Infantry weapons / Grenade launchers / Mk 19

Mk 19

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Automatic grenade launcher

    United States

    K4 (South Korean designation)
    Maklar / mikla rimonim, grenade machine gun (Israeli nickname)

    1966 - 1976

    Naval Ordnance Center

    1967 - 1976 (prototypes)
    1976 - present (Mk 19 MOD 3)

    United States - General Dynamics
    United States - Saco Defense

    Licensed production:
    Egypt - Maadi
    Israel - IMI
    South Korea - Daewoo
    Turkey - MKEK

    Over 40.000 built, production continues.

    About $ 20.000.

    Good firepower
    Good effective range
    Limited reliability


The Mk 19 is an late Cold War era automatic grenade launcher of US origin. It was designed in the mid-1960's and was extensively used during the late stages of the Vietnam war. The Mk 19 was the first automatic grenade launcher designed for ground use. In the USA it is designated as a grenade machine gun.


The Mk 19 is a blowback operated weapon that fires the same high velocity 40mm grenades as used in the earlier M75. The belts are fed from left to right and are usually held in a box attached to the left of the weapon. Early weapons used advanced primer ignition and were found to have limited reliability. Following over a decade of improvements the design settled on the Mk 19 MOD 3 which uses a straigh blowback operation. The Mk 19 is aimed and fired using the spade grips at the rear. Iron sights are mounted on top of the weapon.


The Mk 19 fires 40x53mm high velocity grenades from 32 or 48 round belts. A variety of grenade types is available. The standard HEDP grenades have a lethal radius of 5 m, wounding radius of 15 m and will pierce the armor of most armored vehicles. The cyclic rate of fire is 325 to 375 rpm. The practical rate of fire is 60 rounds in one minute or 40 rpm during sustain fire. The maximum range is 2 km, although the sight are gradated only to 1.500 yards. The GMG is reported to be so accurate that grenades can be launched though an individual window at a distance of over 1 km.


The main user of the Mk 19 is the United States military. It was extensively used during the late stages of the Vietnam war and all subsequent conflicts. It is sometimes used on a tripod, but is mostly vehicle mounted due to its weight. The Mk 19 was also very succesful as an export product with only the Soviet AGS-17 in more widespread use.


Mk 19

The Mk 19 is an automatic grenade launcher that fires 40x53mm high velocity rounds. It was produced in a number of models during its development, but the only model ever used in quantity is the Mk 19 MOD 3.

Mk 19 MOD 0: The original Mk 19 featured a long box shaped body and lacked ergonomics. It was tested in 1966 and was found unreliable and unsafe.
Mk 19 MOD 1: Improved model with reduced length, redesigned feed tray and spade grips. Field tested in 1972.
Mk 19 MOD 2: Prototype model with a much smaller design but was never produced due to limited reliability.
Mk 19 MOD 3: The final and most common Mk 19 model. Introduced in 1976. It uses straight blowback operation and has a longer barrel with a flash hider.

TypeAutomatic grenade launcher
Caliber40x53mm NATO
MagazineBelt fed, 32 or 48 rounds
OperationBlowback with advanced primer ignition
Fire selector?
Rate of fire300 - 400 rpm
Barrel length412 mm
Rifling24 grooves, right hand 1.220 mm twist
Muzzle velocity241 m/s
Length1.095 mm
Width340 mm
Height224 mm
Weight35.3 kg (gun only)
SightsIron sights, up to 1.500 yard gradations


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