The China Lake is first used in S.O.G. in a tunnel area near the part with the mortared out forest and is later used on a jeep while destroying tanks. It is also seen in the mission Crash Site when in the crashed plane fuselage, with Woods questioning why the Russians would be using American weapons, and in the first weapons cache in Numbers. The China Lake in singleplayer has a 4 round capacity, unlike in multiplayer and zombies where it only has 2 rounds. It also appears to be the only gun which has more rounds per magazine in the campaign than its Nazi Zombie counterpart.
It is the last weapon unlocked at level 48. The China Lake has a 2 round capacity, and is pump-action. The pumping action is very slow, thus lowering the rate of fire as compared to a pump action shotgun. This gun also has very poor mobility, similar to a LMG. When the player hip-fires it, the sights will be brought up before firing, like the Thumper in MW2. Because of these traits, the player has to make sure that the first grenade kills, as otherwise they will have to deal with the long pumping animation while moving too slowly to avoid the enemy. Also, the player will have to lead the shot due to the gun's delay between pulling the trigger and it actually firing. A good tactic is to reload immediately after first shot, as it takes less time and can be reload-canceled unlike pump-action. When using Scavenger Pro the player will start with two extra grenades in reserve (note: like all launchers, grenades will not be scavenged when using the regular Scavenger). With this extra ammo, it is important to note that reloading the gun after each shot is actually faster than pumping it (especially when using Sleight of Hand Pro). Using this technique significantly increases the China Lake's rate of fire. The China Lake does 155-25 damage with a 7.5M blast radius. It drops about 17 damage per every meter meaning the lethal blast radius is about 3M. Generally, however, it is looked down upon due to it's ease of use and overpowered blast radius (It rivals a rocket blast).
When Pack-A-Punched this gun is called the "China Beach." The China Lake is on every Black Ops Zombies map. It is very effective for clearing out large waves but disorients the user after firing too close. While this drawback can be fixed by taking a PHD Flopper, it is still considered inferior compared to the M72 Anarchy in terms of ammo, utility and damage. Overall it is a poor choice for close-quarters combat. The China Beach holds five grenades and cycles faster. The China Lake is also available as a power up in "Dead Ops Arcade". Here it seems to be automatic, but it is still pump action as the player can see the character model pumping the weapon before firing. The China Lake only goes a small distance before exploding which allows zombies to get close if the player is not aiming in the right direction. The China Lake is effective when firing into a large masses of zombies and on lower waves.
In the single-player campaign, the China Lake can fire 4 grenades before reloading, but it in zombies and multiplayer it only has 2 grenades before the player must reload.
For the first 15 seconds of an online match, any grenades from a grenade launcher will never explode. This was probably implemented to prevent spamming commonly seen in previous games.
This weapon was used by JFK in the cutscene in Five.
Scout Pro is useful with the China Lake, as it decreases the time when the player is unfolding the sight.
The iron-sights are similar to the RPG and M1919 Browning's iron-sights, and almost identical to the Thumper ones.
The China Lake could be considered a pump action version of the Thumper.
One of the China Lake's weaknesses is its drawn-out pump-action, which can actually be circumvented through Reload Canceling at just about any time after the pumping animation has begun; this allows the weapon's two grenades to be fired in much more rapid succession. A way to stop the animation completely is to quickly press the reload button, and reload cancel.
When out of ammo it switches faster than normal.
In the PC version of Black Ops some multiplayer servers ban this weapon due to its similarity to underbarrel grenade launchers, often labeled "noob tubes".
The rear and front sights are not aligned.
Reloading takes the same amount of time as pumping.
It is wise to switch to this weapon after spawning as it has to be pumped before use. Doing this after spawning makes later weapon switches much faster.