Lewis Machine and Tool to supply grenade launchers to U.S. Army

The company won a $17 million contract for M203/M203A2 variants and spare parts

An American soldier aims an M4A1 rifle fitted with an M203A2 grenade launcher. Photo: US Army

The US Defense Department awarded the Lewis Machine and Tool company a contract to supply over $17 million worth of M203/M203A2 grenade launchers and spare parts to the US Army. 

The Eldridge, Iowa-based company is estimated to complete delivery under the $17,031,520.00 firm-fixed-price contract by September 2025. 

The M203 is a single-shot 40 mm under-barrel grenade launcher designed to attach to a rifle. It uses the same rounds as the older stand-alone M79 break-action grenade launcher, which utilizes the High-Low Propulsion System to keep recoil forces low. Quite versatile and compatible with many rifle models, the M203 was originally designed for the U.S. M16 and its variant, the M4 carbine. The launcher can also be mounted onto a C7, a Canadian version of the M16 rifle; however, this requires the prior removal of the bottom handguard.

Stand-alone variants of the M203 exist, as do versions designed specifically for many other rifles. The device attaches under the barrel, the launcher trigger being in the rear of the launcher, just forward of the rifle magazine. The rifle magazine functions as a handgrip when firing the M203. A separate sighting system is added to rifles fitted with the M203, as the rifle's standard sights are not matched to the launcher. The version fitted to the Canadian C7 has a sight attached to the side of the launcher, either on the left or right depending on the user's needs.