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Man Injured in Grenade Accident in Walkerton

  11/11/13 Indiana Conservation Officers are investigating an incident involving a grenade launcher. Kevin Patterson (41), from Walkerton, was injured after firing a starburst grenade round from an AR-15 platform rifle.

The incident occurred at a private shooting range in the 3000 block of Plymouth-LaPorte Trail in Marshall County.

“The 37 millimeter starburst grenade is an aerial illumination round, similar to an aerial firework,” said Conservation Officer Corporal Ashlee Jackson. The grenade detonated in the launch tube under the rifle barrel.

Kevin Patterson was transported to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis for treatment of injuries to his arm.

The results of the investigation will be forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms for review.

Indiana Conservation Officers, Marshall County Sheriff’s Department, and Indiana State Police were on scene

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4 Responses to “ Man Injured in Grenade Accident in Walkerton ”

  1. Thor on November 12, 2013 at 9:38 am

    Thanks for that info Andrew,

    I guess I did not realize that they were making ‘imitation’ launchers but I should have guessed. The military look is a selling point. It is unfortunate that he apparently spent a lot money for equipment that malfunctioned.

    And let’s please be respectful and careful with ALL firearms. Appropriate training and safe use are not just boring restrictions. As this fellow noted, being boring is not always a disadvantage. Uneventful is often the desired outcome, even in just a drive to the store.

  2. Andrew on November 12, 2013 at 7:16 am

    I have done a bit more research on this and found that there is such an animal the 37mm launcher. It is incapable of firing anti-personel munitions (40mm) and thus exempt from the NFA laws. Here is an example :

    This is a legal notice I found regarding that piece:

    ***Legal Note: A 37mm launcher is exempt from NFA laws and tax stamp as long as it is used to launch flares, smoke, or gas. The launching of ANY anti-personnel munitions makes it a Destructive Device and subject to NFA laws and tax stamp.
    ATF has previously held that devices designed for expelling
    tear gas or pyrotechnic signals are not weapons and are exempt from
    the destructive device definition. However, ammunition designed to
    be used against individuals is available for these 37/38 mm
    devices. This “anti-personnel” ammunition consists of cartridges
    containing wood pellets, rubber pellets or balls, and bean bags.



    When a gas/flare gun is possessed with “anti-personnel” type
    ammunition, it clearly becomes an instrument of offensive or
    defensive combat and is capable of use as a weapon. Since these
    gas/flare guns have a bore diameter of greater than one-half inch,
    fire a projectile by the means of an explosive, and, when possessed
    with “anti-personnel” ammunition, are capable of use as weapons,
    the combination of the gas/flare gun and “anti-personnel”
    ammunition is a destructive device as defined in the GCA and NFA.
    As a result, registration as a destructive device is required. Any
    person possessing a gas/flare gun with which “anti-personnel”
    ammunition will be used must register the making of a destructive
    device prior to the acquisition of any “anti-personnel” ammunition.
    In addition, the gas/flare guns are classified as firearms as
    defined by the GCA when possessed with “anti-personnel” type

    —- SNIP

    The general consensus I read in the internet forums is that they normally make very good launchers of the material this man was using, therefore he had a run of very bad luck. It however underscores the need to be very careful and respectful with such firearms.

  3. Thor on November 11, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Well, there are versions of the M4 and M16 which have 40mm grenade launchers mounted under them. It is feasible that he could have had one of these weapons, either legally owned as an automatic weapon or converted to semi-auto. If it wasn’t legally owned I’m sure that would have been part of the story tied to a Class A Felony.

    That said, I’ve never heard of anyone launching a starburst round from one. They are used for night illumination and generally shot at the sky from a specifically designed launch tube. Of course, it’s been some time since I’ve fired one so that may have changed (not the launching at the sky part through) but since his results were not ‘optimum’ perhaps it has not changed so much.

    Reporting on military systems is very spotty, few reporters can tell the difference between an assault rifle and a shot gun, let alone an armored personnel carrier and a tank. Correct identification of specific firearms is even more circumspect. Saying an AR-15 platform identifies a weapons platform whose production has been continuous since the Vietnam war…kind of like saying an AK-47 platform rifle, it identifies scores of weapons and configurations.

    That this fellow had one with a launcher is probably the case, that he did something very bad that he’s paying for is also the case.

  4. Andrew on November 11, 2013 at 6:13 am

    I am going to venture a guess that this guy tried to make the AR15 do something it wasn’t designed to. I did a search on grenade launchers and the AR15 was not in the list (possible the AR-15 goes by a different name (

    If my theory is correct — then he got what he deserved for doing such a stupid thing — and I hope they throw the book at him on top of that. It makes trouble for people who want to legally own and operate a firearm when you have people doing this. I am just glad he didn’t hurt somebody else with this stupidity.