M-320 grenade launcher
The M-320 grenade launcher is seen here mounted beneath this soldier’s assault rifle. (USMC)

The US Marines are evaluating the Heckler and Koch M-320 40mm grenade launcher to replace the M-203 grenade launcher for the Marine rifleman.

The M-320 is mounted below a standard infantry rifle but has the advantages of being side-loaded and to have its ladder sight attached to the launcher rather than the host weapon. Thus it can fire not only the same ammunition as the M-203 but also newer rounds. The launcher can be fired independently using an optional retractable butt stock. The weapon has a range of 400 metres (1312.3 feet). The M-320 was actually type classified and issued for select unit use in 2009. The Marine Corps plan would see its large scale fielding. According to a Marine Crops Systems Command spokesperson M-320s could begin to be fielded from 2019 with total of 7000 systems to be acquired.