Improvised grenade launching attachment for HMGs in Syria


A video posted to social media on 25 November 2016 shows Shi’a militia fighters making use of what appears to be an improvised grenade launching device attached to the muzzle of a DShKM type heavy machine gun (HMG) whilst engaging Islamic State militants near Deir ez-Zor airport in Syria. The device appears to be a scaled up version of cup-type launchers use to propel grenades from rifles or shotguns. These smaller devices have been manufactured for military and law enforcement use in the past, and improvised examples of these have been documented in a variety of conflict zones, including Syria.

The examples seen in Syria have been used with different conventional and improvised munitions, propelled by a blank cartridge. These are often ball (FMJ) or other common cartridge types modified by removing the projectile and crimping the case neck. In some cases, powder loads have been adjusted. The re-purposing of a HMG and its ammunition offers a considerable range advantage over the smaller designs, and may offer improved reliability over some improvised mortar designs. The munition in this case appears to be of a relatively substantial size, which is likely to offer enhanced lethality.


Remember, all arms and munitions are dangerous. Treat all firearms as if they are loaded, and all munitions as if they are live, until you have personally confirmed otherwise. If you do not have specialist knowledge, never assume that arms or munitions are safe to handle until they have been inspected by a subject matter specialist. You should not approach, handle, move, operate, or modify arms and munitions unless explicitly trained to do so. If you encounter any unexploded ordnance (UXO) or explosive remnants of war (ERW), always remember the ‘ARMS’ acronym:

AVOID the area
RECORD all relevant information
MARK the area from a safe distance to warn others
SEEK assistance from the relevant authorities