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300px-HK69A1

The HK69A1 of the German Army, with stock partially extended.

The HK69A1 is a 40mm grenade launcher developed and produced by the German arms manufacturer Heckler & Koch.  The weapon was designed to engage enemy troops and strongpoints out to a distance of 350 m; it can also be used to deploy smoke grenades and illumination flares.

DevelopmentEdit

The launcher's history dated back to the late 1960s, when development began of a weapon intended to be fitted under the barrel of the 7.62mm G3A3 rifle.  In 1972 the prototype was unveiled of what would ultimately become the Granatepistole HK69.  After being evaluated, the decision was made to develop an autonomous stand-alone version of the grenade launcher, which was created in 1979 and designated the HK69A1.  In the 1980s the weapon was adopted into service with the German Army as the Granatepistole 40 mm (known also in the abbreviated form GraPi).  It is also used by the special forces and security personnel of several other countries.

Design detailsEdit

The grenade launcher is a single-shot, shoulder-fired, breech-loaded weapon that fires a projectile using the High-Low System.  The main component is the frame that contains and integrates all of the weapon's mechanisms and assemblies.  The weapon features a rifled barrel, which is hinged at the front and tilted upward ("break action") for loading and removing spent shell casings.  The barrel in the "combat ready" position locks into the frame with a rotary latch, mounted at the rear of the frame.  The grenade launcher does not have an extractor; instead notches were cut into the base of the barrel that enable the operator to remove spent shell casing manually.

The HK69A1 has a single action firing mechanism with an exposed hammer that is cocked manually with the thumb after loading a round.  A manual safety secures against accidental firing; the safety is ambidextrious and provides a lever on both sides of the frame, above the trigger.

The grenade launcher is aimed using iron sights that consist of a front post (adjustable for elevation) and a rear sight that has a flip-up dual aperture for short-range engagements (50 and 100 m settings) and a folding type ladder sight for long distance firing, that is folded down and over the barrel when stowed.  The weapon has a synthetic pistol grip, a lightweight telescopic metal stock with a rubber shoulder pad and sling wivels for use with a sling.  The grenade launcher is typically carried in a thigh holster.

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