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SOLD! $5000! US M203 Grenade Launcher Cutaway Award Display

Updated: Mar 17

Mounted cutaway grenade launcher

Type Designator/Model: M203. Cal./Size: The launcher is 15"L and 4.5"H Color: Gray with yellow highlights. Manufacturer: Aircraft Armament Industries, Inc. Country of Origin: United States. Cutaway: Yes.

This was a service award given to Irwin (Win) Barr (1920-2005), the iconic inventor/ developer of the M203 launcher at AAI. The cutaway launcher is mounted on a 16.5" x 5 ¾-inch wooden platform. The cutaway portion shows the working mechanism of the weapon, but the moveable parts have been epoxied in place so it does not function. Declared legal to own by the BATF. There is an additional plate, but there is no indication that it was mounted on this specimen. It reads “LAUNCHER, GRENADE 40 MM, M203; PRESENTED TO WIN BARR BY THE MECHANICAL DIVISION OF A.A.I. CORPORATION IN RECOGNITION OF HIS ORIGINALITY AND LEADERSHIP DISPLAYED IN

DEVELOPING THIS WEAPON FOR THE U.S. ARMED FORCES.” There is one very small part that may have come off this cutaway display award and is included. This is extraordinarily rare and historical.


This sold for over $5000 in the March 16, 2024, Jim Geibel Ordnance Auction.


The M203 Grenade Launcher and Irwin Barr

The M203 Launcher:

  • The M203 is a 40mm grenade launcher primarily used by the U.S. military. It’s designed to be mounted under the barrel of various rifles, such as the M16 and M4 carbine. The launcher allows soldiers to fire explosive grenades at targets beyond the range of their rifles.

  • Its compact design and versatility have made it a staple in combat scenarios, providing infantry with an effective tool for engaging both close and distant targets.

Irwin “Win” Barr:

  • Irwin Barr, born in 1920, was an inventor and developer who played a pivotal role in the creation of the M203.

  • His innovative thinking and leadership were instrumental in developing this weapon system, which significantly enhanced the capabilities of U.S. armed forces.

The Cutaway Display Award:

  • The cutaway M203 launcher is a remarkable piece. Here are some key details:

  • Size and Mounting: The launcher is mounted on a 16.5" x 5 ¾-inch wooden platform. Its cutaway portion reveals the inner workings of the weapon.

  • Non-Functioning: While the movable parts have been epoxied in place, rendering it non-functional, the cutaway design allows viewers to understand the mechanics.

  • Legal Ownership: The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATF) has declared it legally permissible to own.

  • Inscription: The accompanying plate reads: “LAUNCHER, GRENADE 40 MM, M203; PRESENTED TO WIN BARR BY THE MECHANICAL DIVISION OF A.A.I. CORPORATION IN RECOGNITION OF HIS ORIGINALITY AND LEADERSHIP DISPLAYED IN DEVELOPING THIS WEAPON FOR THE U.S. ARMED FORCES.”

  • Historical Significance: This award represents not only Barr’s contributions but also the collaborative efforts of those involved in advancing military technology.

Extraordinarily Rare:

  • The rarity of this cutaway display lies in its unique combination of historical context, craftsmanship, and the tribute to Irwin Barr.

  • Owning such a piece connects us directly to the evolution of military weaponry and the brilliant minds behind it.

This M203 cutaway display serves as a tangible link to the past—a testament to innovation, leadership, and the impact of individuals like Irwin Barr on the defense industry. Truly a collector’s gem! 🌟🔍




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