Automatic Weapons And Grenade Launcher Seized In Seattle

Oh wait… never mind, just a couple AR-15s and a 37mm flare launcher *facepalm*:

Source – KING5

Seattle Police said they recovered a grenade launcher and automatic weapons in their Thursday night raid of a house in Eastlake. Officers found two AR-15 assault rifles, one of which was equipped with a military style grenade launcher.

Good work guys… *slow clap* I know i’ll sleep better tonight knowing a recreational firework launcher is off the streets.

Blog reader Sean D. took it upon himself to deliver an email smackdown to reporter Jim Forman from KING5 news.  Here it is:


I’ve already dinged the SPD officer quoted in the KOMO 4 News article over this, and you should have seen my twitter messages by now.

A Havoc Flare Launcher looks like this:

An M203 Grenade Launcher looks like this:

And an M320 (Derived from the German AG36 system) looks like this:

Allow me to direct your attention to the designs of the Havoc and the M203. Notice that the Havoc appears to be milled from solid metal, and has larger concave grooves. The trigger guard and assembly on the Havoc are much more cleaner, sharper and more aesthetically pleasing. The M203 appears to have been assembled from sheet metal stock, rather than milled. It has convex grips attached to a single tube, and the trigger assembly and guard are more cramped, and the assembly has a different shape compared to the box-like Havoc model.

The weapon shown in the photographs of your news article just has the tube itself removed. In the hands of a felon, that renders the “launcher” inoperable at best, and inaccurate as a drunken swallow at worst. The firing mechanisms are also vastly different. The M203 is being replaced by the M320 in the U.S. armed forces, and they are likely scrapping the M203 materiel in order to make it impossible for them to be procured in the civilian market. On top of that, since both GLs are 40mm, all ammunition is compatible with the M320 and the M203.

This means the U.S. Military is unlikely to ever sell any of the ammunition, even practice rounds, on the open market – especially when you consider the fact that our own soldiers are equipped with M320s, and are fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan in battlefields where there’s a lot of places that a normal rifle can’t shoot at. The ammunition is in constant demand over there. Let’s also not forget that it’s impossible for any serviceman or civilian to bring back to U.S. shores any live or practice ammunition for grenade launchers – the TSA will see to that.

And to reiterate my last message on twitter: What dumbass in the U.S. Military sells a functional grenade launcher?

The simple, short answer is: One who wants to get thrown into the brig. The military would know within weeks, if not days, when a launcher goes missing.

So overall, any and all news organizations that reported the facts of that Seattle raid without actually doing their research, have lost a great deal of credibility – along with the SPD. The fact that the SPD has ex-military in their ranks, and still can’t properly differentiate between a flare launcher and a grenade launcher, is just another nail to their credibility and trustworthiness. The whole DoJ fiasco isn’t helping their case either.

In fact, I would have loved to be a fly on the wall in the room when the felon and the seller met for the sale of this particular firearm. Chances are pretty good the felon thought he was getting the real deal.

And some commentary Sean also wrote for us:

To the best of my knowledge, the U.S. Military and the manufacturers of the M203 has never changed the outward appearance of the grenade launcher since 1969. Not even once. So the fact that the SPD has called this underslung Havoc 37mm a “Grenade Launcher” is idiotic and manipulative at worst, and a honest mistake on the part of their officers at best.

Those who have been following the news on the Seattle Police Department are aware that the department has been under review by the Department of Justice, and are presently undergoing some kind of reform – at least, that is my hope – in order to address the issues surrounding the department. Those issues are unrelated to this article in general, but it doesn’t help save them from the growing public perception that a sizable chunk of the SPD is suffering from some form of incompetence – be it professional, social, or simply lacking in common sense.

Then again, we all know that the ATF are also fairly zealous regarding firearms enforcement – it’s possible that someone from the ATF working with the SPD misidentified the flare launcher, and it was taken as fact from that point forward. Hilariously enough, the ATF does not classify flare launchers at all, while Grenade Launchers are Class III to the best of my knowledge.

Either way, it doesn’t excuse the mis-characterization of a perfectly street-legal product as a criminal weapon.

Additional comment from myself:

Someone made a quip on facebook that ENDO is now “anti-LEO”.  And to that I say first of all “troll harder”… and second of all ENDO is “anti-not-doing-the-job-you’re-getting-paid-to-do-properly”  I don’t care if you pump gas, or protect the mean streets… if you’re not interested in doing your job properly please quit and let someone take your place.  If you think your taxes are well spent letting police raid homes and then accusing people (a felon apparently in this case) of having OMG ILLEGAL GRENADE LAUNCHERS then i’d have to disagree with you.  How do we even know this guy was a felon?  I honestly don’t even trust a single thing the media reports anymore.

This isn’t the first time a big deal has been made of a flare launcher.  Some of you might remember the ABC news debacle, where they said they could just go online and buy a grenade launcher like it was no big deal.  Of course they were wrong, and blew everything out of proportion as usual.


Hat tip: Sean



dave w April 22, 2012 at 01:27 am

I’m pretty sure i have seen james bond style grenade launching pens somewhere if thats the case.
D’oh seattle, go back to drinking crushed bug lattes you hippies


NBJM April 22, 2012 at 01:52 am

I used to work for a TV station, and I could not believe how many times they changed the names of guns in reports to make it sound better….an SKS became a “Russian AK47 Assault rifle”, an AR15 became a “Military M16”. Any pistol was either a “Glock” or a “Saturday night special”. Hollow points where “Only designed to kill”.
It drove me nuts!
Even when I offered to correct some of the incorrect facts, and the fact I was able to identify almost every firearm that was shown in the raw video or police reports.

But “NO” they told me that it didn’t sound as good on air.

I don’t work there any more, and my stress level are much better for it!


ENDO-Mike April 23, 2012 at 03:26 pm

wow that’s incredible. I just thought 99% of the time they were too lazy to do proper research, and no one there knew the answer so they just went with the default “AK47 or hollow points etc..”, I never thought they would just flat out admit they would rather not use the correct terms because they didn’t sound as dramatic.


Kommac April 22, 2012 at 02:00 am

Those are two of the butt ugliest ARs I have ever seen. Damn whoever tainted the market with those pitiful excuses for firearms.


Kommac April 22, 2012 at 02:05 am

Top one looks like a police Colt 6520.


The Juno April 22, 2012 at 11:51 am

I still work in the media (newspapers).

It’s easy to take the potshot at the media here, but a little fairness goes a long way. Jim Forman (whom I’ve not met) might have no idea what models of grenade launchers are out there and what they look like. He probably has seen plenty in news photos, but how often are they labeled?

More likely, he probably didn’t see the photos until they were released by the police later that night, and by then he’s already filed his story.

The biggest thing here, though, is a matter of authority: If I’m a reporter on deadline and I see some guy I don’t know tell me SPD is full of malarkey when it comes to this supposed “grenade launcher,” who am I going to trust? The crank, or the police department, who knows a hell of a lot more about guns than I do?

No question, KING5 has/had enough time for a correction. But that correction first involves calling SPD and getting them to confirm that yes, it’s just a flare launcher, not a grenade launcher. SPD has to be willing to make that statement, which might be something they’d like to avoid (save that face). “After all,” they might say, “it could be capable of firing a grenade.”

TV news is TV news, so I won’t defend the sensationalization of it all. NBJM knows how that goes, I’m sure.

tl;dr: Sean has the right of it to blame the police more than the media.


spencer April 22, 2012 at 06:34 pm

I’m going to have to agree with TJ here. I’ve worked with enough professional types to know that You usually don’t have enough time to double check your facts. I’m not saying there shouldn’t be a correction, and I’ll admit that the police SWAT officers should have had enough experience to assume that it was 37mm. Reporters should have more gun knowledge, but you can’t hold one station/reporter accountable for an industry wide failing.

It’s possible that the Seattle Dept is using fake drama to draw attention to their SWAT team (look how great we are, give us more money), but I’ll bet its just another example of a bad information propagating more and more until someone with enough knowledge goes wtf?

I have an entirely different opinion when it comes to investigative journalism pieces. If you spend “months” working on a story your facts have got to be right (or you have no journalistic integrity).


Jessie April 22, 2012 at 04:16 pm

Anyone have a sense that many people are just horrible at their jobs?


Frank April 22, 2012 at 09:43 pm

Yes. At least homeless people are consistent.


dave w April 22, 2012 at 05:32 pm

i wanted to see if it made tv news but i slept instead.


Ed April 22, 2012 at 06:19 pm

I was thinking the other day… What’s everyone’s thoughts on the feasability of using a flare pistol for a ccw piece? I think it would be quite effective should you be able to successfully conceal it.


cc19 April 22, 2012 at 07:51 pm

Did the suspect pick those up at Walmart?


vinny April 22, 2012 at 09:20 pm

the thing that annoys me isn’t the fact that the underbarrel was misnoted, i looked and its designed to appear as a tacticool accessory. what i hate is when, as was stated earlier, they dont do fact checks. no one actually bothered to research police reports, and they just put out information that had no grounds. in that vein, i wonder how many other things they just make up on the spot… how many statistics are pulled from their asses? how many names are incorrect, or how many locations? is ANYTHING actually followed through? dont give me the, oh it has to go on the air and we dont have time to check speil… if you dont know what happened… dont report what happened…


Grudge April 23, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Watch they will turn out to be airsoft guns! LOL


AMB April 23, 2012 at 02:24 pm

This actually went down about three blocks from my house. The amount of firepower the SPD rolled out is seriously impressive. Armored trucks, armored jeeps, several unmarked SUVs… A regular caravan.

Here’s the SPD blotter entry on it:

LOVE this little bit of propaganda at the end: “Residents in the area were relieved that these felons and the guns were taken out of the neighborhood.”


dave w April 23, 2012 at 09:36 pm

OMG did you see they also had binoculars! Clearly some kind of elite sniper cell broken up here.


Church April 23, 2012 at 02:27 pm

Sean D: I take my hat off to you sir!


kbiel April 23, 2012 at 02:51 pm

We know he’s a felon because he was in possession of a grenade launcher. And even if it was not technically a grenade launcher, there’s probably a way to use a metal file to turn it into one. That probably makes it a fully automatic grenade launcher too. [/sarc]


Poppy April 23, 2012 at 03:44 pm

It’s not a joking matter dude. I heard about this one guy who filed down the trigger mechanism on his Nagant assault rifle, which made it shoot fully automatic and compatible with hollowpoint fmj cop-killer rounds!


Ted N April 23, 2012 at 06:10 pm

Current M203s should be on the A2 or A3 version. All the changes have been internal, AFAIK.


Ted N April 23, 2012 at 06:11 pm

And I bet the swat team checked the GL block for budget reasons.


JWhite April 24, 2012 at 12:39 am

Military grade.. What happened to the forward assist??


Will April 24, 2012 at 02:43 am

The AR with the launcher is a Left-Hand version. Notice no ejection port, that’s why no deflector or FA visible.



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