Hand Grenade

Hand grenades are small bombs, containing explosives or chemicals, that can be thrown or rigged as booby traps. 

They are used at short range and the effective casualty radius is relatively small. The built-in, delayed fuse delay allows you to safely throw it and seek cover before it explodes.

There are four basic types of hand grenades, Fragmentation, Illumination, Chemical, and Incendiary.

The "Safety Pin" holds the "Safety Lever" in place. Unless you hold the "Safety Lever" down with your hand, removal of the "Safety Pin" allows the "Safety Lever" to spring away from body of the grenade. This action starts the fuse (varying from a few seconds to no seconds) which then sets off the grenade.

To Throw a Grenade:

  • Hold the grenade in your throwing arm, making sure the "Safety Lever" is held securely to the side of the grenade.

  • Using the "Pull Ring," remove the safety pin.

  • Keeping your eyes on the target, throw the grenade, using an overhand throw. As soon as the grenade is released, the "Safety Lever" will fly off, igniting the fuse.

  • Duck down behind cover and await detonation. If there is no cover, fall to the ground with your helmet toward the grenade.

To Secure a Grenade:

  • Be very careful in removing grenades from clothing, pouches, or web gear. "Safety Pins" are relatively firmly attached to the grenade at the factory, but may have been tampered with. If the "Pull Ring" gets snagged on clothing as you remove the grenade, and if you don't hold onto the "Safety Lever," the fuse will be ignited and within a few seconds, the grenade will explode.

  • Grasp the grenade, making sure to hold down the "Safety Lever."

  • Watching the "Pull Ring," ease the grenade out of patient's pocket, or web gear.

  • Wrap a strip of adhesive tape completely around the grenade, so that the "Pull Ring" and "Safety Lever" are firmly bound to the body of the grenade.

  • Set the grenade down in a safe place.

To Avoid Injury from a Grenade that Lands Near You:

  • Yell out very loudly: "GRENADE!" This will help prevent injury to your friends.

  • Duck down beneath any kind of cover that makes sense. Ducking behind a tent flap won't help. Ducking behind a packing crate, desk, rock or any other substantial structure will help a lot.

  • If there is no cover, drop to the ground, remaining as flat as possible and giving the grenade as small a target as possible.

  • If you are in a slit trench or fortified bunker, you may find that there is "grenade sump" located at the bottom of the trench. The idea here is that when a grenade comes in, you can quickly kick the grenade into the sump. When it explodes, the force of the explosion will be directed straight up, sparing the occupants of the trench any injury. You may as well try it, as you have little to lose.

  • Whatever you decide to do, do it quickly as you only have 0-3 seconds before the grenade will detonate.

  • If you are in the middle of a fight and you are wounded by a grenade, keep fighting, as that gives you and your friends the best chance of survival. 

Things to Know about Specific Grenades:

M67 Fragmentation Grenade:

M61 Fragmentation Grenade

M15 White Phosphorous Grenade

AN-M8 HC Smoke Grenade

M18 Colored Smoke Grenade

ABC-M7A2 and the ABC-M7A3 Riot Control Hand Grenades

ABC-M25A2 Riot Control Hand Grenade

AN-M14 TH3 Incendiary Hand Grenade

MK3A2 Offensive Hand Grenade (Concussion Grenade)

M69 Practice Grenade

From Operational Medicine 2001: Health Care in Military Settings
CAPT Michael John Hughey, MC, USNR
  January 1, 2001

Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Department of the Navy, 2300 E Street NW, Washington, D.C, 20372-5300
United States Special Operations Command, 7701 Tampa Point Blvd., MacDill AFB, Florida, 33621-5323

Home    Textbooks and Manuals    Videos    Lectures    Distance Learning    Training    Operational Safety    Search

This website is dedicated to the development and dissemination of medical information that may be useful to those who practice Operational Medicine. This website is privately-held and not connected to any governmental agency. The views expressed here are those of the authors, and unless otherwise noted, do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brookside Associates, Ltd., any governmental or private organizations. All writings, discussions, and publications on this website are unclassified.

2006 Medical Education Division, Brookside Associates, Ltd. All rights reserved

Contact Us


Advertise on this Site