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China Daily Claims HK Protester Fired a “US Made” M320 Grenade Launcher at Police

A tweet by China Daily claims that a protester in HK fired a U.S.-made M320 grenade launcher at police. The video shows a protester firing what looks like an M320 grenade launcher, then sneaking back and blending into the crowd. Could this have actually happened?

First of all, the M320 grenade launcher fires 40mm grenade rounds of several different types. According to Gary’s U.S. Infantry Weapons Guide, a 40mm high-explosive grenade of the type typically fired by the M320 has a casualty radius of 130 meters and a kill radius of 5 meters. If a protester had actually fired a typical 40mm high-explosive grenade at the police, the explosion would have been massive, and it is likely that would have been multiple fatalities and perhaps dozens of people badly injured. That didn’t happen. It is possible that some other kind of round was fired; the M320 is capable of firing many different types of grenades, including non-lethal rounds. It is also possible that the “grenade launcher” was a replica, not a real M320 at all. This article in the South China Morning Post talks about the thriving market for replica weapons in HK.

Second, the M320 is manufactured by Heckler and Koch, which is a German company, not American. Some M320’s are manufactured in the U.S. for the U.S. military, but it seems very unlikely that a HK protester could get his hands on an actual U.S. military weapon, and it seems even more unlikely that any U.S. organization would provide a protester with a weapon easily recognizable as a U.S. weapon.

In summary, this claim stinks of Chinese propaganda intended to stir up anti-U.S. sentiment and to try to blame the protests on the U.S.

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