Gun Review: LMT M203 Grenade Launcher

Did you know that it is legal to own a grenade launcher? Yeah, that is pretty awesome. By the letter of the law you can also possess live HE grenades, but acquiring them is incredibly difficult. However a smattering of other rounds are available if you want to experience the joy of an M203 without the strict storage requirements and high cost of 40mm HE. Surplus practice grenades are affordable and can be reloaded with .38 special blanks too!

My Friend CJ asked if I could get him an M203, and after a few emails back and forth from LMT that became a reality.

After the form went through, I attached the launcher on my M16A1 and it looks menacing:



The button on the launcher’s port side opens the tube:


I must say the quality of the LMT launchers are exquisite:


This video is of the launcher’s maiden voyage:

Some important points on the LMT M203:

  • The launcher worked very well, and we all got progressively better with it. I think if each of us had a case of 25 we would have gotten extremely proficient.
  • The trigger is about the same as a stock AR15 trigger.
  • Installing the launcher takes about 10-15 minutes.
  • Recoil is no worse than a 12 gauge O/U shotgun.
  • The fun factor is very high, especially when you see the large cloud or orange smoke rise!

All in all we had a great time with the LMT M203 and I would highly recommend one to anyone in the market for a 40mm grenade launcher however small that pool of people may be.

Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


  • valorius

    I was an m203 grenadier in the us army infantry for a time. I didnt mind the extra weight because of the punch the 203 packs.

    A hand loaded 40mm grenade chocked full of nickel plated #4 shot would be beyond awesome.

  • hami

    The Spikes Tactical Havoc 37mm launcher is a good option if you don’t need to be able to fire HE rounds

  • blackspike2710

    Could you guys do a guide describing the processes involved in getting ahold of grenades and the launchers for them?

    • In Canada you can just buy em. But so few were imported here that they still command a crazy price. Last one I saw was $5k

      • BattleshipGrey

        $5k for the HE grenade or the M203?

        • Sorry for the vagueness! The M203. Non-HE rounds are something like $25 a pop?

    • It is exactly like buying a suppressor to get the launcher. Most projos are easy to get, but HE is very, very hard.

      • In the Marines we trained with what we called cheeto rounds. They were blue tipped and filled with orange powder, are those round commonly available?

        • Cheese_McQueen

          That is what we were shooting. They can be bought on Gunbroker pretty easily.

        • That’s what we were shooting.

    • Paul Epstein

      In the US: Actual explosive projectiles not only require the same paperwork (destructive device) to acquire as the launcher, for each individual round, there are also extensive storage requirements which have to be inspected before you’re allowed to actually own them. Getting a destructive device requires payment of $200 to the ATF, and either a law enforcement officer signoff or formation of a trust, followed by anywhere from a few weeks to over a year of waiting assuming you pass the background check without issue. Doing it once for a launcher might be justifiable, but doing it each and every time for a consumable item plus building an acceptable storage area for them crosses the boundaries of what I would consider wasting time.

      If you want stuff that doesn’t explode, flares, beanbags, smoke, shot, and any number of others, they’re no more regulated than any other ammunition. And in fact if you’re not going to use bullets at all, 37mm flareguns can be had which look pretty much identical to the M203 being discussed but won’t chamber grenades, and those aren’t even firearms.

  • Greg Thompson

    This is new to a LOT of people – it would be great if you would describe the process of getting an M203, the fees and paperwork involved, and the cost of the unit itself and the smoke grenades you’re using

  • Ironically, the father of LMT’s president, Karl R. Lewis, designed Colt’s XM148 grenade launcher. The latter was replaced by the AAI designed M203.

  • Yes.

  • That just looks like way too much fun! LOL. Seems like it takes a while to get proficient at it, huh? I didn’t think it would be that hard to hit on target but makes sense.

    • Cheese_McQueen

      We felt that if we had roughly 50 rounds of chalk training rounds that we would be able to be rather proficient. I hadn’t fired one in about 11 years (I was trained and issued the 203 in 2003) and was able to land a grenade within the kill radius of a standard HE. They are much easier to shoot “effectively” than one might think, but hard as heck to be accurate with.

  • W00t.

  • thebronze

    How much was the 203 itself?

    • Cheese_McQueen

      LMT’s Retail pricing for 2014 puts just the standard launcher (not including the sights, handguards, mounting kit, ect.) at $1500. One would be well over $2000 into a 40mm launcher after stamps and accessories. Then you have the ammo on top of that at about $8 per round.

  • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

    It is also legal to purchase an LMT M203 WITHOUT the barrel as a regular Title 1 non-nfa firearm that does not require the tax stamp. Then you can purchase a 37mm barrel and shoot it legally in most states, including California without tax stamps.