The China Lake Model (or China Lake Pump-Action Grenade Launcher) is a pump-action grenade launcher that was used by the Navy SEALs.
The China Lake Model (or China Lake Pump-Action Grenade Launcher) is a pump-action grenade launcher that was developed by the Special Projects Division of the China Lake Naval Weapons Center, which provided equipment to Navy SEALs during the Vietnam War.
Though meant for the SEAL Teams, a handful were used by Marine Force Recon and Army 5th Special Forces Group. The best information available indicates that a total of 23 units were produced with one going to the USMC Force Recon and another going to US Army Special Forces MAC-V SOG.
Since it was made on an ad hoc basis for special operations forces, it was not formally adopted and has no official designation. It is sometimes mistakenly referred to as the "China Lake NATIC" or as the EX-41.
The EX-41 was a developmental weapon conceived in the 1980s and based in part on the combat experiences of the Navy SEALs with the Pump-Action 40mm launcher in Vietnam. The concept of the EX-41 was considered sound but it never developed past the prototype stage. It was a completely different weapon from the China Lake Pump-Action design but showed a continuing interest in a lightweight repeating 40mm grenade launcher.
An effort to produce an improved version of the weapon began in 1992 when Samuel "Dutch" Hillenburg, a firearms writer specializing in military weapons, teamed up with master machinist Brian Fauci.
In 2003, they achieved a breakthrough and were able to convince fellow writer and firearms enthusiast Captain Monty Mendenhall to finance their research effort. By 2004, they had a functional prototype and had formed Trident Enterprises Ltd. to continue their work on the project.
Trident is currently seeking to license their intellectual property for a royalty on each weapon produced.