Grenades and launchers review
Real grenade launchers have been around in wars since the turn of the century. So it comes as no surprise that there is a plethora of grenade launcher replicas available on the airsoft market. However they see limited use in the field as indirect fire solutions as they are bulky, difficult to use and expensive to operate. Those who do use them know that they can have an extreme intimidation factor, and have the ability to rack up more than one kill per shot if conditions are just right. In this review we will look at not one, but several grenade launchers and a large variety of grenades.
G&P Knight's Type M203 Grenade Launcher (shorty)
G&P makes one of the most popular grenade launchers available; the venerated M203. This grenade launcher was designed as a replacement for the M79 grenade launcher during the vietnam war. it is most commonly seen fitted beneath an M16 or M4 assault rifle and is fitted in such a way that it does not interfere with the operation of the rifle it is fitted to, allowing the operator a defensive weapon. G&P faithfully replicates the M203 in every detail, from the operating procedure to the authentic markings on both sides.
The G&P M203 is made in full metal and finished in a matte dark gray powder coat. The barrel itself is a darker black that adds a beautiful contrast to the overall color. The heat shield is made from strong Fiber Reinforced Polymer which looks like it could stand a substantial amount of abuse before showing any sign of wear. A Neat show of detail on this launcher is the grooves present inside the barrel that give the effect of a rifled bore.
Loading a grenade into an M203 is an easier affair for right handed people than southpaws as the barrel release for this breech-loaded-boomstick is on it's left side and positioned in such a way to be operated with the thumb. Although it is still possible to use this in a left-handed configuration, just a little more sinister to use. In addition, not all grenades fit easily into the launcher due to retaining brackets at the entrance of the breech. For example, the King Arms XM1060 192 BB (long) grenade took quite a bit of wiggling before it finally slid into place. All other types of grenade shells tested (including other king arms grenades) fit into the G&P launcher without a problem making this a good choice of grenade launcher for those who want to have a variety of grenades. The problem fitting the King Arms long shell into the launcher seemed to be the rim of the front of the casing. If this was not tapered enough, the retaining brackets would get caught on it and present a problem for the operator in the field.
Overall the G&P M203 makes a solid choice as a grenade launcher but it's inability to fit onto anything other than an M16 or M4 and lack of unique look may make some people, looking for something less mainstream, look elsewhere for their choice of launcher.
Madbull AGX Launcher
Unquestionably one of the best looking launchers out there the AGX is a shortened replica of the German designed AG-C launcher (later known as the EGLM once in a polymer case). Originally designed for use specifically on the G36, the AG36 featured a left swinging barrel rather than a sliding one which makes the use of extra long grenades such as the King Arms XM1060 192 BB (long) grenade possible, although the diameter of the madbull AGX launcher makes it quite a tight fit and a firm push is required to get the shell into position (more on this later). The AGX launcher can also be used standalone as a grenade pistol due to it's shape and makes a great backup weapon as Madbull even makes a holster for it.
The Madbull AGX is full metal with a polymer frame, just like the real deal. It has a sublime jet black finish on all it's metal parts and features Madbull markings on the right side of the launcher. It also comes in a Desert Tan version for those of us with a thing for that color. One thing that really surprises you is the lightness of the launcher. It weighs in at only 790 grams! this is a massive plus as it keeps your weapon maneuverable while adding the immense firepower of a launcher to it.
Loading a grenade into the AGX is a right-handed deal primarily as the barrel swings only to the left and cannot be reversed. Loading from a left handed configuration requires the user to tilt the weapon to access the breech. This is not such a big problem as i have tried it myself and it's not too difficult. While the tilt barrel is not as ambidextrous as the sliding barrel of the M203, all other controls for the AGX launcher are ambidextrous including the safety and barrel release.
The AGX launcher is certainly one of the more unique launchers in the field and an easy RIS attachment system means that this launcher can fit most replicas with rails. if you're looking to stand out from the crowd, but don't mind paying a little more than an M203, this is definitely your best bet.
Star GP30 Grenade Launcher
For those of us with AKs and their variants, there are only a few choices of launcher, one of them is the Star GP30. The standard grenade launcher of the Russian army, the GP30 and 25 are both the same save for minor differences and location of the sights. Star's replica is of the GP30 with the sights on the right side of the weapon, intended for more comfortable aiming.
Star's replica of the GP30 is slightly unrealistic in the way it takes and loads shells, and in it's dimensions. The barrel is slightly larger than the normal to in order to take 40mm cased grenades designed for the M203, rather than using proprietary GP30 Grenades. To load a grenade you simply push a knob above the back of the barrel to the right, then stick your favorite M203 grenade into the barrel (any will fit). Push the knob back into position and pull the trigger.
The Star GP30 features other functions such as a safety switch and quick detach from the rifle but they are rather chunky to use and the safety is rudimentary and stiff. Presumable over time some wear and tear will make the operations function more smoothly but out of the box all the controls seem to stick thanks to a thick power coat of paint.
That's not to say that it's a bad thing either, the style of painting and crude looks all add to the feel and knocked-together look of a beat up AK47. Overall, this makes a 'not bad' choice of launcher for your AK47, but there are better ones out there.
Madbull Stinger Grenades:
OWCH comes to mind when you think "stinger" grenades and at 262 FPS these grenades will sting, considering there are 24 of them hitting you at once. Resetting these things was a breeze and they held all their BBs well, no spilling when you tilted them. They come as solid as a rock and are finished in 3 nice colors of Red, Blue and Gold. Although they only hold 24 BBs they got a good range and spread thanks to a short barrel (and overall size) and high power.
Madbull Airsoft XM781HP CO2 High Power Grenade Shell
When you're really out to kill there is no other solution. The XM781HP is the only way to go. Able to take not only RED gas but CO2 this chronoes 8mm 0.45g BBs at 240 FPS and that's on RED gas (we darent chrono CO2). That's equivalent to 360 FPS on 0.20g BBs. This is one hell of a beast to fire and the crack it makes when it goes off will let anyone know that you mean business.
Madbull M576 Hi-Power Rubber Head Training Shell
Madbull really seem to be into the sadistic aspect of airsoft with products like the 'stinger' grenade and the ridiculous combination of 8mm and CO2 on their high power XM781HP but theyve really outdone themselves on their Slugshot grenade launcher. Able to take RED gas we highly reccomend that you DO NOT use this as a direct fire grenade as it can easily cause much more damage than the average BB. However firing this thing is an absoloute joy. The momentous recoil felt as you pull the trigger is wrist wrenching and the rubber slug flew down the hallway of 30 meters in a split second. The sheer amount of power you get in this grenade is staggering. Enough said.
King Arms M433 96 round cartridge
For those of us who enjoy a spot of realism in our games the King Arms M433 96 round cartridge is the ideal soloution. It's a 96 round grenade but what's special about it? It comes with a cap to make it look like a real M433 grenade while not in use. The one downside is that due to the high number of rounds, the power is relativley low, at only 200 FPS some people may not feel or admit to getting hit by this blast.
G&P 18 round Long grenade
The G&P 18 round long grenade is another grenade good for realism buffs as it comes with a cover just like the King Arms M433. However this grenade cover is labeled as a CS gas grenade making it a just a little awkward to claim a kill with it. despite this minor disadvantage, this is makes a great grenade for skirmish purposes as it has a high power due to it's long barrels, and therefore a greater effective range. It also comes with it's own molle grenade pouch in woodland camoflage making this a high value choice for those looking to get an effective grenade without needing to purchase more pouches.
Shooter 60rds High Power 40mm Gas Cartridge HEDP Shell
A newcomer to the grenade shell market, Shooter's design for the M203 grenade is rather unique. This is since the gas is loaded from the rear instead of the front. This system is much more convenient than loading from the top and safer too as the grenade will be facing away from you while charging with gas. The Shooter 60 round high power gas cartrige is reliable and doesnt leak BBs like some lower quality cheap shells do, it can also take the full range of gas propellants from HFC134a to CO2 so the power from this baby is an astonishing 300 FPS on RED gas. That may not seem like much at first but you have to remember that your opponent is going to be hit by up to 60 of these pellets flying past him.
Deep Fire 180 round BB Grenade Shell
Deep Fire has come up with a very high capacity grenade for your arsenal. For such a small size it carries much firepower at a staggering 180 BBs. However, due to the large number of BBs coming through the shell the power is down to 160 FPS. But there are so many BBs coming out of the barrel of the launcher that you can actually see the cloud of BBs fly towards your opponent. Unfortunately the Deep Fire grenade shell was built with function over form so it isn't very pretty. It doesn't have any markings of any sort or even a rounded head. But more importantly it's reliable and functions well.
Madbull Airsoft RG108 Muzzle Grenade
Lastly we have a grenade with a difference. This device is so unique it'll have everyone in the field gaping with envy. Reaching back to the days of WWI and WWII grenade launchers, this literally turns your gun into a boomstick. It's the Madbull airsoft RG108 Muzzle-mounted grenade. This handy device comes with a special QD flash hider and a QD fitting right beneath the grenade itself. To fire it, you quickly attach the grenade to the end of your weapon and fire once. Fitting the grenade to your muzzle is a breeze as it uses the same type of quick detach system as Madbull's Gemtech G5 Silencers (however the two are not compatible without modification) which is a two lug fitting. The grenade itself holds 108 BBs (hence the name) and is capable of taking green gas to provide good range. It is immense fun to use and gives the feeling of being a frontline soldier in a war.
Here's a little trick I've learned from a friend of mine who has a problem with grenades that spill BBs when you tip them. Use some cellophane or glad wrap to cover the grenade's tip. it holds the BBs in to prevent spillage and bursts when you set off the grenade, so it doesn't disrupt the grenade's operation.