Charles Manville developed this weapon in the 1930s as a riot control tool, and they were built in 12ga, 25mm, and 37mm. We should point out that the 12ga version was for tear gas rounds only (like today’s 12ga flare launchers) and not safe to use with high-pressure ammunition. Anyway, it was intended for use by prison guards and riot police, offering a much greater ammunition capacity than any other contemporary launcher.

During World War II, Manville tried to sell the military on a high-pressure version to fire 37mm explosive rounds, but was unsuccessful. Instead, the Manville company spent the was making parts for the Oerlikon 20mm AA guns, and the tooling for the gas launcher was all destroyed.


We had the chance to take a closer look at one of the 25mm guns (not 26.5mm or 27mm as sometimes described):

While we were not able to take that one out for a test firing session, we did come across this video of someone else doing so. It looks to be a digitized VHS tape, and we take no responsibility for the “trained professional” pointing it right at his cameraman every time…but it does show a Manville in action:



US Patent 2,101,148 (C. J. Manville, Machine Projector, March 11, 1935)


  1. I believe this weapon was featured in the Christopher walken film “Dogs of War”. Or it was a very similar mockup.

  2. The Manville gun almost certainly cast a giant shadow in its fictional turn in “The Dogs of War.” Also recall the British ARWEN multi-shot rubber bullet and tear gas launcher that fired non-existent explosive rounds in the hands of actor Bernie Casey in Sean Connery’s charming last turn as James Bond in 1983’s “Never Say Never Again.” It was intended to replace the British Army flare launcher turned rubber bullet launcher on the mean streets of Belfast but was never adopted.

    I’m willing to bet the Striker shotgun AND the several six-shot cylinder 40mm grenade launchers out there would never have been conceived were it not for the Manville Gun’s rediscovery.

    • Sorry to tell you, but you’re wrong. It was the THIRD model Manville used in “Dogs Of War”, the Hawk was made later.

  3. the single shot Manville in 12 gauge with a screw on/ off barrel does anyone have any pictures or more facts on this weapon or pictures

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