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Naval Ordnance Station EX 41 (Shoulder-Fired Weapon / SFW)

Multi-Shot 40mm Grenade Launcher [ 1994 ]

The NOS EX 41 intended for the USMC was a proposed pump-action, multi-shot 40mm grenade launcher using a hybrid low-high velocity grenade.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 08/15/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

Since the close of World War 2, when infantryman relied on thrown hand grenades or rifle grenades fired from the muzzles of their service guns, the US military was attempting to develop a multiple-shot grenade launcher. One such project (under a US Marine Corps directive) fell to the Naval Ordnance Station (NOS) of Louisville, Kentucky who headed the "NOS EX 41" initiative, a compact grenade projecting system firing a combined low/high pressure 40mm grenade through a conventional pump-action facility. By this time, the USMC had already adopted the M203 underbarrel single-shot grenade launcher to replace their Vietnam War-era M79 single-shot series and used the vehicle/tripod-mounted Mk 19 automatic launcher in number. Picatinny Arsenal was charged with development of a new 40mm grenade to bring together the qualities of the M203's 40x46mm grenade with the qualities of the Mk 19's 40x53mm type.

The EX 41 became a compact weapon taking the general form of an automatic weapon with the action of a shotgun. The design was of an in-line approach (all major components set behind the other) with a sizeable buttstock, smooth barrel assembly, underslung pistol grip with trigger unit and an optics mounting. A magazine tube was installed under the barrel and operated through the pump-action facility in much the same way a traditional pump-action shotgun was operated. Overall weight was 10 kilograms with a running length of 914mm with a 279mm long barrel assembly. Each 40mm grenade exited the barrel at approximately 152 meters per second out to a maximum range of 1,500 meters. The tube magazine held four ready-to-fire 40mm grenades expanding the role of the warfighter considerably. Each grenade was of a "hybrid" design incorporating qualities of both low and high pressure grenade projectile munitions to contend with inherent recoil forces while providing a useful exiting velocity and, therefore, longer effective engagement ranges.

In the end, only a single prototype form was ever completed by NOS and this development weighed in heavier than the anticipated 7 kilograms. The expected 3,000 meter range was also limited to the aforementioned 1,500 meter reach. The M203 and Mk 19 series remained the standard US military grenade launchers for the interim and the EX 41 prototype was passed on to privately-held firm of Knight's Armament Company of Titusville, Florida for further work to which its condition since then remains largely unknown. Regardless, the type was never adopted by the USMC nor any other American service branch and has more or less fallen to the pages of history. Its last notable recorded presence was during November of 1995.

The EX 41 was also known under the name of "Shoulder-Fired Weapon" (SFW).©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


Service Year

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United States


Multi-Shot 40mm Grenade Launcher

Naval Ordnance Station / Knight's Armament Company - USA
(View other Arms-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of the United States United States
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Fire Support
Capable of suppressing enemy elements at range through direct or in-direct fire.

Overall Length
914 mm
35.98 in
Barrel Length
279 mm
10.98 in
Empty Wgt
22.00 lb
9.98 kg

Iron Sights; Optional Optics


Manually-Actuated Pump-Action

(Material presented above is for historical and entertainment value and should not be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation - always consult official manufacturer sources for such information)


40mm High-Velocity Ammunition / Low-Velocity Cartridge Case

Rounds / Feed

4-round internal tube magazine
Cartridge relative size chart
*May not represent an exhuastive list; calibers are model-specific dependent, always consult official manufacturer sources.
**Graphics not to actual size; not all cartridges may be represented visually; graphics intended for general reference only.
Max Eff.Range
4,921 ft
(1,500 m | 1,640 yd)
Muzzle Velocity
498 ft/sec
(152 m/sec)

EX 41 - Prototype Series Designation; never adopted by the USMC; sent to Knight's Armament Company for futher work; single prototype ever completed.

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Images Gallery

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Image of the Naval Ordnance Station EX 41 (Shoulder-Fired Weapon / SFW)
Right side diagram view of the EX 41 grenade launcher


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