XM25 Punisher Grenade Gun

Story on Military.com today: ‘Punisher’ Gives Enemy No Place to Hide

By all accounts, the futuristic XM-25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement System has been quite a rude surprise for the bad guys.

“I don’t know what we’re eventually going to call this product, but it seems to be game changing,” said the commander of the Army’s Program Executive Office Soldier, Brig. Gen. Peter Fuller, during a Feb. 2 briefing with reporters at the Pentagon. “You no longer can shoot at American forces and hide behind something. We’re going to reach out and touch you.”

After years of XM-25 development, last fall the 101st Airborne submitted an urgent request to field the weapon for troops on patrol in Afghanistan. In response the Army took the five weapons it had been testing at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md., added 1,000 hand-made explosive rounds and shipped them to the war zone in October of 2010.

The claim is that the five prototypes have had no maintenance issues but that one outstanding issue is the rechargeable battery power supply.

The ammo is currently running $1,000 per round (yes, you read that right) but claims are that it could drop to $35 per round if/when mass production starts. The Army wants to buy 36 more XM35s, but it’s uncertain whether they’ll get them and it will take up to a year to get them into the field.

If the thing really works as well as they’re claiming, they’d better find a way to speed that up.

A Soldier aims an XM25 weapon system at Aberdeen Test Center, Md.

A Soldier aims an XM25 weapon system at Aberdeen Test Center, Md.


  1. Why does this seem to cost more than twice the Daewoo K11 per rifle? Our procurement system is truly screwed.

  2. Now wonder the Defense budget is high. $1000 a round ?

    How about we build some light weight miniuns and spew out 5.56mm rounds. Im sure we could shoot a few for $1000

    I think some of our weapons are getting too high tech and expensive. I would rather see them shooting a ton of cheap 40mm grenades than a single $1000 round

    1. How about we send over a bunch of Auto Assault-12 Full-Auto Shotguns with High-Explosive Rounds? We can put the rest towards the deficit.

  3. The costs for the 20mm round of the OICW in the late 90s began at $25,000 each. After there was some consternation expressed, the Army lowered the estimated cost a bit, to $30 per round, in the near future (c.2000).


  4. $1000/round seems expensive, but how many has the Army committed to buying right now? Hundreds? A couple thousand total? I’m a mechanical engineer at a small-ish electronics company. The current project I’m working on started out using low-volume parts and the per-unit costs are a couple hundred dollars and once we get production molds and dies up and running, it’ll drop to distinctly under $100 per unit. Granted, that required six figures of capital investment and months of development work with our vendors even after the design was “final”, and we’re not making anything that needs to survive being shot out of a gun and keep track of where it is to less than a couple feet.

    Smartphones cost a few hundred dollars, unsubsidized and they break after being dropped a few feet onto concrete. Methinks they wouldn’t do well fired from a gun.

    Making one of something is expensive. Once you make millions it gets pretty cheap.

    1. The article says they are bringing 1,000 rounds. 1,000 x $1,000 = $1,000,000. Pretty soon we’ll be talking real money.

  5. The article also says they are hand built rounds, which means they are going to cost a hell of a lot more than ones off of an automated assembly line. I can see, if the Army were to commit to the weapon system and place an order for millions of these rounds, they would build the plant, set up the machinery and robotics to make the ammo, and the per round price would drop to a hundred or two hundred bucks, all startup costs included. Maybe less.

    How much do 40mm rounds, the type for the Mark 19 run? This is a lot more of an advanced munition, so I would think it would run two to four times as much, for the electronics and fine engineering and whatnot.

    Also, being a precision munition, you (in theory) wouldn’t need to shoot a whole box of them to do the job. Economy of force can have regular economic benefits too.

    Just playing devil’s advocate.

    1. Yeah, but how much did it cost to drops the first couple of 500-pound bombs ever? The $1000/shot number is a developmental number.

      Not saying that it’s necessarily going to be cost-effective, but don’t lock on to that $1000 cost.

  6. Why the hell does this project still exist? Have the (Br)asshats forgotten the XM29 OICW Debacle THAT quickly?

    Let’s recall a few of the hard-learned facts from the OICW Debacle;
    * The 20mm gun was designed to fire an explosive round on a flat trajectory, and this requires light ammunition, a low velocity, and a weak propellant charge; the inescapable result is that the shells have poor payload, poor accuracy, short range, and extreme ballistic sensitivity to harsh weather conditions.
    * Because the 20mm shells are so small and light, and because they contain large quantities of sensors and circuitry, very little of their weight is in their warheads — meaning, they don’t produce much of an explosion.
    * Because the 20mm shells have a flat trajectory, they cannot be lobbed over vertical obstacles to hit foes far beyond, like the 40mm grenades they were supposed to replace.
    * While 40mm grenades cost just $8 per shot, the OICW’s 20mm shells cost more than $150. EACH.
    * Though OICW supporters claim that the 20mm shells are half the weight and size of 40mm grenades, allowing soldiers to carry twice as many of them, they neglect to mention that the 20mm round has less than 1/4 of the 40mm grenade’s explosive filler.
    * The US Army’s own live-fire tests have proven the XM-29’s 20mm shell to be ineffective.
    * The 20mm shells were designed to defeat PASGT armored vests, which will be obsolete by at least 2 generations upon the XM-29’s entry into service.

    Adding an extra 5mm to the round’s diameter is a WORTHLESS gesture, because it *still* doesn’t add enough space inside the shell to carry a heavy-enough warhead to be effective. The French Army did a study on the issue, and determined that the smallest sensor-fuzed grenade that could possibly carry an effective warhead would be a 35mm round.
    That’s exactly what they developed in response to the study, as part of the PAPOP Program, and it STILL didn’t deliver performance good enough to keep PAPOP from being canceled.

    1. You were going great till the French study part. That said, yes the 20mm sucked, but let’s give the 25mm a try. I hear that a Bradley 25mm disabled a M1 with a lucky hit. In any event you are not going to get a 40mm man portable to have the range of this thing. Of course upgrading a M19 with kind of tech would be great idea.

      1. The Bushmaster M242 is a completely different class of weapon; an Autocannon. It throws a heavier projectile at several-times the velocity of the XM25. Likewise, the TT-33 pistol and the AK-47 are both 7.62mm firearms, but there’s a huge difference in firepower.

        As for accurate, heavy firepower at a long range , that’s what Anti-Material Rifles are for; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXLRYf9EV2Y

        The size and recoil of this sort of weapon are completely unavoidable, if you want to be able to accurately hit a hard target or group of soft targets at a distance, and STILL have a warhead mass large enough to destroy them. Building carbines that shoot tiny, sensor-fuzed quasi-grenades is not a solution — it’s wishful thinking, tempting a collision between fantasy and reality in battle.

        On a side-note, the M242 was designed with suppressive fire and anti-Light Armor capability in mind — not tank-busting. An occasional lucky shot against a tank with a single M919 APFSDS doesn’t make the M242 any more effective an anti-tank weapon than the M9A1 Bazooka was in World War 2 (which also *occasionally* knocked out tanks after many successive rounds were poured onto each target).

      2. Why would a Bradley shoot at an M1?

        Marine LAV25’s engaged T-62’s with thier Bushmasters in Desert Storm battles. The 25mm didn’t penetrate sloped frontal armor. They did set fire to the spare fuel tanks and did enough damage to scare them off on several occassions.

        Against APC’s / BMP’s the 25mm tore them apart.

    2. Adding an extra 5mm to the round’s diameter is a WORTHLESS gesture, because it *still* doesn’t add enough space inside the shell to carry a heavy-enough warhead to be effective.

      This has been my concern, and I seem to recall grumbling about the lethality of the 25mm round back in earlier development. haven’t heard much about that in the past couple of years, though. This worry about lack of “punch” is why I’ve not been beating the XM25 drum too loudly.

      However, a 20mm to 25mm diameter is a 56% gain in volume, so it’s not an insignificant increase. Maybe not enough to make a difference, though, if the 20mm were really that weak.

      I will commend them for finally getting some to the field and seeing how they perform in the real world, even if against lightweight unarmored targets. If they work well enough that the troops like them (not positive PR campaigns but they actually like them) I can buy it.

      1. Huh?
        There were two projects: the Objective Individual Combat Weapon which had a 20mm grenade launcher, and the Objective Crew-Served Weapon which was a 25mm grenade launcher (to replace the M19 40mm AGL). After a couple years of development, someone with senior officer powers noticed that there were similarities between the two grenade programs, and managed to get them combined. The XM25 is the result of that decision, though after the decomposition of the OICW in two projects.

        1. The XM25 uses 25x40mm ammunition, not 25x59mm like the XM307, right? Looking online gives mixed results.

          I thought they used different ammo.

    3. Something is going on. The South Korean military is very pragmatic about acquiring the proper weapons to defend themselves from the massive army to their north. They made their own working version of the OICW – the Daewoo K11 – put it into production and are deploying it to combat units.

      Are the Koreans wrong or the U.S. Army brass? I know who I would bet on.

  7. geez! lots of whiners here. Gun-nuts demand a higher caliber weapon for the troops; and when they get it, they can’t stop complaining. /satire

    (yeah good points yall, but still…)

  8. Honestly, if the reports from combat testing are good I don’t see any reason to complain. Expensive? Yes, but the price of mass producing that ammo will go down and it’s hardly as expensive as many of the other things in inventory.

    Besides only 2 guys per (9-man) squad will have these anyway.

    1. Agreed. I’m less interested in studies and more interested in real world results and troops’ opinions after using it in combat.

      Those reports can be spun, though, so this press conference of good results isn’t a guarantee.

      1. In the past I haven’t seen much use for a dedicated PDW type weapon. However something like the MP7 for the guy with the XM25 as his primary weapon seems pretty good.

  9. Soldiers were fine carrying just the M79 with a platoon or even squad sized patrol in Vietnam. Enough shooters around and buckshot or flechette rounds for personal protection. The grenadiers could carry more ammo that way than the do-it-all M203. The shortfall was the single-shot design.

    Other soldiers ought to be hiding behind the guy with the semi-auto 25mm shotgun in a close-range firefight.

  10. Maybe I’m wrong, but isn’t one of the “killer” features of this ammo that it always blasts from the top down? That’s the whole “counter defilade” thing.

    And that basically mitigates concerns about body armor.

    With a regular grenade, except for one in a million lucky timing cases, the frags come at the target from slightly below horizontal. So flack jackets and body armor are still pretty effective unless it’s close to a direct hit.

    But if the frags are coming in vertically, they only have to penetrate helmets or lightly armored neck/shoulder areas. So there is a much larger effective area.

    1. No:
      1. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/munitions/images/m29-oicw_projectile3.gif
      2. http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_sWDo0ppyX-8/TPWClE5SGnI/AAAAAAAAAj8/ODEPYGcmqFk/s1600/xm307-25mm.gif

      For what it’s worth, the fuze on the grenade has three functions. One is the safety which explode the warhead if it misses the target. Two is a contact mode which initiates on contact; there is a secondary setting with a delay after contact. Three is a time fuze. The fuze is set either immediately after firing, while the shell is entering the barrel throat, or at the muzzle on exit. The sight/computer box issues the requisite instructions on which fuze setting and how long based, on the shooter’s menu choices.


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