Curious case of Mad Bull Airsoft in Iraq

    If you looked at this photograph and thought to yourself, “This looks like a 40x46mm Low Velocity grenade launcher, but it is unlike any launcher currently used by any Military/LE force”, then you’d be halfway to a solid conclusion. However if you are really into Airsoft, you’d probably instantly recognize it for what it is, a Mad Bull Airsoft grenade launcher made in Taiwan. But then what in the world is it doing on a “Real Steel” AR rifle? In Iraq?

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    A number of photographs coming out of the firearms community in Iraq is showing these Mad Bull Airsoft grenade launchers being sold as stand alone products, in addition to being actually mounted on Kalashnikov and AR picatinny rail systems. In Iraq the firearms accessory market (mostly for ARs), is very much flooded with cheap Airsoft components from China or Taiwan. These products come into the country via Turkey (which is also the source for the majority of black market firearms), or directly from China with Iraqi dealers importing them directly into the country. The reason for this is that legally, legitimate firearms accessories cannot be imported through customs. However, Airsoft products can be imported as much as possible because they are classified as toys when coming through Iraqi customs. Thus, everything from Airsoft stocks, picatinny rails, grips, rail covers, and even scopes are being seen on legitimate firearms.

    airsoft1 XM203S

    However the case of the Mad Bull Grenade Launcher is interesting because it can go several ways. Most Iraqis realize it for what it is, and simply mount it on their rifles because of the “cool” factor, and know it won’t be able to fire a live 40x46mm HE grenade. However, knowing the U.S market, understanding and knowledge of firearm parts can become convoluted. How many times have you purchased a part legitimately thinking it could fit on this particular rail or any other situation but then figured out that it actually doesn’t fit at all? With this train of thought, it is statistically inevitable that an Iraqi somewhere along the line could purchase this launcher from another unsuspecting buyer and assume it could chamber a live grenade. Looking at the dimensions of the launcher this appears that it could in fact chamber a 40x46mm Low Velocity grenade, however I may be incorrect in this assumption and if I am, please let me know in the comments. Baring that being true, if a live grenade were able to chamber, and the firing pin in the Mad Bull strong enough to strike the primer, the Airsoft product would probably suffer a catastrophic malfunction, most likely shattering the launcher and possibly injuring the user. After all the Aluminum Airsoft model is probably not at all made to handle the chamber pressure of a live grenade.

    But what if the opposite is true? What if the Airsoft launcher is indeed capable of firing a live 40x46mm grenade? And it could do so repeatedly, even with no rifling and little accuracy? Well in that case, we would have an unregulated Airsoft product, readily available across the world with the ability to fire live grenades. It probably isn’t the case at all, and hopefully isn’t, but it certainly entertains the mind.

    Actual 40x46mm


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    Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

    Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at [email protected]