CAMP EDWARDS, Mass. - Soldiers from the 51st Troop Command, 181st Infantry and 182nd Infantry Regiment Battalions participated in the new equipment training on the M320 Grenade Launcher at Camp Edwards in August 2013. Thirty Soldiers received classroom, live-fire, and maintenance training on the systems. This training included eight hours of classroom instruction on operation, range firing, and select personnel received eight hours of maintenance instruction on the system.
The M320 Grenade Launcher is the replacement system for the M203, and is single shot like the system it is replacing. It can be utilized in stand-alone configuration or attached to the M16/M4 series rifles. M320 is capable of firing all of the high explosive, armor piercing, irritant gas, smoke, and illuminating rounds in the current inventory. Unlike the pump-style action of the M203, its breech opens to the side, this allows the M320 to fire a variety of newer rounds that are longer, specifically certain non-lethal rounds. The M320 has several advancements over the older M203 to include: 1) The mechanical ladder sights on the system are located on the side of the grenade launcher, not on the host weapon, therefore, re-zeroing is not required every time the launcher is reattached to the rifle or carbine, 2) It operates in double action mode (No need to re-cock the breach in the event of misfire and vastly improves safe handling procedures when dealing with misfires), and 3) Is made of light weight aluminum alloy.
Sgt. 1st Class (Ret.) Alex Mariblanca, Tank Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) instructor stated: "When there is a new weapon system in the military...we teach the National Guard and Active Duty Soldiers. Our purpose was to come here and train the Massachusetts National Guard on the M320," he said.
Soldiers conducted the live fire on the newly renovated Lima range designed specifically for 40mm practice grenades. The range has two standard Grenade Launcher Ranges with the required four stations for each range. The Soldiers fired in excess of 1,400 training practice rounds in familiarization of the system, and were able to practice range estimation and engagement of barricaded targets.
The TACOM instructor team commented that this range was one of the best constructed they had seen while travelling the country to instruct this course.
"Since we have been doing this training...since 2009, this is the best range we have seen," said Mariblanca.
Lima Range was constructed in April of 2013 by Range Control, Facilities Engineering, and the CFMO office as a modern range to support future mobilization requirements and equipment modernization. The M320 new equipment training was conducted in August of 2013.