The MGL (Multiple Grenade Launcher) is a lightweight 40 mm semi-automatic, 6-shot grenade launcher developed and manufactured in South Africa by the Milkor company (renamed Rippel Effect in 2007). The MGL was demonstrated as a concept to the South African Defence Force in 1981. The operating principle was immediately accepted and subjected to a stringent qualification program. The MGL was then officially accepted into service with the SADF as the Y2. After its introduction in 1983, the MGL was gradually adopted by the armed forces and law enforcement organizations of over 30 countries; it has since proven its effectiveness in harsh environments ranging from rain forests to deserts. Total production since 1983 has been more than 18,000 units.
The MGL is multiple-shot weapon, intended to significantly increase a small squad's firepower when compared to traditional single-shot grenade launchers like the M203. The MGL is designed to be simple, rugged and reliable. It uses the well-proven revolver principle to achieve a high rate of accurate fire which can be rapidly brought to bear on a target. A variety of rounds such as HE, HEAT, anti-riot baton, irritant or pyrotechnic can be loaded and fired at a rate of one per second; the cylinder can be loaded or unloaded rapidly to maintain a high rate of fire. Although intended primarily for offensive/defensive use with high-explosive rounds, with appropriate ammunition the launcher is suitable for anti-riot and other security operations.
The MGL is a low-velocity, shoulder-fired spring-driven 40 mm grenade launcher with a six-round revolver-style magazine capable of accepting most 40x46mm grenades. The cylinder is spring-loaded and rotates automatically while firing, but it must be wound back up after every reload. The MGL grenade launcher consists of a lightweight, progressively rifled steel barrel, sight assembly, frame with firing mechanism, spring-actuated revolving cylinder magazine and a folding stock. The stock is adjustable to suit the eye relief and firing stance of the user. The position of the front vertical grip is also adjustable for comfort. The weapon has a fire selector safety switch just above the rear pistol grip which can be operated from either side. The launcher cannot be accidentally discharged if dropped.
The launcher is loaded by releasing the cylinder axis pin and swinging the steel frame away from the cylinder. The rear of the cylinder (including the pistol grip) is unlatched and pivoted counter-clockwise to expose the chambers during reload. By inserting the fingers into the empty chambers and rotating the aluminum cylinder it is then wound against its driving spring. The grenades are then inserted into the chambers, one by one (because the cylinder cannot be removed), the frame closed and the axis pin re-engaged to lock. When the trigger is pressed, a double action takes place and the firing pin is cocked and released to fire the grenade. Gas pressure on a piston unlocks the cylinder and allows the spring to rotate it until the next chamber is aligned with the firing pin, whereupon the next round can be fired. If a misfire occurs the trigger can be pulled repeatedly.
The MGL is equipped with the Armson Occluded Eye Gunsight (OEG); a collimating reflex sight which provides a single aiming dot. The shooter aims with both eyes open and the effect is to see the aiming spot superimposed on the target, both target and aiming dot being in sharp focus. The launcher is also fitted with an artificial boresight which can be used to zero the reflex sight. The OEG sight includes a radioluminous lamp which provides the spot contrast and which has a life of approximately 10 years. The Armson sight was designed to be used to determine the range to the target and instantly adjusted. It enables the user to increase the hit probability at ranges up to 375 m. The range quadrant is graduated in 25 m increments and aim is automatically compensated for drift.
Each MGL is supplied complete with an OEG sight, a sling, a cleaning kit and a user's manual. As well as being a hand-held launcher, the MGL has also been used on vehicles.
In the last decade, several upgrades were made to the original design. After over 12 years of production and more than a decade of user feedback from different countries around the world, it became evident that a redesign of some component groups would make the weapon even more user-friendly and reliable, while at the same time simplifying maintenance. This development, known as the MGL Mk 1 was introduced to the market in 1996. All weapons previously supplied can be upgraded to the Mk 1 configuration. Parts, such as the steel barrel, are interchangeable with a minimum of workshop modifications involving a few special tools and cutting dies.
Two "product improved" variants were introduced in 2004 by Milkor Marketing. The first is the Mk 1S, which replaces the aluminum frame of the Mk 1 with a stronger stainless steel body, and adds several Picatinny rails: four around the barrel, and one more on top of the main frame. The folding stock is also adjustable for length of pull. The second variant is the Mk 1L, which features a new sliding buttstock and a 140 mm (5.5 in) long cylinder. Certain special-purpose grenades such as tear gas canisters and less-lethal impact rounds are too long to fit in older models of the MGL, but they will fit in the Mk 1L's extended chambers. As a result, the weapon can fire a wider range of ordnance, and is more suitable for use in peacekeeping and riot control operations. The Mk 1L also incorporates all the improvements found in the Mk 1S. A reflex sight was added in 2005, replacing the Armson OEG sight. This sight automatically adjusts for changing light conditions and is compatible with 3rd generation night vision equipment. It includes a cross hair design reticule that helps estimate range.
The MGL-140 was introduced in 2005 by Milkor USA. It features a Crane-style Vltor Modstock, a "SOPMOD Tan" finish, and a weighted two-stage trigger. It has a 140 mm (5.5 in) long chamber designed to accept all lengths of standard low velocity 40x46mm grenades including the new Hellhound "hyper-lethal" wide blast radius ammunition manufactured by Martin Electronics Inc (MEI). The MGL/Hellhound combo is being touted as a significant improvement over traditional grenade launcher systems. In late October 2005, the United States Marine Corps awarded Milkor USA a contract to produce some 200 MGL-140 launchers, featuring unspecified modifications made at the USMC's request. The order was manufactured in the United States by Milkor USA Inc. This new version, designated M32 Multiple Grenade Launcher, was deployed to Iraq in March 2006 for testing with all Marine battalions.
The latest version introduced in 2007 is the XRGL40 named for its extended firing range of 800 m it offers over the standard 375 m. It uses a new "extended range low pressure" (ERLP) 40x51mm grenade that launches at 125 m/s (410.1 ft/s) instead of the standard 76 m/s (249.3 ft/s) without an increase in chamber pressure. It remains compatible with conventional 40x46mm grenades. In addition to this change, it is also slightly lighter and has a modified sight (with laser rangefinder).