The MGL (Multiple Grenade Launcher) is a lightweight 40 mm semi-automatic, 6-shot grenade launcher developed and manufactured in South Africa by Milkor (Pty) Ltd. The MGL was demonstrated as a concept to the South African Defence Force (SADF) in 1981. The operating principle was immediately accepted and subjected to a stringent qualification program. The MGL was then officially accepted into service with the SADF as the Y2. After its introduction in 1983, the MGL was gradually adopted by the armed forces and law enforcement organizations of over 30 countries; it has since proven its effectiveness in harsh environments ranging from rain forests to deserts. Total production since 1983 has been more than 50,000 units.The MGL is a multiple-shot weapon, intended to significantly increase a small squad's firepower when compared to traditional single-shot grenade launchers like the M203. The MGL is designed to be simple, rugged, and reliable. It uses the well-proven revolver principle to achieve a high rate of accurate fire which can be rapidly brought to bear on a target. A variety of rounds such as HE, HEAT, anti-riot baton, irritant, and pyrotechnic can be loaded and fired as fast as the trigger can be pulled; the cylinder can be loaded or unloaded rapidly to maintain a high rate of fire. Although intended primarily for offensive and defensive use with high-explosive rounds, with appropriate ammunition the launcher is suitable for anti-riot and other security operations. A newly patented modification allows the MGL to fire less lethal (very low pressure) rounds.
The MGL is a low-velocity, shoulder-fired 40 mm grenade launcher with a six-round spring-driven revolver-style magazine capable of accepting most 40x46mm grenades. The spring-driven cylinder rotates automatically while firing, but it must be wound back up after every reloading.
The MGL grenade launcher consists of a lightweight, progressively rifled steel barrel, sight assembly, frame with firing mechanism, spring-actuated revolving cylinder magazine, and a folding stock. The weapon has a fire selector safety switch just above the rear pistol grip which can be operated from either side. The launcher cannot be accidentally discharged if dropped.
The launcher is loaded by releasing the cylinder axis pin and swinging the steel frame away from the cylinder. The rear of the cylinder (including the pistol grip) is unlatched and pivoted counter-clockwise to expose the chambers during reloading. By inserting the fingers into the empty chambers and rotating the aluminum cylinder it is then wound against its driving spring. The grenades are then inserted into the chambers, one-by-one (because the cylinder cannot be removed), the frame closed, and the axis pin re-engaged to lock. When the trigger is pressed a double-action takes place and the firing pin is cocked and released to fire the grenade. Gas pressure on a piston unlocks the cylinder and allows the spring to rotate it until the next chamber is aligned with the firing pin, whereupon the next round can be fired. If a misfire occurs the trigger can be pulled repeatedly.
The MGL is equipped with the Armson Occluded Eye Gunsight (OEG); a collimating reflex sight which provides a single aiming dot. The shooter aims with both eyes open and the effect is to see the aiming spot superimposed on the target, both target and aiming dot being in sharp focus. The launcher is also fitted with an artificial boresight which can be used to zero the sight. The OEG sight includes a radio-luminous lamp which provides the spot contrast and which has a life of approximately 10 years. The Armson sight was designed to be used to determine the range to the target and instantly adjusted. It enables the user to increase the hit probability at ranges up to 375 m. The range quadrant is graduated in 25 m increments and aim is automatically compensated for drift.
Each MGL is supplied complete with an OEG sight, a sling, a cleaning kit and a user's manual.
Several upgrades were made to the original design in the last decade. After over 12 years of production and more than a decade of user feedback from different countries around the world it became evident that a redesign of some component groups would make the weapon even more user-friendly and reliable, while at the same time simplifying maintenance. This development, known as the MGL Mk 1 was introduced to the market in 1996. All weapons previously supplied can be upgraded to the Mk 1 configuration. Parts, such as the steel barrel, are interchangeable with a minimum of workshop modifications involving a few special tools and cutting dies.
Two "product improved" variants were introduced in 2004 by Milkor (Pty) Ltd. The first is the Mk 1S, which replaces the aluminum frame of the Mk 1 with a stronger stainless steel body, and adds a Picatinny rail. The second variant is the Mk 1L, which features a new sliding buttstock and a 140 mm (5.5 in) long cylinder. Certain special-purpose grenades such as tear gas canisters and less-lethal impact rounds are too long to fit in older models of the MGL, but they will fit in the Mk 1L's extended chambers. As a result, the weapon can fire a wider range of ordnance, and is more suitable for use in peacekeeping and riot control operations. The Mk 1L also incorporates all the improvements found in the Mk 1S.
- Colombia: Designated RBG-6.
- Croatia: Designated RBG-6.
- South Africa: In service with the South African Army.
- Sweden: In limited use by the Försvarsmakten, known as Granatkast Gevär 90.
- United States: Employed by the United States Marine Corps as the M32 MGL.