The replacement to The previously discussed M79 Grenade Launcher, The Model 203 40mm Version was designed to fix a primary problem with it’s predecessor. Using The M79 (which was a separate weapons system), required a Grenadier to have to put it down, in order to switch to a Rifle or related weapon to “defend himself”. This issue was removed with The M203. The Launcher was installed directly to the under barrel of The M-16 Rifle. The M203 was an early “Rail Component”. The weapon was installed by mounting attachments, by removing the traditional M-16 Rifle hand grips, and attaching a ventilated housing which was part of The M203
A breech firing Device, the Launcher tube ride forward via a spring rail. The 40mm round was seated in the tube rear. Upon closing the tube rearward, the weapon was cocked and ready for fire. The Grenadier simply adjusted his angle of fire and depressed the trigger. A retractable tangent sight was mounted to the Rifle barrel. The M203 added 3 additional pounds to the overall weight of The M16. The M203 was 12-inches in length. A trained Grenadier could. Disperse 5 to 7 rounds per minute. The maximum range of The Launcher was 460-yards. A wide variety of ammunition types there available, including fragmentation, smoke and chemical irritant. The M203 was first deployed to Vietnam in 1969. The M203 was exported to many other Countries and still is used. The American Military still uses The M203, however it is scheduled for replacement with The Model 302 (a more streamlined version).