Cobray Co. (originally of Smyrna GA, but now currently of Westhope, ND) built many smooth bore 37mm Flare launchers that were smooth bore copies of the M203 grenade launcher back in the late 1980s (originally known as the M203 IMP). Versions were made by SWD (the predecessor of Cobray) and RPB, as well, but Cobray was the last, and most successful company, to sell the launchers. Throughout the 1990s, several improvements were made in the construction and cocking lever as well as shorter and longer length barrels. This particular launcher appears both in Scarface (1983 film) and Scarface - The World Is Yours.
Misconceptions about the Cobray 37mm Launcher
The Cobray CM203 37mm flare launcher is not a grenade launcher. It fires distress flares from a 37mm smooth bore and cannot accept 40mm munitions. However, since it looks like an M203 grenade launcher, it is commonly mistaken for one in films on this site. It was built for civilian use as an under slung flare launcher commonly mounted under M16/AR-15s variants and other rifles. It is preferred for most film use over a genuine M203 mainly because, unlike the M203, it is not considered a "Destructive Device" in the U.S. and not subject to NFA regulations.
The Cobray CM203 37mm flare launcher can be distinguished from the Colt M203 based on the following
- The M203 is a 40mm launcher capable of firing multiple purpose rounds, the CM203 is a 37mm launcher built specifically as a flare launcher for civilian use.
- The CM203 has an M16 style safety switch (on later models), the M203 does not.
- The CM203 lacks a second safety trigger in the front of the main trigger, which the M203 has.
- The CM203 Flare launcher's trigger guard is more squared when compared to the M203.
- The CM203 37mm had an external cocking lever on the side of the receiver, the M203 cocks on closure.