S-Thunder Polymer 40mm Launcher Pistol
S-Thunder Polymer 40mm Grenade Launcher Review by Booligan
Discuss this review HERE
S-Thunder makes a variety of 40mm shells, so it only makes sense that they have decided to manufacture a variety of 40mm launchers. This review is of their entry level model, constructed out of polymers, with a single, short barrel. They other models that they are working on have different barrel lengths, metal construction, and even a double barrel model. You can expect to see these launchers hitting store shelves soon!
I obtained this launcher directly through S-Thunder in order to test and evaluate it here on Airsoft Retreat. It should be available at S-Thunder's main retail distributors, Evike and On Target Airsoft soon. S-Thunder has indicated to me that the MSRP on this launcher should be $69.99, but as always, actual retail pricing may vary.
The S-Thunder Launcher comes well packaged in a cardboard box, lined with flexible foam to keep it safe in transit. It includes the launcher itself, and a fairly basic manual, explaining the functions of the launcher. My first impression upon handling the launcher was surprise at just how light it really is. It's a tremendous amount of firepower in a tiny little gun.
From this point, click all photos to enlarge
Everything well packed
Weight: About 0.5 lbs (!)
Length: 9" (muzzle to back of grip)
Width: Â 1.75"
As mentioned previously, this launcher being reviewed today is the all polymer model, meaning that the metal content is limited to screws and pins, however, this is a very solid little launcher. I really think that the light weight design of this model makes it a fantastic backup weapon.
Overview, left side
Overview, right side
Starting with the grip, you will notice that it is a standard M4/16 style pistol grip. The design appears to be the same as real steel ARs, so I believe you can swap it out with aftermarket grips designed for real guns. I will attempt to install a Troy Battle Ax pistol grip, to see if it is compatible. The grip is quite comfortable, however, when wearing gloves, the second finger area is a little cramped, due to the extended trigger guard.
Bottom of the grip
The next major component of this gun could best be described as the frame, which houses the fire controls, barrel hinge assembly, and gives the gun its solid feel. It has a fairly visible seam line, however, I don't think it affects the structural stability of the gun. The controls of the gun are very simple, consisting of a trigger, safety switch, and barrel lock release switch. The safety is fairly stiff, however, it can still be activated easily with your thumb. The barrel release switch is not as stiff, making it very easy to unlock the barrel, reload the shell, and fire away! Trigger stiffness is dictated by the shell that you use.
Trigger and barrel lock switch
The barrel is a front pivoting, breach loaded design. On this model, it is made of polymer, however, a metal barrel should be available on some of their other models. The overall barrel length is 4.5", but you are not limited in the overall length of your shell. If you use longer shells, they will just stick out the front of the gun, which won't really affect performance, as the short outer barrel doesn't affect accuracy in the first place.
Outer barrel pivoted open
Shot down the bore
Ledge that holds the base of the shell
The launcher operates using a very simple trigger/pin linkage, which pushes a pin into the rear of the shell to fire it. It is a simple system, which makes it less prone to failure.
Base of the breach
Overall, the externals of this launcher aren't really anything to write home about, however, you must remember that this is the most budget model that they will have available. Nicer, metal externals will be available, but at an increased cost. I don't think that the plastic construction will really negatively affect the launcher, however, time will tell in the long run.
This launcher can utilize pretty much any 40mm shell, regardless of length. The breach loading design means that you have plenty of room to slide shells of all length in, and if it's longer than the barrel, it will just stick out the front of the muzzle. I have used shells from S-Thunder, KA, Madbull, and ICS without any issues.
S-Thunder shell inserted
Muzzle of the shell
S-Thunder Long Foam Ball grenade
Like all grenade launchers, the performance is dictated by the shell that you use. The lightweight design of the shell tends to amplify the recoil of the shell, giving it a nice solid kick when you shoot it. It's just plain fun to shoot this thing!
Here is a quick video showing the proper use of the launcher:
There are a few different things that you can modify on the launcher, especially the grip. I have mounted up a .45 style grip adapter designed for a paintball gun, however it is the same design as real steel ARs, so your options are limitless.
I've found that inexpensive drop leg holsters hold this quite well:
Should be very inexpensive
One of the smallest 40mm launchers I've seen
Very lightweight, easy to carry
Breach loaded design makes it easy to load
Simple, foolproof controls
All plastic construction may turn off some users
I am very pleased with this launcher, namely because it is so incredibly compact, and it gives you impressive firepower. Add a holster for this and you will be ready to rock and roll!
Many thanks again to S-Thunder and of course, Airsoft Retreat!