Improvised Grenade Launchers of the FSA

    In a previous article, we have reviewed three types of the Free Syrian Army improvised Anti-Material Rifles.  In this article, we will review three of their improvised hand-held Grenade Launchers.

    Zip-Action

    (Side view of the 40mm Grenade Launcher)

    (Side view of the 40mm Grenade Launcher)

    This locally made grenade launcher looks fine from all features. It is a break-barrel 40mm that is used to fire all types of grenades (in 40mm caliber of course) including smoke and high explosive grenades.  The wooden stock seems well made by a talented craftsman, the receiver and the locking latch (which is spring actuated) look cleanly machined as does the barrel.

    (40mm smoke grenade for use)

    (40mm smoke grenade for use)

    (Firing pin, locking latch and barrel’s pivot all seems to be perfectly made)

    (Firing pin, locking latch and barrel’s pivot all seems to be perfectly made)

    The only downside is that it has no trigger. The firing pin is a part of spring tensioned piston.  The operation is quite easy; just pull the handle and rotate it a little bit counterclockwise and it’s cocked and ready to shoot. In other words, it’s just a large-scaled zip-gun.

    (Note the upper safety recess)

    (Note the upper safety recess)

    There is a safety notch milled to lock the trigger/handle in when not ready to fire.

    Shotgun Launching Attachment

    (A rifle’s grenade launcher cup style attachment)

    (A rifle’s grenade launcher cup style attachment)

    This is simply a cup attached to the bore of a 12 gauge shotgun (the shotgun in the video appears to be a Turkish made semi-automatic hunting shotgun). The barrel is trimmed to the shortest possible length limit, nearly parallel with the under barrel tubular magazine.

    (Explosive pipe grenade)

    (Explosive pipe grenade)

    The grenade itself is nothing more than a primitive explosive pipe with a paper fuse which is lit by cigarettes lighter and propelled by a blank 12 gauge cartridge.  Due to the shortage, they have in such specialized ammunition they simply cut an ordinary hunting shot shell off, removing the pellets and it becomes a blank shell.

    (The blank cut-shell, unlike rifle’s grenade which are propelled by gases only, the plastic wad helps projecting the grenade)

    (The blank cut-shell, unlike rifle’s grenade which is propelled by gases only, the plastic wad helps to project the grenade)

    The time sequence between lighting the fuse and explosion is 14 seconds – I measured it on 2 shots from a footage they released- perhaps due to the slow burning fuse but it’s too far for the enemy to throw it back at them.

    A Staple Gun?

    (Side view of the Launcher and Grenades)

    (Side view of the Launcher and Grenades)

     

    The launcher appears to be made out of a staple gun or something similar.  It is hammer actuated and the firing pin is located in the rear plug.  A spring tensioned locking latch is above the barrel.  Really a quite simple design.

    The mysterious part for me is the grenade, I have no clue what caliber is it and whether its propelled by a blank shotgun shell or is it a self propelled like a mini rocket, there was no info available.

    (Note the bigger diameter of the grenade’s base and the impact primer at the nose)

    (Note the bigger diameter of the grenade’s base and the impact primer at the nose)

    But it’s obvious that it’s locally machined by a lathe and contains an impact detonation fuse/primer in the projectile’s nose.

    Marawan Maklad

    Marawan Maklad is an Egyptian firearms and ammunition designer working for Turkish company specializing in the hunting and defense industries, and a dedicated researcher in asymmetric conflicts arms and tactics.


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