Bates & Dittus LLC
By GROG Copyright 2010 3LC Productions
George Bates and Ed Dittus provided us with a sample of one of their newest launchers, the TBL-37. The launcher arrived in its own carry box, complete with padding, and a carry handle. The TBL-37 is the result of upgrades made by the company after my previous review of the Bates Fireball launcher. That launcher was a very good launcher, but there were a few improvements that were warranted, to make the launcher more attractive to clients like law enforcement, corrections, and other government entities.
The TBL-37 is made of 6061 aircraft grade aluminum and 4140 hardened steel components. The barrel of the TBL is .210” thick. Plenty of meat if one wanted to turn the TBL into a 40mm smoothbore DD. The top of the barrel has a full length, aluminum Mil Spec Picatinny rail system. The rail system is secured directly to the barrel with a series of four steel machine screws. Two of those screws go through the modified AR foregrip, and secure that section of the launcher.
The foregrip is not hollow like normal AR foregrips, there are reinforcing sections throughout it, so it is solid on the launcher. The foregrip also contains a sling stud for mounting your favorite sling. The foregrip covers the pivot pin that allows the launcher to open, very much like the M79 it is modeled on. The bottom of the barrel also contains a small 3” section of Mil Spec Picatinny rail, which comes in VERY handy for installing a front pistol grip.
The fit and finish of the parts on the TBL-37 is, in one word, awesome. There is no “give” in this launcher, from the stock to the barrel, it is completely “tight”.
This launcher is the 12” barrel model. It came equipped with an NC Star 1x25mm red/green dot sighting system.
The NC Star is fully adjustable for windage and elevation via two allen screws. You can also choose between a red dot, or a green dot, with three brightness settings for each. For a 37mm launcher, it is adequate for a sighting system. With the Picatinny rail system, you can mount anything from AR sights, to lasers, bipods, and flashlights.
The safety on the TBL is a rotating knurled knob located on the right side of the receiver. There is a flat spot milled into the top of the safety to indicate safe or fire. By rotating the knob to the safe position, the internal section physically blocks the hammer from being able to engage the firing pin, so the launcher will not fire if the trigger is pulled, or if the launcher falls and something strikes the rear of the exposed hammer spur. It is a very simple safety system, and easy to use. The base plate (part that houses the firing pin and the casing rests against for firing) is steel. All internal parts are steel.
The stock on the version I received is a high strength plastic version with a rubber butt pad and integrated pistol grip. The fit of the stock is perfect, and the launcher feels good when shouldered.
The launcher is opened by depressing the release latch located in front of the trigger forward. This releases the barrel lock, allowing the barrel to swing down and open. Your munitions can then be loaded, and the barrel raised back into the locked position. This launcher is single action only, so the hammer must be cocked before firing. This launcher opened crisply, and locked back into the closed position tightly. There is no slop in the fit of these parts.
RANGE TEST 1
Well, as nice as this launcher appeared, I couldn’t wait to get her out to the range and put her through her paces. Unfortunately, I have been quite busy lately in the 37mm and 26.5mm ammo development field, and had to put range sessions on hold for a while, but I did finally get out there a couple days ago and did some video of the testing. I had a number of 37mm rounds loaded up for T&E purposes. Barricade penetrating rounds reloaded by myself using the “rocket type” projectiles I molded up last year. These contained chalk dust to simulate OC or CS powder as in a gas round. A short video of the test is located here:
To get more information on the TBL-37 or to purchase one for yourself, please visit the B&D site here: