Milkor USA M32A1 MSGL

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

Rifles are precision instruments. In the hands of a sniper, one bullet often yields one kill — the actual number is closer to 1.5 shots per casualty. In the hands of ordinary soldiers shooting in the general direction of the enemy though, it takes roughly ten thousand bullets to inflict one casualty.

This got me thinking about fairly precise grenade-launchers, and — lo and behold! — the latest episode of Top Shot featured, first, the BAR, and then, in the elimination challenge, the Milkor USA M32A1 MSGL — firing orange-chalk practice rounds:

In Vietnam, troops carried the M79 grenade launcher — effectively a 40-mm break-action shotgun.

In the 1980s, this evolved into the M203 under-barrel grenade-launcher — same idea, but attached to an assault rifle.

The M32 holds six rounds in a spring-powered revolver cylinder and has its own reflex sight that adjusts for the low-velocity rounds’ trajectory.

SOCOM took delivery of their first batch of M32s in 2008. Now the Marines have a contract for 5,000 of these “game-changers” at $8,500 a piece:

But it couldn’t have happened without Richard J. Solberg Jr., a modest businessman from Alaska with a specific interest in introducing new weaponry to the U.S. military.

Throughout the past 30 years, many large-bore semi-automatic high-capacity weapons manufactured in South Africa had seen great success worldwide with little footprint with in the U.S. military. This inspired Solberg to start Milkor USA, Inc., which became the first American company to manufacture an American-made version of the internationally popular South African 40mm MSGL, in the summer of 2004.

The Tuscon, Arizona-based Milkor USA, Inc. opened its initial American manufacturing facility in Perry, Florida, in 2005 with the help of Erik Solberg and Bryan Newberry. Soon after, they were able to bring a 100 percent American-made version of the MSGL to the American market and immediately won their first contract with the U.S. Marine Corps.

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