Germany provides 4,700+ Steyr GL40 grenade launchers to its army

The German Army, also known as the Bundeswehr, has entered into an agreement for the supply of 4,776 Steyr GL40 grenade launchers, which will be mounted on their weapons. This information comes from the German outlet Hart Punkt, indicating that these 40mm grenade launchers are destined for the German Army’s special forces. Available information suggests that these launchers will be affixed to the G95k [HK416] assault rifles. 

Germany provides 4,700+ Steyr GL40 grenade launchers to its army
Photo credit: TheFireArmBlog

Hart Punkt revealed reasons for the notably high order volume of these ‘attached grenade launchers.’ The surge in numbers, according to the source, can be attributed to a later decision made by the Bundeswehr. This decision involves equipping the Steyr GL40 with additional weapons, namely the G95k, G27P, and G27K, as well as the forthcoming Bundeswehr assault rifles, G95kA1 and G95A1.

About GL40

Tracing its lineage back to the esteemed Austrian firm of Steyr Mannlicher, the Austrian Steyr GL40 stands tall as a finely designed grenade launcher. This weapon system can function independently or be anchored beneath a rifle’s barrel, expanding its plethora of combat applications. Weighing a mere 1.7kg [3.75 lbs] when empty and measuring just 385mm [15.2 inches] in length, the GL40 design impeccably balances manageability and functionality. With its 280mm [11 inch] 40mm caliber barrel, it also strikes a perfect equilibrium between shooting range and precision. 

Concerning its operational capacities, the GL40 boasts a break-action, single-shot design that streamlines the reloading process. Its feature set also comprises of an easily adjustable ladder sight for enhanced targeting and a double-action trigger to maintain utmost safety. Underpinning its working machinery is a straightforward blowback mechanism. When the trigger is pulled, the hammer impacts the grenade’s primer, triggering the propellant. As the grenade is propelled out of the barrel, the blowback springs the breech open, discharges the spent casing, and prepares the launcher for a subsequent grenade. 

The GL40 is compatible with 40x46mm low-velocity grenades, a standard issue in the realm of grenade launchers. These rounds can be high-explosive, smoke, or illuminators, providing operators with a wide array of tactical options. Ultimately, the GL40 can reach up to 400 meters [437 yards] for area targets and up to 150 meters [164 yards] for point targets. This range capability elevates the launcher’s utility in the theatre of operations, granting an edge to forces engaging adversaries at mid to long-range distances.

GL40 combat history

Germany provides 4,700+ Steyr GL40 grenade launchers to its army
Photo credit: Bundeswehr

The Steyr GL40 grenade launcher, originating from Austria, enjoys broad adoption worldwide due to its versatile performance. Countries that have incorporated the GL40 into their military arsenals include its home country, Austria, European nations such as Germany, the Netherlands, and Portugal, and extending beyond Europe, countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. 

Its combat readiness is seen in its various military engagements. Peacekeeping missions and military operations worldwide have firsthand experienced the GL40’s prowess. One example is the German Bundeswehr’s deployment of the GL40 in Afghanistan as part of the International Security Assistance Force [ISAF]. The GL40’s precision, steadfast dependability, and the versatile nature of its 40mm grenades have made it a critical component in these types of scenarios. 

Despite its widespread use, there haven’t been many detailed interim combat reports on the GL40. The reason most likely stems from its role as a supplementary or supportive weapon rather than the primary combat tool. However, its adoption by a significant number of countries and its deployment in various combat zones stand as testimony to its steadfast effectiveness and battlefield reliability.

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