Improvised Rifle Grenades in use by so-called Islamic State during Mosul Fight

    During the battle of Mosul that recently ended with Iraqi security forces declaring the entire city to be cleared of insurgent elements, Conflict Armament Research discovered an anti-personal IED that the so-called Islamic State was using to drop from drones as a sort of aerial ordnance, could be hand launched, but most interesting to TFB is the ability to launch the device as an extremely improvised and unaimed rifle grenade. These rounds are craft produced, using plastic mold methods to create the fins and cup that holds the explosive charge that propels a projectile that has a fuse inside of it. Attached to this projectile is a safety pin that apparently must be pulled before launch. The only evidence that the device is launched from a rifle using a blank cartridge is a video clip showing this in March. Otherwise CAR believes the device has to have been hand-thrown.

    From CAR-

    In mid-March 2017, Islamic State video footage recorded the launch of an identical device from an improvised rifle attachment. The launcher
    is of tubular metal construction and appears to be threaded to fit the muzzle of an AK-pattern assault rifle (Figure 6). The launch mechanism is not apparent in the footage, but the IED is almost certainly expelled from the tube by the gas pressure generated by firing a blank, or improvised blank, cartridge (possibly augmented with additional propellant).

    This is one of the those infamous bomber drones that appeared so frequently in the Amaq propaganda videos, using the same IED devices shown here.

    In addition the CAR investigators found these same devices but with 40X46MM grenade projectiles attached to them using tape. Ironically the conclusion was that these were almost harmless. Because they are designed to work with a rifled grenade launcher, the M203, which makes the grenades spin very rapidly and accelerate. Both of these are necessary for a 203 to arm itself and explode on detonation. I believe the Marine Corps quotes a 35 meter minimum range during peacetime and a 10 meter range in combat for the 40mm grenades to actually arm themselves. The employment methods that so-called IS fighters would be using them in, either being hand, aerial, or improvised rifle grenade launched most likely wouldn’t impart the necessary spin and acceleration needed.


    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]