Grenade launcher attachments

Queries have been received about the legal status of grenade launcher attachments, one to a K98 Mauser rifle owned by a Second World War re-enactor and the other acquired by a museum and then seized by H.M. Customs. These are cup-like devices that attach to the barrel of the rifle so that a grenade can be launched from the rifle by the power of a blank round.

Grenade launchers would be subject to section 5(1A)(c) of the Firearms Act 1968 (as amended) as a launcher designed for firing an unstabilised exploding missile. While the launcher attachment itself would be a (section 1) component part, when it is attached to the rifle it would become a prohibited weapon.

It is unlikely that any grenades can be found for this launcher and the risk to public safety is minimal.

We suggest that the owner of a grenade launcher may wish to get it de-activated; there is a Home Office standard for rocket launchers, mortars etc, and the work needed on an attachment of this type would be very limited. This is what we have advised the police to suggest to the two owners of these, and there is no suggestion that anyone is going to be prosecuted.

We would not be surprised if these items are regarded by some collectors and dealers as accessories, however, they are unusual items and this cannot be a common problem.

This is a précis of a fax received by our Secretary on 18/2/00 from the Home Office