Jane’s has reported that the Polish military will be buying 200 of a locally made model of standalone 40mm grenade launchers. The Polish company Zaklady Mechaniczne Tarnow, based in Tarnow, Poland. The model is essentially a modified grenade launcher from the South African company Milkor, and ZMT calls it the RGP-40. They will be delivered in two batches of 100, the first by this October, and the second by August 2017. The difference between the two models seem to be the design of the bar above the revolving chambers, and the trigger housing group. Unlike revolvers, as one might think these operate, with a preen to push the chambers into place, these grenade launchers use gas from the grenade, to push the next chamber into place, while the operator has to wind up the chambers before firing.
These launchers have been around for a good while, adopted by the South African Army in 1981. Since then a number of countries have adopted it, but the significance in this case is that Poland is the first European Army to adopt it for use among their infantry troops. I’m sure many of the special forces on the continent have it in their armories, but apparently no military has it with their infantry troops.
From my experience with the Milkor 40mm, adopted as the M32 in the Marine Corps, the launcher certainly offers some awesome amount of firepower. However the trade off for this firepower is the weight, coming in at almost twelve pounds loaded. In a static position, in a vehicle, this isn’t a problem at all, with the ability to launch six 40mm HE grenades with a max effective range of 400 meters in just as many seconds is certainly a force multipler. However, on a foot patrol, an under barrel mounted grenade launcher is more than sufficient for the weight involved. The rate of fire is much less, as a grenadier has to hand load every round, but compared to lugging around an extra eight pounds or so, that could be taken up by water, ammunition, or comm gear, the UBGL wins out in the long run.