MetalStorm 3GL Grenade Launcher: WOW!

Steve Johnson
by Steve Johnson

While watching a video of the MetalStorm 3GL 40mm Grenade Launcher I was blown away by the incredible technology that these Australians have developed. I have blogged about the 3GL before, but I had not imagined it worked so well in practice. The video is worth 1000 words …

3GL Mounted Under M16 AR-15

The MetalStorm technology allows multiple rounds to be loaded into, and fired from, a single barrel. This makes a much more compact weapon than competing MGL systems such as the Milkor. The weapon has been designed to be within the same tolerances as the M203/M320 and so achieves similar range, velocity & accuracy. It makes use of standard 40x46mm grenade warheads which are inserted into the MetalStorm ‘tail assembly’. This would make the system much more attractive to nations which currently use the standard 40x46mm rounds.

The grenades are fired electronically as fast as the trigger can be pull and the barrel is capable of 720 rounds per minute! I asked Mark, MetalStorm’s armorer, about battery life and he told me that the 2xAA batteries is uses will last as long as the barrel does.

What really impressed me was how fast it could be reloaded. In the video you see the operator remove the rifle’s magazine when reloading – this was for safety and it not required in the field.

In its stand-alone configuration (not attached to a rifle and with its own stock) it weighs 5 lbs – less than half the weight of the 11 lb Milkor MGL!

Milkor MGL / M32

MetalStorm have also been working on a bullpup version of the 3GL. Aside from the shorter overall length, it allows the system to be used with rifles, such as the AK variants, which require the magazines to be rocked into place. The pistol grip of the non-bullpup version would get in the way during magazine changes,

3GL Bullpup. It is tiny!

As I said before, I am very impressed with this weapon. It offers a lot of power in a very small package.

Many thanks to David for answering my questions and providing photos and videos for the blog.


  1. (sorry about the lame pun) 

  2. MGL : Multiple Grenade Launcher 

Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson

I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!

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  • Jersy Jersy on Jul 18, 2011

    As far as 3GL is concerned, I don't really know how it's going to work out in the end as accessory grenade launcher... Although I read some stuff here and there stating that it's not going to be that much heavier than M203, and that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages etc.

    In fact, I see more potential to this technology in stand-alone configuration. Stand-alone 3GL seems to be a nice little compact thing. But more than any promotional video or statement, the words that drew my attention the most were the following (in description on http://www.metalstorm.com/):

    "Converts quickly to stand alone weapon including dual barrel option for mission specific needs."

    Dual barrel option... Wow... Think Sage Ordnance Systems Deuce (Over/Under Dual 40mm grenade launcher), but with six shots total (2x 3GL = 6GL). Sadly, it seems there are no pictures available of this configuration.

    So far, I haven't done the math on weight and stuff, but it seems to me like it could be more compact than any revolver-based six-shot grenade launcher. Plus, really intimidating look with two barrels plus the theoretical ability to fire two grenades at the same time, for extra punch...

    However, I would take it a step further - I envision a Metal-Storm based stand-alone grenade launcher in M202 FLASH-style configuration... Four barrels in 2x2 setup. Now, since the very platform has changend and increased in size, it could certainly be able to accomodate more grenades per barrel. As far as technology goes, it seems like some of Metal-Storm 40mm designs are capable of having up to 6 40mm rounds stored in each barrel... While that might be taking it too far for a man-portable weapon, 5 or even mere 4 rounds per barrel would make this weapon 16-shot grenade launcher...

    Maybe I am thinking about it more in the "That would be so cool" way, but I can't help but think that it might have an application or two (one of them being carpet grenading).

    Although probably not exactly suited for modern urban combat... But hey, if you are supposed to carry standalone grenade launcher, make it as much size-weight-firepower efficient as possible.

  • Waters Under Earth Waters Under Earth on Sep 24, 2014

    Now increase the capacity and combo with a bullpup rifle.... like I thought of somewhen last century....

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