimate range to the building (which I think the M25 can already do on its own), add a few metres, fire through a window. It should explode nicely inside the room hopefully incapacitating anyone taking cover behind the window.

      • bbmg

        If it can accurately put its grenade into the cab of a truck, it will disable the vehicle as effectively as blowing it away with an RPG.

        One thing that many people don’t seem to appreciate is that better accuracy means you don’t need to have as much as explosive as you did in the past.

        This is why we don’t see raids with formations of 1000 bombers as we did in the second world war, because guided munitions are now accurate to the point that they can hit where it matters.

        ATK makes this point in this promotional video for its PGK guidance kit for artillery shell:

        According the video, the same effect is achieved with only 25% of the equivalent quantity of unguided ammunition. This means that if a conventional shell costs say $1000 and a guided projectile costs $3000, you’re still doing the job more cost effectively. Consider also the logistical advantage of not needing to supply larger number of shells to frontline troops on foreign battlefields.

  • LCON

    I remember that Army.mil had a story posted right before the problem that stated all the units in the field were one off hand built pe-production prototypes perhaps the production version will prove safer.

  • gunsandrockets

    300 percent more effective? Over an M-203 I might agree. But over an M-320 using long ammo and a laser range finder? Doubtful.

    • Matrix_3692

      at least the M25 have a magazine of 4 rounds versus M320’s single shot.

    • bbmg

      The 40mm makes a bigger boom, no doubt about that, but if the 25mm can get its rounds closer to the target and at longer range, that makes it more effective.

      • gunsandrockets

        Oh I never doubted the M-25 is more effective. But 300 percent more effective? And even though an M-25 has greater capability, there are definite tradeoffs that come with that increased capability, particularly in weight and cost.

        The M-320 in standalone configuration weighs less than half as much as an M-25. In other words an empty M-25 equals the weight of an M-320 with a dozen 40mm grenades.

        As expensive and heavy as the M-25 is compared to 40mm grenade launchers, I can’t see the wisdom of assigning one to every rifle squad. Squads which are arguably already overburdened with too much equipment for adequate foot mobility.

        • bbmg

          Going by published specifications, the M320 has an effective range of less than 200 yards against point targets. The M25 can reach out to 550 yards… so it might be heavier, but you don’t have to run so much towards the target 😉

          It’s the same with “smart” weapons all across the board, they seem horrendously expensive and complicated at first sight, but when you see the quantity of “dumb” ordnance they replace it all begins to make sense.

          • gunsandrockets

            Those specifications refer to older 40x46mm ammunition. The newer longer cased 40mm ammo doubles that range, cutting considerably into the superior margin of the M-25 grenade launcher. The latest generation of 40mm ammunition is quite better than what the M-79 grenade launcher fired over fifty years ago.

            The fact is the breakthrough for long range point fire with any grenade launcher is extremely accurate range-finding, which a laser range-finder can provide. The other bells and whistles of the M-25 with its expensive timed fuzed ammunition and semi-auto operation are needless expenses and complications which the M-25 inherited from the fatally flawed XM-29 OICW project.

            Of course with the budget cuts the Army is going to manage over the next few years this debate about grenade launchers is academic. The M-25 is too expensive for a standard rifle squad weapon and at higher than squad level the M-25 doesn’t add enough combat power compared to supporting arms with good anti-tank ability. So I expect the M-25 will be one of the first programs to suffer the budget axe.

  • Martin Moffit

    Once deployed, the enemy will begin using weapons from 800m

    • JumpIf NotZero

      They’re having trouble hitting at 100m, so, good.

    • Blastattack

      Yeah-huh. Because the US has no other weapons systems that can reach out past 800m.

      • Martin Moffit

        It’s a cool piece of kit, but I’m not sure it’s going to change anything on the battlefield. Now your grenadier has no rifle, or he has to hump two long arms. It won’t add capability in the asymmetric warfare environment the US is fighting in at present. In other words, it will do nothing to stop IEDs, snipers, human bombs, or mortar attacks. Having 1000 means there won’t be many on the battlefield.

        What I was really commenting on was that if this is successful, shooters won’t hang around to get killed by this system. Instead, they’ll just resort to more single shot sniping, IED, etc.

        • Odession

          “It won’t add capability in the asymmetric warfare environment the US is fighting in at present”

          No argument here but it’s a chance for testing it under some pretty brutal combat conditions. The designers are looking at future applications, needed improvements and a ‘combat proven’ label so they can easily sell it later. If a few poor buggers have to lug it around with their kit when it’s situational, so be it. I imagine it won’t be in the load-out for a squad unless it’s either needed or being taken for a test drive. I understand there’s a LOT more flexibility when it comes to equipment now – ‘use whatever standard items work’ rather than ‘must use this specific setup’.

          I suspect it would see a lot more use in a conventional battlefield, especially in urban areas. One per squad makes sense in that scenario. If that ever happens is another matter since 1st world countries attacking cities would likely be a very short lived affair one way or another.

          Oh, and Weps? 25mm is an alternative, not a replacement – it has pros and cons
          on 40mm and they should be fairly obvious. 25mm launchers are lacking, this is a given. The 300% better round figure quoted somewhere is
          pretty much sales pitch/ideal-theory garbage. Too many dollars have gone into
          the R&D of it though, they *will* use the round for something

          Budget cuts, being frozen or total redesign is no big thing for the 25mm
          launcher. It’s been there, done that a few times! The 25mm round seems
          to work as well in practice as theory – it just needs a solid platform,
          the tricky bit.

      • Joe

        Except for the Carl Gustaf… Which fires an 84mm air burst round 1250m.
        The M25 has yet to confirm one kill in combat because as described in one army article “the enemy not know what hit his position jumped up and ran away” That would not or does not happen when hit with a 84mm HE round. The G8 pulled the funding mostly because it didn’t work as planned and DOESNT KILL. PEO soldier and Col Armstrong said “well sir it will also make a great less than lethal round!” So what do ya say sir… Can we still get that funding!?

  • James Shivers

    Army Times also had additional information on the changes that were made to the munition to avoid repeats of the earlier accident:
    Army officials and weapon makerATKrecessed the primer by 1 millimeter and covered it with a bushing to eliminate exposure, Libersat said. Thefiringpinalso was lengthened and adjusted. Because the explo­sion was due to opera­tor error, procedures and training tech­niques had to be modified. Primarily, operators will nowlockthebolt totherearprior to dropping a magazine.

  • ahil925

    I thought the funding for the XM25 was going to be cut back in June?

  • John Bear Ross

    I hope they make a “dumb” HEDP round, as well as a “beehive” round. Even if that electronics package goes TU, it’d be nice to still dish out some damage.


  • damien

    I wonder what it would take to add a laser rangefinder and targetting computer to an RPG-7, along with the same kind of precision fusing on the RPG rockets. You would get a zero-recoil weapon, firing a much larger warhead, with the same counter-defilade effects. Development time, much reduced – no new mechanics involved.

    • Bubba

      There are already precision airburst munitions for weapons like the 84mm Carl Gustav. If you spend some money on it I think it wouldn’t be to difficult to digitize the whole system. And that would give you way more bang for your buck than even an RPG-7. But the ammo is bulky and heavy, so you’d only get a handful of shots.

      • damien

        Even a precision airburst rifle grenade would be useful

  • BOCAT9

    I don’t have direct experience with this system but a buddy of mine’s RSTA troop tested them in Afghanistan. He told me that the prototypes were fickle, and there was chronic shortage of ammunition (due to each round being hand made), but they proved to be decisive in several engagements. Certainly, I can think of several occasions when I wish that my platoon had had a few on hand. That said, I do have some concerns:
    The primary limitation of this gun is it’s lack of close-range capability. The warhead must travel a specific distance in order to arm (lets say for the sake of argument that it’s 35m). This renders it useless for CQB situations (rooms, trenches, jungles, etc…), therefore the M25 gunner must also carry an M4 with the launcher slung on his back. Not a show stopper I know, but a severe pain in the ass for the kid who draws the short straw. Also, how does one integrate it into a nine man squad (a construct from which the Army has no plans to deviate) on a one per basis? Who carries it? Alpha team? Bravo team? My point is that current battle-drills will have to be rethought in order to ensure that the weapon is employed to maximum effect (i.e., in the support by fire and not the assault of the objective). Fire teams should be interchangeable in capability.
    The original OICW concept, with its integral XM8 KE module, woul have mitigated at least the first problem in theory. Perhaps fielding as part of weapons squad could alleviate the second problem. I have no issues with the weapon (I think it’s bad-ass), I’m just not confident that Big Green is thinking through its employment. Just food for thought.

  • Weps

    A couple of things, first this program is not going anywhere with direct funding cuts. All of the test units were returned to mfg. after the double feed and resulting accident. The only rounds being produced are “smart” HE rounds, there are no “dumb” rounds, no training rounds, etc. It’s expensive, and it relies on an electronic system to fire with the current and only ammunition. Finally the whole “let’s use another random/obscure ammo” game just isn’t realisitic.
    There are plenty of 40mm systems that are far superior, for example the Rheinmetall Hydra, a select fire shoulderable grenade launcher that is about 13lbs with 9rds of 40mm low or medium velocity. Compare that with only 6rds of 25mm at 14lbs. Oh, and the 40mm multiple munition types.