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GP-25 / GP-30 GL

Single-Shot 40mm Muzzle-Loaded Grenade Launcher

Soviet Union | 1978

"The GP-25 series of Soviet-designed single-shot grenade launchers has seen widespread use since its adoption in the late 1970s."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 03/15/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The GP series of under-slung, single-shot, muzzle-loading 40mm grenade launchers was developed for the Soviet Army rifleman beginning in 1972. Work spanned into 1978 to which limited production ensued under the KBP Instrument Design Bureau brand label. The type was made compatible with the Kalashnikov "AK" family of assault weapons and intended to broaden the tactical reach of the Soviet infantryman considerably - matching the American M203-armed infantryman per step. The weapon was designed to fire a standard FRAG (FRAGmentation) grenade, smoke, tear gas, anti-riot baton and a specialized "bouncing" grenade and, as such, the GP family of launchers could be called upon to handle a variety of anti-personnel tasks with varying levels of lethality.

The GP was developed around a "High-Low Pressure System" in which to handle the resultant recoil effects of the launching 40mm projectile without the need of a rocket-based propulsion system. The system was devised by German engineers in the latter stages of World War 2 and subsequently adopted by the Soviets in the post-war world. Similarly, the Americans developed their M79 breech-loading 40mm single-shot grenade launcher along the same lines and these saw widespread use in the Vietnam War before being replaced by the underslung 40mm M203 series mated to the M16 assault rifle.

The Soviet single-shot 40mm grenade launcher first appeared in limited form under the designation of "BG-15" to which then the definitive "GP-25" production mark was unveiled. A modernized and simplified form, the "GP-30", has since been introduced which has more-or-less replaced the original aging GP-25 series. The original GP-25 fielded an overall weight of 3.3lbs and overall length of 12.7 inches while the updated GP-30 was made lighter and shorter at 3lbs with a 10.8 inch length. Both shared the same 4.7 inch barrel length and muzzle velocity was equal at 250 feet per second, largely in line with Western offerings. In the GP system, 40mm grenades are actuated by a percussion cap type base which ignites the grenade's propellant, forcing the projectile from the muzzle end of the barrel. The internal makeup of the launcher's barrel is rifled to promote a rotating stabilizing effect on the exiting grenade which allows for greater engagement ranges and some level of accuracy at range when compared to smoothbore barrel types. Construction of the GP family of grenade launchers is noted as very robust, allowing for a prolonged service life in the worst of battlefield conditions - very much a part of Soviet weapons design philosophy.

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The GP-25/GP-30 followed conventional design wisdom by making use of the widely-accepted 40mm grenade projectile firing from a single-shot format. Unlike the American M79 and M203 launchers, however, the Soviet/Russian GP-25 / GP-30 was completed as a muzzle-loading weapon (as opposed to the American breech-loading approach). The basic design included a tubular barrel coupled with a short, slab-sided receiver-type assembly which integrated the trigger loop and pistol-type grip containing a thumbhole. The GP series fit under the handguard of AK-style weapon systems with the assault rifle body acting as the host system for the launcher, allowing the infantryman to fire the grenade launcher from the shoulder utilizing a traditional three-point hold.

The GP family of grenade launchers has seen widespread use around the globe, particularly in national armies whose political ties were once (or are still) aligned with the Soviet Union/Russia. Rebel fighters in the Middle East and Southern Asia have been known to favor the type when its availability was made possible. The GP launcher still maintains a presence in the modern Russian Army and has also been issued to forces of Georgia, Lithuania, North Korea, Pakistan, Ukraine and Vietnam. Georgia produces the type under license.

Content ©MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
The physical qualities of the GP-25 / GP-30 GL. Information presented is strictly for general reference and should not be misconstrued as useful for hardware restoration or operation.
323 mm
12.72 in
O/A Length
123 mm
4.84 in
Barrel Length
3.31 lb
1.50 kg
Muzzle-Loaded; Single-Shot
40mm Caseless
Single-Shot; Reusable
Adjustable Iron
Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the GP-25 / GP-30 GL. Information presented is strictly for general reference and should not be misconstrued as useful for hardware restoration or operation.
1,312 ft
399.9 m | 437.3 yds
250 ft/sec
76 m/sec
Muzzle Velocity
Notable series variants as part of the GP-25 / GP-30 GL Single-Shot 40mm Muzzle-Loaded Grenade Launcher family line.
BG-15 - Initial Production Designation
GP-25 - Primary Production Version; definitive Cold War mark.
GP-30 - Modernized and lightened variant of the GP-25; reduced production costs; reduced maintenance, handling requirements and overall weight.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the GP-25 / GP-30 GL. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national small arms listing.

Contractor(s): KBP Instrument Design Bureau - Soviet Union
National flag of Afghanistan National flag of China National flag of Georgia National flag of India National flag of Iraq National flag of Lithuania National flag of North Korea National flag of Pakistan National flag of Russia National flag of the Soviet Union National flag of Ukraine National flag of Vietnam

[ Afghanistan; China; Georgia; India; Iraq; Lithuania; North Korea; North Vietnam; Pakistan; Russia; Soviet Union; Ukraine; Vietnam ]
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Design Qualities
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The GP-25 / GP-30 GL Single-Shot 40mm Muzzle-Loaded Grenade Launcher appears in the following collections:
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