M320 holsterNatick Soldier Systems Center is developing a holster for the detachable M320 grenade launcher that could be fielded as soon as next year.

The detachable M320 was introduced in 2009. It came with a sling for carry when it is not mounted to the M4 carbine or M16 rifle. Soldiers complained that the sling originally designed for the stand alone launcher caused the weapon to be too often drug through the dirt and “pounded on,” said Darren Bean, an equipment specialist with Product Manager Soldier Clothing and Individual Equipment.

Army officials heard the feedback and stood up the M320GL Holster Soldier Enhancement Program in November 2012.

Natick has since selected three commercial holsters that were first sent to soldiers in May with the 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, Ga., to complete a standardized set of tests. The Army release did not list the vendors and Natick did not immediately respond to a request for the vendor’s names.

One of the holsters has pockets for grenades but is described as bulky; another is more “streamlined”; and the third is a “cross between the two,” according to an Army statement on the three.

The initial feedback from the Rangers didn’t set one of the holsters apart from the other competitors, Bean said in a statement. The testing was more intended to determine if the Army should buy more of the holsters for more extensive testing, he said.

The next round of testing will be done by soldiers in Afghanistan, the 10th Mountain Division and the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. Officials from the Consumer Research Team with Natick will collect data before Natick issues a recommendation to the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning in 2014.

“I think the end state of this will be that they will say, ‘Yes, we need a grenade launcher holster for this when we use it in the stand-alone mode,’” Bean said in a statement.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Lance July 25, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Thats a wepon I want to see quick drawn from the holster LOL joke.

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Joshua July 26, 2013 at 3:08 am

This is a good thing, the M320 is an amazing stand alone launcher but a POS when it comes to weapon mounted.

Hopefully this means the Army will move away from the weapon mounted solution and instead make these strictly stand alone.

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JCitizen July 25, 2013 at 2:30 pm

I assume the "bulky" one accommodates the laser?

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Ivan July 25, 2013 at 2:39 pm

When I was in the Army it didn't take long for everyone to develop a negative opinion of the M320. It might make you look like a X-Men character from the comics with their big futuristic handguns but who wants that? Nobody. It's bulky, makes your weapon a little more front heavy, and nobody really wants it. Ambidextrous? Ok, I fire left handed and did not have an issue with the M230. Even so they could have stuck closer to the original while making it ambidextrous.

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George July 25, 2013 at 3:26 pm

It needs a top mount for an Eotech for using gas and less lethal. Find out a way to contact me.

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kyle July 25, 2013 at 4:02 pm

We will buy anything HK comes out with even if it is bulky and ridiculously expensive.

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ms6 July 25, 2013 at 5:17 pm

That's right bubba, I test holsters.

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DocRob July 25, 2013 at 11:10 pm

How about you test a scalable plate carrier that doesnt suck

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ED2 July 29, 2013 at 5:58 pm

Amen…amen.

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kettenhund August 1, 2013 at 12:33 pm

The 16/203 combo was a pig, useable, but still a pig. Was wishing the whole time they'd resurrect the m79. Keep it simple, stupid.

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wolf August 2, 2013 at 12:09 pm

or just mount the m203 to a broom handle w/ a buttstock. throw a sling on that bad boy and you're rocking a stand alone m203…

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