Grenade Variants

Ever wish you had one of those sting grenades when you saw a big gathering of hippies at a protest, drum circle, love in, etc? I know I have. I mean, you don't want to hurt anyone, just leave some nice welts on their unwashed hippy skin.

Grenade varients:

The fragmentation grenade (commonly known as a "frag") is an anti-personnel weapon that is designed to disperse shrapnel upon exploding. The body is made of hard plastic or steel. Flechettes, notched wire, ball bearings or the case itself provide the fragments. When the word "grenade" is used without specification, and context does not suggest otherwise, it is generally assumed to refer to a fragmentation grenade.

These grenades were sometimes classed as defensive grenades because the effective casualty radius of some matched or exceeded the distance they could be thrown, thus necessitating them being thrown from behind cover. The Mills bomb or F1 grenade are examples of defensive
grenades where the 30–45 m casualty radius matched or exceeded the 30 m that a grenade could reasonably be thrown.

Modern fragmentation grenades such as the United States M67 grenade have a wounding radius of 15 m (half that of older style grenades which may still be encountered) and can be thrown about 40 m. Fragments may travel more than 200 m.

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The concussion grenade is an anti-personnel device that is designed to damage its target with explosive power alone. Compared to fragmentation grenades, the explosive filler is usually of a greater weight and volume. The case is far thinner and is designed to fragment as little as possible. The overpressure produced by this grenade when used in enclosed areas is greater than that produced by the fragmentation grenade. Therefore, it is especially effective in enclosed areas.

These grenades are usually classed as offensive weapons because the effective casualty radius is smaller than the distance it can be thrown.

The US MK3A2 concussion grenade is filled with TNT and has a body made of tarred cardboard.

The term 'concussion' is often erroneously applied to stun grenades. This is not descriptive of the effects caused by the grenade. The term 'concussion' is used because the grenade relies on its explosive power to create casualties.

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French F1 grenade with a percussion fuze.A percussion grenade detonates upon impact with the target. Classic examples of percussion grenades are the British Gammon bomb and No. 69 grenade. Timed fuse grenades are generally preferred to hand-thrown percussion grenades because their fuzing mechanisms are safer and more robust than those used in percussion grenades. Some percussion grenades have a conventional pyrotechnic fuse fitted as a backup detonation device.

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Smoke grenadeSmoke grenades are used as ground-to-ground or ground-to-air signaling devices, target or landing zone marking devices, and screening devices for unit movement. The body is a sheet-steel cylinder with emission holes in the top and bottom. These allow the smoke to be released when the grenade is ignited. Two main types exist, colored smoke (for signaling) and screening smoke. In colored smoke grenades, the filler consists of 250 to 350 grams of colored smoke mixture (mostly potassium chlorate, lactose and a dye). Screening smoke grenades usually contain HC (hexachloroethane/zinc) smoke mixture or TA (terephthalic acid) smoke mixture. HC smoke is harmful to breathe, since it contains hydrochloric acid. Whilst not intended as a primary effect, these grenades can generate enough heat to scald or burn unprotected skin and the spent casing should not be touched until it has cooled.

Riot control
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CS gas grenadeTear gas grenades are similar to smoke grenades in terms of shape and operation. In tear gas grenades the filler is generally 80 to 120 grams of CS gas combined with a pyrotechnic composition which burns to generate an aerosol of CS-laden smoke. This causes extreme irritation to the eyes and, if inhaled, to the nose and throat. (See also the Branch Davidian siege). Occasionally CR gas is used instead of CS.

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Incendiary grenadeIncendiary grenades produce intense heat by means of a chemical reaction. The body is practically the same as that of a smoke grenade. The filler is 600 to 800 grams of thermate, which is an improved version of World War II-era thermite. The chemical reaction that produces the heat is called a "thermite reaction". In this reaction, powdered aluminium metal and iron oxide react to produce a stream of molten iron and aluminium oxide. This reaction produces a tremendous amount of heat, burning at 2200 °C (4000 °F). This makes incendiary grenades useful for destroying weapons caches, artillery, and vehicles. Other advantages include its ability to function without an external oxygen source, allowing it to burn underwater. Because they are not intended to be thrown, thermate incendiary grenades generally have a shorter delay fuse than other grenades e.g. two seconds.

White phosphorus (also used in smoke grenades; see above) can also be used as an incendiary agent. It burns at a temperature of 2800 °C (5000 °F). White phosphorus was notably used in the No. 76 Special Incendiary Grenade by the British Home Guard during World War II.

Thermite and white phosphorus cause some of the worst and most painful burn injuries because they burn so quickly and at such a high temperature. In addition, white phosphorus is very poisonous: a dose of 50-100 milligrams is lethal to the average human.

A common improvised incendiary grenade is the Molotov cocktail.

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M84 stun grenadeA stun grenade is a nonlethal weapon, similar in many respects to a true grenade. It is also called a flashbang grenade, thunderflash, a bang grenade, or a Flash and Noise Diversionary Device (FNDD). The first devices of this type were created in the 1960s at the behest of the British Special Air Service as an incapacitant.

Stun grenades are used to confuse, disorient, or distract a potential threat. A stun grenade can seriously degrade the combat effectiveness of affected personnel for up to a minute. One example is the M84 stun grenade, which produces a blinding (6-8 million Candela) flash and deafening (170-180 dB SPL) blast. This grenade can be used to incapacitate people, generally without causing serious injury.

IDF stun grenadeThe flash of light momentarily activates all photosensitive cells in the retina, making vision impossible for approximately five seconds until the eye restores the retina to its original, unstimulated state. Subjects affected by flashbangs describe seeing a single frame for the five seconds (as if their vision was "paused") until it fades and normal sight returns (some video games that simulate combat; typically the first person shooter genre, include this effect). This is because the sensory cells which have been activated continue sending the same information to the brain until they are restored to their resting state, and the brain translates this continuous information into the same image. The incredibly loud blast emitted by the grenade contributes to its incapacitating properties by disturbing the fluid in the semicircular canals of the ear.

When detonated, the fuse/grenade body assembly remains intact and produces no fragmentation. The body is a steel hexagonal tube with holes along the sides which allow a blast of light and sound to be emitted. This is done to prevent injury from shrapnel but it is still possible to receive a burn, and injuries resulting from the concussive properties of the detonation sometimes occur, the intense heat created by the flashbang can also ignite flammable materials such as fuel or certain fabrics. The fires that occurred during the Iranian Embassy Siege in London were caused by stun grenades. The filler consists of about 4.5 grams of a pyrotechnic metal-oxidant mix of magnesium or aluminium and an oxidizer such as ammonium perchlorate or potassium perchlorate.

Sting grenades are based on the design of the fragmentation grenade. Instead of using a metal casing to produce shrapnel, they are made using two spheres of hard rubber. Inside the smaller sphere is the explosive charge, primer, and detonator. The space between the two spheres is then filled with many small, hard rubber balls. Upon detonation, the subject is incapacitated by the blunt force of the projectiles. The subject is incapacitated, winded, or at the very least dislodged from cover.

Some types have an additional payload of chemical agents like CS gas.

Sting grenades are sometimes called "stinger grenades", which is a genericized trademark as "Stinger" is trademarked by Defense Technology for its own line of sting grenades.

Impact stun
Blank Firing GrenadeA more recent development is the Blank Firing Grenade (BFIG or Blank Firing Impact Grenade). Preferred in many situations, especially training, for two main reasons; they are re-usable - and therefore more economical - because the charge is a standard ammunition blank, and they are subject to very few transport restrictions when unloaded. The BFIG contains a mechanism to fire a blank cartridge when dropped at any angle onto a hard surface from a height of a metre or more. Firing will occur in any combination of positions only on impact.

The first anti-tank grenades were improvised devices usually made by putting a number of fragmentation grenades into a sandbag or by tying them together. Due to their weight, these were normally thrown from very close range or directly placed in vulnerable spots onto an enemy vehicle.

Purpose-designed anti-tank grenades invariably use the shaped charge principle to penetrate the tank's armor. This means that the grenade has to hit the vehicle at an exact right angle for the effect to work properly. This is achieved by the grenade deploying a small drogue parachute or fabric streamers after being thrown.

Britain put the first anti-tank grenade into the field during the Second World War with the rifle-fired No 68 AT Grenade. Also developed by the UK during the war, was the No 74 ST Grenade popularly known as a sticky bomb; the main charge was held in a sphere covered in adhesive. In anticipation of a German invasion, it was produced in substantial numbers. Inherently dangerous for the user, it was relegated to Home Guard use.

During World War II, when tanks overran entrenchments, anti-tank mines could be and were used by infantry as improvised hand grenades by placing or throwing them in the path of a tank in the hope of disabling a track.

The most widely-distributed anti-tank grenades are the Russian designs of the 1950s and later, mainly the RKG-3.

Due to improvements in modern tank armor, anti-tank hand grenades are generally considered obsolete. However, in the recent Iraq War, the RKG-3 anti-tank hand grenade has made a reappearance in the service of insurgents who utilize them primarily against US Humvees, which lack the heavier armor of tanks.

RUAG - manufacturer of modern hand grenades
Mecar - Belgian manufacturer of various grenade types
Pakistan Ordnance Factories - licensed manufacturer of Arges grenades
Film of exploding grenade - taken using ultra high-speed photographic technique (2/3 million frames per second)
How Grenades Work - from HowStuffWorks
CenturioLight c/o Centurio Products Group - manufacturer of the electronic flashbang's "BAD"
Exploded view of a modern Arges 73 hand grenade
90th Infantry Division Preservation Group Article on authentic WW2 pineapple grenades
Grenade information and facts


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