Grenade launchers in airsoft are often a far-fetched afterthought. Mainly because they are a bulky piece a kit the vast majority of airsoft-ers fail to utilize in practise with as they would with their primary or even more so with their secondary. Grenade launching in airsoft has seen a resurgence in the past couple of years with the introduction of TAGGIN grenades and innovative re-design of the typical 40mm bb grenade to the 40Mike and Master mike by Airsoft Innovations. So why not? – well, grenadiers rejoice! We finally have a reason to run those half-pound grenades!

The Concept
The role of a grenadier is to utilize grenades for clearing out entrenched enemy positions, disable or destroy enemy targets or hardware. It can easily be translated to airsoft now with new grenade shells and the plethora of 40mm options at your disposal. The apex of which revolves around the launcher and implementation. We will explore grenade types later in-depth, but today we will explore mounting methods and employment on the field.

Method of use
There are two types of Launching systems Stand-alone or mounted. It’s relatively easy to identify the differences, but let us talk about the differences in application.

Stand-alone
These launchers systems often range from pistol type launchers to 6 shot revolver types, and they can vary on weight, ease of use and combat effectiveness. The Stand-alone system usually leaves something to be desired; there is a great sense of power and yet vulnerability. As you have one shot at making it count and a reload is probably going to end up with you getting hit. However, it does reduce the weight on your primary but can be added tool to the toolbox when you can’t mount on a central platform such as an SMG, bolt action, DMR, or LMG. The unique nature of standalone systems become far more present due to the lack of proper implementation to lack of adequate transport.

For the right player, the standalone system can be advantageous. Now I’m not talking about guys who run the breach loaded CYMA blunder bust type. I’m talking the guys who will carry 4 to 12 grenades for productive use. The stand-alone can prove to be useful in a pinch against vehicles or entrenched enemy positions, but the launcher becomes more of a passive weapons system. It is a great way to introduce a 40mm system into your arsenal but isn’t as direct as a mounting system, and generally not the preferred method.

Mounted
There is a good reason militaries around the world prefer or switched from standalone or rifle grenades to under-barrel mounted systems, versatility and functionality. Sacrificing the light-weighted nature of the rifle for the added benefit proved to be very practical. It is the preferred method now used commonly both in airsoft and the real world.

A mounted grenade launcher is not only more versatile for the user but offers a more direct and immediate action with the system. It’s a night and day difference when you merely switch triggers. Mounting allows you to switch between seamlessly and offers that same feeling of power at your fingertips without the vulnerability of being out of the fight because you can transition back to the rifle in an instant.

Practical use in airsoft
Grenade launchers are just big clunky paperweights without shells for use. Initially, you were limited to low power, expensive shower shell. That time has since paced as we have more variety of different munition systems to choose between. It’s an excellent practice to implemented an assortment over standard one shell type only. I will explore this later with a more in-depth write up on a separate post.

Launcher & ammunition storage
A key area is transportation and storage of ammunition for grenade launchers. Generally, this is the most neglected area as it is costly or time-intensive when done correctly. The first strong point to note is the grenade launcher.

Stand-alone systems can prove to be a pain, generally no existing holster systems with the acceptation of the pistol type or M320 Kydex holsters and soft types. It is a less preferred method but can prove to be heavy awkward if the weight is not distributed effectively. The second method is slinging or stowage in a compartment, this being a universal system. As stated above, standalone systems tend to be more passive as the launcher is generally out of your working space or not easily accessible. Passive systems are suitable for team use or having the tool in the toolbox when in the field.

Mounted systems are the most commonly used method as it is a dedicated role. Both the primary and grenade launcher are present at all times in the working space. It can prove to be more potent and effective with adequate ammunition and direct fire usage.

Ammunition storage for 40mm grenades is a headache for two reasons. Shells are reusable to you’re carrying that weight in and out of the field. Because of this, most people stay clear of taking more than a handful of grenades. Most airsoft grenades weight roughly ½ lb each if not more depending on the size and type. For those using them with standalone systems, 4-6 shells can prove to be more than enough as it gives some viability to the use, for mounted of dedicated grenadiers you’ll need at minimum carry 6-12 shells for effective use of the launcher. It not only means you have an assortment of options, but it increases the potency of use-thus, giving you more reason to use the grenade launcher at will when desired.

How I use my grenade launcher-s
I use both methods depending on both the game and what primary is in use. However, the mounted launcher is still the go-to in a direct scenario, and I’ve set up the capability to scale the level of ammunition carried from 8 rounds or less on the plate carrier and an additional 12 shells on a dedicated 40mm belt. It gives the option of increasing the lethality depending on game type or area of operation. The 12 extra rounds can easily get stowed in the second line kit or third depending.

Conclusion
Grenade launchers can prove to be a potent tool when used and set up correctly. Like many niche elements in airsoft, they have reason in the use of them when applied to an appropriate effect. The added effect can also be counted in a phycological department when used with deadly force. Whether clearing an entrenched position or knocking out a hard target in the modern airsoft world you have a variety of options with ammunition types, and there are creative solutions too, we will explore these options in detail. In the meantime

– Schoolboy Out