We've had a LOT of comments (102 and counting) on our storylast week about Army plans to spend $34 million in the coming year to developits XM25, shoulder fired, semi-automatic 25mm grenade launcher. Lots of folksbalked at the price tag, which is understandable, it's a very expensive weapon.But if it pans out it could really provide some needed firepower to the riflesquad.
A number of critical voices are concerned that the XM25 willreplace the venerable M203 under rifle grenade launcher. That's not the case.
The XM25 is designed specifically for counter-defilade,meaning, it's intended to blast enemy fighters hiding behind walls, cars, smallmounds, or other obstacles. It fires a 25mm high explosive round above thetarget and then detonates. So it's a weapon designed with a very specificfunction in mind. Because of this hyper-specialization, the Army says it willprovide one per rifle squad. So it's meant to augment, not replace, a squad'scurrent firepower.
In other words, the XM25 is not intended to replace this (the XM320, the replacement for the M203):
Others have criticized the XM25's limited magazine whichonly holds four rounds. Yet, one commenter familiar with the weapon wrote in tosay that the 4 round magazine is a compromise between weight and mobility andthat the weapon's accuracy will more than compensate. The squad grenadier willput down accurate killing fire with the 25mm rounds as the rest of the squaduses M-4s and SAWs to suppress.
A shortcoming of the M203, as a number of users havecommented, is its inaccuracy. The XM25 would appear to be a vast improvement inthat regard. One commenter who has test fired the weapon said the laser sightand smart round is accurate enough to put into windows in a house so that theround detonates inside a room.
Another commenter wrote in to say that the 25mm roundactually contains more explosive than the 40mm "blooper" round. I'll have to dosome digging and see if that's the case.
Watching this footage of firefights from southern Afghanistan puttogether by former Marine turned combat correspondent Bing West, I could seethe XM25 having some real utility reaching out and hitting an enemy that useswalls and tree lines as a base of fire.