How Do Airsoft Grenades Work?
Airsoft grenades are popular products among airsoft players and are just one more element that makes the sport of airsoft realistic and enjoyable. At the very least, airsoft grenades are a lot of fun to use. In the right situations, they can also give you a powerful advantage over the competition.
So how do airsoft grenades work? In terms of functionality, there are two main types of airsoft grenades: traditional style grenades that use either impact or time delay and shell type grenades that work with launchers. Both of these types of airsoft grenades function exactly as their names suggest, with impact grenades detonating when they impact a hard surface and time delay grenades detonating after a certain period of time has passed once the grenade's safety pin is pulled. Shell grenades are used in conjunction with a grenade launcher and can be fired by way of actuating a firing pin that releases the internal gas storage which then pushes out a shower of BBs.
Beyond these types, though, there are a variety of different airsoft grenades - ranging from grenades that scatter a shower of BBs in all directions to smoke grenades designed to provide you with cover as you move from location to location. In this article, we'll address the question of how do airsoft grenades work for each type of airsoft grenade available today in order to help you choose the ideal grenades for your next airsoft engagement.
BB Scatter Grenades
BB scattering grenades, also known as airsoft frag grenades or BB spray grenades, are designed to replicate the effect of fragmentation grenades by scattering a shower of BBs in all directions upon detonation. Depending on the size of the grenade and capacity, BB scatter grenades are capable of sending out anywhere from 100-300 BBs. This makes BB scatter grenades ideal for clearing rooms or eliminating static targets that are behind cover since they are able to turn an entire area into a kill zone.
Most BB scatter grenades are powered by either green gas or CO2, though some BB scatter grenades are spring powered. Upon detonation, the green gas or CO2 is released from its canister inside the grenade and is used to propel the BBs stored inside out of one or more openings in the grenade's shell. Once the grenade has detonated, it can then be reloaded for additional uses by refilling it with BBs and CO2/green gas.
If you would like to purchase a BB scatter grenade, we recommend the Airsoft Innovations Tornado 2 Timer Frag Grenade. This timer-detonated grenade is powered by green gas and is capable of propelling 200 BBs at speeds up to 200 FPS, making it one of the more powerful BB scatter grenades available today. Another option would be the AVATAR Smart Grenade which allows you to customize the outer shell or "SKIN" of your grenade which in turn allows you to have a "different" grenade for different engagements!
Blank Firing Grenades
Blank firing grenades, also known as sound grenades, do not propel any projectiles like other types of airsoft grenades. Instead, blank firing grenades are designed to simply make a loud bang upon detonation. While rules will vary from field to field, players caught within five meters of a blank firing grenade upon its detonation are considered to be "dead" or "hit" since blank firing grenades are considered "lethal" grenades for airsoft purposes.
Some blank firing grenades work by being loaded with blank rounds - ranging from 9mm blanks to 12-gauge blanks - and are thus reusable airsoft grenades. These blank rounds are loaded with real gunpowder and produce the same sound as an actual round but do not include a projectile, however, these are not always legal in many counties. Other blank firing grenades such as the Airsoft Innovations XL Burst Banger Grenade are powered by propane rather than blank rounds and are likewise reusable. An additional benefit of using the Airsoft Innovations XL Burst is that it does not need any blanks or gun power. The grenade works with green gas and uses gas pressure to cause burst through thin films which then makes a loud sound, up to 125dBA!
It is worth mentioning that blank firing grenades are not allowed at all airsoft fields for both safety and legal reasons. Since blank firing grenades sound like a real gun going off, they often aren't allowed at urban locations. Blank-firing grenades also have the potential to cause hearing damage if they are detonated too close to someone in an enclosed location. The lesson here is to find out if these grenades are legal to use before purchasing or fielding them!
Pyrotechnic grenades can work much like the aforementioned blank-firing grenades to the effect that they can produce a "flash" of light and a "bang". Some examples of these grenades create a small flame of real fire, so it's absolutely essential that you are careful using them. On the other hand, some pyro grenades can be a projectile that burst upon impact or after a delay called "airburst". The impact-based pyro grenades come with a brittle cap which contains powered to create a cloud when it bursts. Airburst means the grenade will burst after a set amount of time has passed upon it being fired from a grenade launcher, much like a time-delayed grenade and they also come with a similar type of brittle cap containing powder. Once again, like the blank-firing grenades, they rely on an agreed-upon "kill radius".
Many pyrotechnic grenades are loaded with flash powder and equipped with a fuse that lights when the grenade's pin is pulled. Once the fuse reaches the flash powder, it produces a detonation that includes both a loud bang and a flash of fire. This makes the use of these grenades extremely fun when you are in a large scale milsim event.
It is important to note since pyrotechnic grenades do produce a small flash of very real fire upon detonation, they can be dangerous if not used correctly. In addition to this, many countries outlaw these grenades as they are considered dangerous goods or even weapons. For this reason, we at RedWolf Airsoft do not carry pyrotechnic grenades. However, if you want to see how cool they can be when used properly in previously mentioned large scale milsim events? Check out our video below!
Smoke grenades used in airsoft tend to be almost identical to the smoke grenades used by actual military or law enforcement forces since these grenades are completely non-lethal and not designed for harming enemy combatants. Upon detonation, smoke grenades release a cloud of white or colored smoke into the air, obscuring the entire area. Smoke grenades are most commonly used to provide cover for friendly forces, though they can be used to mark locations as well. Over the years, companies like Enola Gaye have developed smoke grenades that are safe and use colorful, thick smoke. These grenades are often seen and used in milsim events around the world.
While smoke grenades may not be designed to harm enemy players, that doesn't mean that they are completely safe. Smoke grenades work by burning dye that produces thick smoke. In most cases, this fire is contained inside the grenade, but smoke grenades can sometimes malfunction and cause serious burns if you happen to be holding one in your hand when it malfunctions. Some countries also class them as potentially harmful for your health, thus making them illegal for the general public to purchase. For these reasons, we do not carry smoke grenades at RedWolf Airsoft.
Grenade shells or shell type grenades, also known as shower grenades or grenade launcher shells, are airsoft grenades that are designed to be fired from a launcher. These grenades are probably the most practical and offer the most amount of fun when playing airsoft. As we mentioned early, these shells fire by way of a firing pin actuating a gas release valve located on the base of the grenade.
Grenade shells are usually shower grenades, meaning they fire a "shower" of BBs at once when they detonate. This large spray of BBs is great for clearing tight spaces and hitting multiple targets at once. An added benefit is the relatively lower FPS of shower grenades. Contrary to the general rule of thumb, the lower FPS of shower grenades actually makes them a more viable option when taking on the opponent as you will not risk serious injury when firing at close ranges, like when clearing a room. However, if you are looking for a grenade that can reach out past close quarters and pepper your enemy, we recommend the Airsoft Innovations 40 Mike Magnum Shell.
The Airsoft Innovations 40 MIKE Gas Powered Magnum Shell is the opposite of the shower grenade we talked about earlier. The 40 Mike shoots out a stream of 150 BBs at 240FPS up to 30m! While all this sounds incredible, there's more! The 40 Mike also has a spread of 10ft or 3m at its maximum spray making it an incredibly viable option when wanting to use a grenade outdoors at intermediate ranges! All of this does sound amazing, however, it is due to this high performance that many fields have banned the use of the 40 Mike in fears that it might potentially cause injury when used at close ranges. Make sure you are always checking with your field or game site whether these grenades are allowed before using them!