The Mk 19 grenade launcher (pronounced Mark 19) is an American 40 mm belt-fed automatic grenade launcher that was first developed during the Vietnam War.


The Mk 19 is a belt-fed, blowback-operated, air-cooled, crew-served, fully-automatic weapon that is designed not to cook off. It fires 40 mm grenades at a cyclic rate of 325 to 375 rounds per minute, giving a practical rate of fire of 60 rounds per minute (rapid) and 40 rounds per minute (sustained). The weapon operates on the blowback principle, which uses the chamber pressure from each fired round to load and re-cock the weapon. The Mk 19 can launch its grenade at a maximum distance of , though its effective range to a point target is about , since the large rear leaf sight is only graduated as far. The nearest safe distance to launch the grenade is 310 meters in training and 75 meters in combat. Though the Mk 19 has a flash suppressor, it serves only to save the eyesight of its operator, not concealing the weapon's position. For night operation, a picatinny rail quadrant sight can be added for thermal and night vision optics. The Mk 19A is a man-portable crew-served weapon that can fire from a tripod-mounted position or from a vehicle mount, with the latter being the preferred method, as the weapon alone weighs . The primary ammunition for it is the high-explosive dual-purpose M430 grenade. On impact, the grenade can kill anyone within a radius of five meters, and wound them within a radius of 15 meters. It can also punch through of rolled homogeneous armor with a direct hit (0-degree obliquity), which means it can penetrate most infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers. It is especially effective when used against enemy infantry formations. The ammunition comes in cans that hold a 32- or 48-grenade belt weighing , respectively. Due to its low recoil and comparatively light weight, it has been adapted for use on many different platforms, including small attack boats, fast attack vehicles such as the Humvee (HMMWV), AAV and Stryker, military jeeps, and a large variety of naval mounts. The Mk 19 automatic grenade launcher replaced the earlier Mk 18 hand-cranked multiple grenade launcher. The 40 mm ammunition used (40×53 mm) is not interchangeable with that used in the M203 (40×46 mm). The M203 ammunition develops a lower chamber pressure, and resultant lower muzzle velocity and range, compared to ammunition loaded for the Mk 19. The Mk 19 fires from an open bolt. The rounds are mechanically fed onto the bolt face with the pull of the charging handles. When the trigger is pressed, the bolt closes, and the firing pin is released. The recoil blows back the bolt, feeds a new round onto the bolt face, which pushes the expended casing off the bolt face. Production of the Mk 19 is managed by Saco Defense Industries (now a division of General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems). In November 2014, General Dynamics entered into an agreement with Advanced Material Engineering Pte Ltd, a subsidiary of Singapore Technologies Kinetics, to manufacture 40 mm high-velocity airburst ammunition for the U.S. military. The 40 mm airburst grenade uses a programmable, time-based fuse that computes and programs the detonation time into it, which counts down once fired to zero to detonate at the intended target point. The airburst ammunition is compatible with the Mk 19, which would give it greater effectiveness and lethality, particularly against concealed and defilade targets. The U.S. Army plans to introduce several new features to the Mk 19 in an upgrade package that could be introduced by late 2017. Initiatives include: increased muzzle velocity through a less resistant barrel; increased cyclic rate from an improved profile for the vertical cam to reduce the force needed to charge the weapon; enhancing reliability with a redesigned round-positioning block to decrease the chance of misfires; increased durability and shortened re-assembly time after maintenance from a new cocking cam and lever; and an updated mechanical sight utilizing up-to-date ammunition ballistic data to aid accuracy.


GDOTS has built nearly 35,000 Mk 19 Mod 3 systems for roughly 30 customers since 1984. Users of the Mk 19 include: * : Argentine Marines. * Jones, Richard D. ''Jane's Infantry Weapons 2009/2010''. Jane's Information Group; 35 edition (January 27, 2009). . * : Moroccan Army. * : Used by the Brazilian Marine Corps. * * : MATAV armored vehicles armed with Mk 19 grenade launcher, first seen in public at recent Croatian Army Parade. Initially Croatia purchased 32 weapons and kits, the number has since gone up, currently 92 systems in service. * : Manufactured locally by Helwan. * * * *Hungary * * : Used by Iraqi special forces on Humvees. * : Adopted by the Israeli Defence Forces (under the name "Maklar", for ''mikla rimonim'' or "grenade machinegun"), to be fielded in infantry and mechanized units. The Mk 19 was formerly manufactured locally. * * * * : Used extensively by the Mexican Army in the Mexican drug war. * : Used by the Pakistan Army. Due to high cost of Mk 19, Pakistan army doesn't provide full rations to the units armed with it as a cost cutting measure. * * : Used by Portuguese Army. * * * : Designated ''Grsp 92''. Used by Kustjägarna and Amfibiebataljonen and also by the 31st Airborne Battalion * * : Used by Royal Thai Marines (Mounted on AAV-7A1). * : Produced under licence by MKEK. Used by Turkish Land Forces. * : Currently in widespread use throughout the U.S. Armed Forces. US Navy 030317-D-3645W-057 U.S. Navy reservists assigned to Naval Construction Force Support Unit Three and Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Twenty Four (NMCB-24) fire the MK-19 40mm grenade launcher during MIL-EX 2003.jpg|U.S. Navy sailors fire a Mk 19 40 mm grenade launcher during a training exercise in March 2003. Granatnik Mk. 19 Wojsko Polskie.jpg|Mk 19 in use by Polish Land Forces Mexican troops operating at a random checkpoint 2009.jpg|A Mexican Army Chevrolet Silverado equipped with a Mk 19 at a military checkpoint in March 2009

See also

* AGS-17, similar weapon * Comparison of automatic grenade launchers * List of automatic grenade launchers * Mk 47 Mod 0 Striker, U.S. military successor in limited service * U.S. Navy equipment designations * XM174 grenade launcher, predecessor used by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War


External links

MK 19, 40-mm GRENADE MACHINE GUN, MOD 3 - Department of the Army, 2003

{{DEFAULTSORT:Mk 19 Grenade Launcher Category:Automatic grenade launchers Category:40×53mm grenade launchers Category:Grenade launchers of the United States Category:40 mm artillery Category:United States Marine Corps equipment Category:API blowback firearms