Buying Guide: Airsoft Launchers and Hand Grenades

Buying Guide: Airsoft Launchers and Hand Grenades

There are a wide variety of Airsoft Grenade launchers available to the skirmisher, either for stand-alone use or for mounting to your primary weapon, be it an AEG, GBBR or even a pistol! In this article we take you through the options, their capabilities on the skirmish field and clarify some frequently asked questions with regards to mounting, maintaining and tactical use of these Airsoft Grenade launchers and Hand Grenades.

Mini Launcher

The Airsoft Mini Launcher operates on similar principles to the MOSCART launcher, but the majority of them do not use shells, instead, the launcher basically is the shell, with a trigger added. These launchers do not provide quite the same level of firepower as the average MOSCART shell, but they are intended to provide grenade launcher capability to Airsoft rifles and pistols which are too small to mount a conventional MOSCART grenade launcher. This allows you to run a lightweight CQB optimized loadout, with a shorty primary weapon or possibly even a handgun primary and still surprise the enemy with a sudden burst of fire, keeping heads down or providing last-ditch defense when surrounded. It cannot be overstated how effective this can be, a surprise bloop from a mini launcher can take out multiple enemies and break the deadlock of a CQB standoff,  allowing you to re-take control of the game if you find yourself cornered and on the back foot. Whilst these launchers are generally integral and it is unlikely you will be able to reload your Airsoft Mini Launcher mid-game, they are so small and light you can attach several if you can deal with the dirty looks and raised eyebrows you will get from Milsimmers! There is no equivalent to the Mini Launcher in the real world but fortunately many manufacturers go out of their way to make their mini launchers look like tacticool real-world accessories, such as PEQ boxes and tactical lights, meaning at a glance your Airsoft pistol or rifle will still look like the real deal whilst packing some serious additional firepower!

40mm MOSCART Launcher

The Airsoft 40mm launchers, for the most part, do not function like the noob tubes you have probably used in video games. They are definitely not something you immediately shoot in the general direction of the enemy in a high arc 2 seconds into the game(feel free to do this if you are on the opposite team to me though)! These are for up close and personal work, within 15 meters and excel when used to clear a small room, corridor or trench. These grenades are all seriously powerful and can be quite dangerous up close, so do be considerate when using them in an Airsoft Skirmish as they can easily cause injury at point-blank range, like any Airsoft gun, only up to 204 times worse! 

These launchers require MOSCART type shells to function. Available in multiple lengths and capable of firing many different types of projectile, the variety in payload for a MOSCART launcher is almost as wide as the selection of grenades available! Skirmishers have been known to load these with small nerf style rockets to use on in-game vehicles (always as the site owners/staff if you intend to use anything other than BBs in your launcher), paintballs and clusters of BBs wrapped in kitchen roll in an attempt to extend the range of the launcher. Its primary ammo is BBs of course, of which even the smallest MOSCART shells available can fire 60+ BBs with a single pull of the trigger, with the maximum I have seen being a monumental 204 rounds! That's two full midcaps dumped in less than a second! And that is if you're only carrying one grenade! The major perk of a MOSCART launcher over the lower capacity but lighter and more compact Mini Launchers is the fact that they can be reloaded mid-game and you are only limited on firepower by the number of grenades you can carry! This opens up all kinds of opportunities to use your launcher to its strengths by carrying different kinds of grenades for different situations and uses, improving your flexibility on the skirmish field. 40mm MOSCART shells use either green gas or CO2 in an internal reservoir, and each use vents the entire gas load, meaning you don't just get a bb shower but also a huge bang and a dramatic cloud of gas following the BBs out. Firing one of these is a true pleasure, being on the receiving end, not so much!

Rifle Mounted/ Underslung Launchers

The big boys, the og "noob tube", the rifle mounted MOSCART launcher is essentially a tube with a trigger that mounts to your Airsoft AEG or GBB rifle's handguard and adds a serious amount of game-changing firepower on the rifle and ready for that critical moment when it is needed.  Most rifle-mounted MOSCART launchers are mounted to Picatinny rail and can be attached to any AEG or GBBR with a 20mm railed handguard. Others, such as M203 based launchers provide two options for mounting, either directly to an AR15 barrel (you will need a handguard with a removable lower section for this) or mounted to a Picatinny rail on any rifle. AG36 type launchers include a specific handguard that replaces the handguard of G36K and G36E variants, and the SCAR EGLM mounts to the SCAR-L and SCAR-H 6 o'clock Picatinny rail and around the magazine well. These launchers turn your gun into two guns with two roles, granting the user ultimate flexibility and the ability to take out multiple enemies with a single trigger pull. The advantage of the rifle-mounted launcher is clear, you can fire both at the same time, or use your launcher during a risky rifle reload, or quickly blast the enemy when you come upon a horde of them during a flanking maneuver. It also transforms the looks of your rifle, changing it from the virgin carbine to the chad Assault Rifle with UGL!

Stand Alone Launchers

Designed for use as a secondary weapon, the stand-alone launcher is similar to a rifle-mounted launcher but provides an integrated stock and/or pistol grip and sights. Often Rifle mounted launchers can be operated as stand-alone launchers, either by purchasing a stand-alone kit for the specific launcher or with a bit of custom work. The advantage of a stand-alone launcher is that you do not have to compromise your lightweight setup by adding mass to the front end, you can switch to your launcher when the time is right without having to make your primary weapon heavier. You won't be shooting your launcher all the time so if you already struggle with the weight of your AEG or GBB rifle a stand-alone launcher might be the best choice for you. Some launchers, such as the ARES M320 include the ability to use the launcher either Picatinny mounted or as a stand-alone weapon with the included stock which is a nifty feature enabling you to switch to stand-alone if your arms get tired. Others, such as the ASG GL-06 have been designed from the ground up to be a stand-alone launcher and as such have a smaller profile and ergonomics which suit a stand-alone weapon, such as top loading and an improved stock when compared to rifle mounted launchers adapted for stand-alone use. The only disadvantage of the stand-alone launcher is the additional weight of the stand-alone parts when the full loadout weight is concerned, however, this will be barely noticeable compared to the difference a rifle-mounted launcher makes to the weight of the front of an Airsoft AEG or GBB rifle.

TAGinn Launcher

This actually is a noob tube, and functions like one too. Unlike the MOSCART style of grenade/launcher, the TAGinn launcher type uses CO2 housed inside the launcher itself via a CO2 bulb. The shells are literally just shells containing the projectile of choice, which is launched down the rifled barrel; just like a real 40mm grenade launcher! With a maximum range of 130 meters, this is definitely a launcher designed purely for use in outdoor skirmishes, and on larger Skirmish sites at that! Offering as much variety as a MOSCART launcher but with different options previously unheard of, you can load your TAGinn Launcher with "Buckshot"(bbs), SABOT Slugs, Impact Grenades, Timed Grenades, Paint Grenades, Smoke Grenades and a Solid Slug for target practice and training. These launchers may be restricted at some Airsoft sites due to their complex operation and high power and they require the utmost responsibility and consideration to use safely. Very well suited to large Milsim events using vehicles, this launcher would be an absolute asset at such events, with the range advantage being essential to clearing out enemy sniper and machinegun positions to clear the way for your squad to achieve its objectives. 

Hand Grenades

If a launcher doesn't suit your loadout then have no fear, re-usable Airsoft hand grenades are real and they are real awesome too! Available in both projectile and light and sound forms, these grenades largely function the same in game, depending on the Skirmish site you attends' rules. 


Projectile launching Airsoft hand grenades are similar in principle to Airsoft 40mm MOSCART shells but instead of using a "primer" style valve release they rely on an internal weight to detect when the Grenade has hit a hard surface and trigger the release of the gas, provided the safety pin has been pulled. The gas release causes the grenade to eject BBs in all directions, spinning as it does, with a loud "bang" from the detonation. The majority of these grenades use an impact "fuse", meaning once the pin is out you do not want to drop that spicy pineapple! The tactical function of these grenades is clear, although most sites will not allow you to throw them, they can be slid across the floor or rolled around a corner to clean out an enemy squad with a good defensive position. The main thing to remember with these grenades is that they are re-usable, and to consider that before throwing your tacticool black or olive green grenade in the woods. This is why many people add brightly coloured tape or spray paint to their grenades, or purchase the ones in brighter colours. 

Light and Sound

Airsoft light and sound grenades are a relatively recent innovation. With a similar role to Projectile Grenades, these death cylinders operate using battery power and emit a loud alarm sound and a blinding flash, with approximately 5 seconds of delay between the release of the spoon and detonation. Ideal for CQB skirmishes wherein the flash function comes into its own, providing cover for your team to enter the room to be breached and taking out any enemies holed up inside. The T238 Grenade also features a handy "find me" function, enabling you to locate your used grenade amidst the mayhem of the skirmish.