The Brownells BRN-601 Rifle is a reproduction of the very first AR-type rifle ever issued to the US Military. While the basic design features are the same as features on today’s modern sporting rifles, you’ll notice the classic details like a fixed stock, green furniture, triangular charging handle, and duckbill three-prong flash hider. For all the details, check out our review here.
Here’s the thing. A rifle like this is awesome, but we felt it needed a little authentic accessorizing to make it epic. A little flash and bang so to speak, with emphasis on the bang part. Enter the Lewis Machine and Tool Company M203 37mm Grenade Launcher. Yes, it’s legal to own and requires no NFA paperwork or tax stamp, but be sure to check your state laws to make sure there are no issues. That’s because it’s permanently modified to fire 37mm flares, smoke, signaling, and inert rounds rather than those 40mm high explosive grenades that most homeowners’ associations frown upon.
Let’s take a closer look at this little nugget of freedom on steroids.
LMT M203 Grenade Launcher History
The M203 Grenade Launcher is a love child of the Army’s Special Purpose Individual Weapon project. Invented in 1969, it went into service in the early 1970s. The M79 stand-alone grenade launcher actually predates the M203. If you will recall the resident platoon badass in old Vietnam war movies, the M79 is the launcher with a wooden buttstock he carried along with bandoliers of 40mm grenades. The raison d’être of the M203 was that an average human really couldn’t carry a full M79 and ammo load, a rifle, and adequate ammunition supply, so that guy’s flexibility was limited. The M203 allowed any rifle-equipped soldier to have grenade capability for use when appropriate without losing a rifle in the team’s overall firepower.
The original M203 was designed for attachment to an M16 rifle, but later versions like the M203A1 and M203A2 offered longer barrels, up to 12 inches, and the ability to mount to a standard M4 carbine.