Stackable Grenades: Hooah!

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The U.S. Army is testing out a new type of hand grenade being referred to as stackable, although the actual connectivity brings to mind the methods used to connect cylindrical Legos. They’re called the Scalable Offensive Hand Grenade, and they far out-perform the standard fragmentation grenade. It’s their connectivity giving them this ability: soldiers can simply connect – or “stack” – the grenades one atop the other, creating chains up to three in length. And, of course,Β with each connection comes greater firepower.

grenade2

Live-fire testing was recently carried out at Fort Benning, Georgia, where a lot of the fun explosions and jumping from planes seems to take place. Testing took place during the annual Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment (AEWE) at the Maneuver Center of Excellence, and by all accounts it went well.

The grenades are canisters with threaded, circular necks capable of screwing into the matching threaded hole found at their base. There is a method to connecting them, though; there’s a specific base grenade with a 3.5-second fuse, which cannot be removed. Both the base grenade and connecting grenades contain 0.25 pounds of explosives within their bodies. When the maximum three modules are connected and detonated, they’re capable of an impressive display of power, as was demonstrated at Benning when one such grenade creation took down an adobe one-room building all by itself.

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There’s actually never been a live-fire portion at the AEWE before; this was the first year such testing was carried out during the event. And although the Army hasn’t decided yet whether or not to include the new grenades as part of their arsenal, at least the explosives were given a chance to be seen in action. Including live-fire testing means weapons that might otherwise be ignored are seen by officials, so maybe they have a chance. One thing’s for sure, these are some awesome explosives, and one can only begin to imagine the potential manuals and calculations created regarding how military brass might like to see soldiers implement them. It would, after all, need to be added to grenade training. Just think of the many ways these could be deployed…



katie.ainsworth

Katie is an avid shooter, hunter, military journalist, and Southern girl. Firearms are her passion whether at the range or on a spot-and-stalk after a big buck. She’s a staff writer at The Firearm Blog and writes about guns, hunting, and the military for various publications both online and in print such as Outdoor Life, Handguns, and Shooting Illustrated. Shoot her a message at ainsworth.kat@usa.com


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  • Riot

    This seems to be a solution looked for a (already solved) problem. There is such a thing as tape for the rare instance this would be remotely useful.

    Also: “there’s a specific base grenade with a 3.5-second fuse” – does mean only the base grenades can initiate detonation? If that is the case these aren’t grenades that can be stacked for more power, they are grenades that can have a third or two thirds of the power removed.

    • echelon

      Yeah I was wondering if there was a separate fuse module that could be screwed on the other grenades in case you just wanted to use one at a time…

      The idea looks sound but it seems that they have a ways to go before perfecting and making the system more streamlined and user-friendly.

  • tony

    Shut up and take my money!!!

  • Lance

    Seem we are going the way of Russia on grenades. Russians have several types in service from a golfball sized one to the standard anti personnel version. Seem the M-67 will have a room mate?

    • LCON

      The Us also issued gulf ball sized grenades in the past form 1960 till maybe 2008 the V40 was a Dutch design issued to US and Canadian armed forces it was dubbed a “Hooch Popper” had a 5 meter kill radius

  • Marc

    Having more (potential) grenades than fuses is the part where I fail to see the logic. Why not a coupler for two fully functional grenades?

  • sianmink

    This isn’t really a new concept.

    • Ethan

      Explosion radius: 100m
      Maximum throw distance: 30m
      ….me thinks there is a problem here. πŸ˜›

      • Tom

        Its quite common for hand grenade to have a lethal radius in excess of how far they can be thrown. They are known as defensive grenades because once you throw it you better be hiding behind something solid.

        • CommonSense23

          I am real curious what grenades you know of that have a lethal radius father than they can be thrown.

          • whskee

            For starters, just as background for those here less familiar, a lot of people don’t understand that when we rate our grenades and say a 5m kill and 15m wound radius, that isn’t 100% in 5m will be dead. It’s only 50% are expected to be killed in that range. That’s pretty important to understand.

            Then, to answer your statement, frag can still get thrown (primary from the grenade and secondary from kick-up of rocks/etc) pretty far and sometimes it just gets lucky and finds a squishy person to call home. It’s not super common but happens enough to consider it as a hazard.

          • CommonSense23

            If you can see the explosion, the explosion can see you.

          • whskee

            Yep yep. And that’s bad. Sometimes the explosion decides it really wants to see you though. Cover vs concealment in action!

          • S O

            The old ones with the huge preformed fragments on the outside of the shell had those few huge fragments be lethal past 30 m, though with a low probability of hit.

          • claymore

            Those old grenades did NOT fracture along those nice pretty lines. We used to demonstrate this by hanging them in a 55 gallon metal drum and firing them. A few large holes (from the area of the detonator screw in section) but many small ones was the result.

          • S O

            This depends on the steel quality. Very brittle steel will be pulverized regardless of shape, more ductile steel won’t.

          • Tom

            Should add the pattern was to improve grip not fragmentation.

          • Tom

            The Mills bomb could be thrown (with accuracy) around 15 to 30 metres but the blast radius was around 100. Also the French (and Soviet copies but not the Australian grenade of the same name) F1 grenade can be thrown 30 to 45 metres and whilst the lethal radius is only 30 metres shrapnel will travel up to 200 metres. Whilst nether of these are likely to kill at such ranges its not beyond the realm of possibility, especially with the French F1 as it tends to only tends to fragment into 10 pieces which should retain more energy than smaller fragments. So in such cases I think its better to rely on something hard being between you and the grenade rather than rely on your throwing arm.

      • JSmath

        To build off of what Tom said, it’s not as though grenades should be frequently used as a direct line of sight/line of fire weapon; but it is still funny as hell pointing out how the math adds up (or doesn’t).

        • Ethan

          I know, that’s what I was getting at. πŸ˜›
          I don’t know how you would throw that one though.. it must weigh 8 lbs or so..

          • Grindstone50k

            You can’t throw a light bowling ball with a handle?

          • Ethan

            A year ago, at the last bowling ball throwing contest I was at (no really, it happened) I managed to hurl a bowling ball about 20 yards. Had it been a live cluster grenade I would still be setting off metal detectors today.

          • Grindstone50k

            When you did grenade practice, did you stand in the open or duck behind cover?

          • Ethan

            Seeing as we were throwing bowling balls there was no need to duck behind cover. I wasn’t making an analogy, it was a literal bowling ball throwing contest. πŸ˜›

          • Grindstone50k

            So you don’t have any live grenade-throwing experience, then?

          • Ethan

            Its humor man, lighten up. πŸ˜‰

          • Katie A

            Ethan, always nice to see you in action lol…(I.e. being sarcastic) pictures of this bowling ball contest or it never happened….

          • Ethan

            Always a pleasure to see a lady of class grace these heathens with her presence. πŸ™‚

            Unfortunately all photographic evidence of said event was methodically destroyed out of necessity (it was a bachelor party after all).
            However if you had to imagine it, it bore close resemblance to the rock throwing contest at the beginning of Braveheart… though with fewer kilts.

          • Katie A

            Complete with raggedy dread locked hair and propensity for riding horses into the bad guy’s little mud huts? Cool. Points off for lack of kilts, though.

          • Tassiebush

            I’ve got to recommend waterboarding as another party game! Did it a few birthdays back and it was a hoot! Just to be clear no one was restrained though.

        • n0truscotsman

          I suppose it didn’t matter when you had T34 screaming towards your fighting position and no Panzers or 88s anywhere to kill it.

      • DIR911911 .

        the foxhole is your friend

    • Anonymoose

      Y’know, for mashing a whole sack of potatoes…at the same time.

    • Anon. E Maus

      Weren’t those made for use against tanks?

  • iksnilol

    What about duct tape? Can you tape together two stacks of three grenades?

    Also, why doesn’t each grenade have its own fuse? Might be a problem if you run out of fuses yet have grenades left over.

    • Plumbiphilious

      They probably do, judging by how they look. It’s just that this design allows you to screw off the fuse, screw the grenade into the butt of another one, then use the second/third/whathaveyou’s top fuse to cue all of them.

      • iksnilol

        Ah, I somehow got the impression that there were less fuses than grenades.

        • Dracon1201

          There are. The top is dedicated to the fuse, the rest are not.

          • iksnilol

            But don’t you get one fuse for every grenade? Doesn’t it become a bit pointless then to have them screw apart? Why not just make one grenade that contains as much explosive as the three to together?

          • Tom

            I am thinking the same thing (if Dracon1201 is correct) if you do not have fuses for each grenade then you may well find yourself in the situation of needing a grenade and having a grenade but with no way of detonating it – that is so obvious I feel very stupid writing it! So if you are not needing super grenades then you are basically carrying three times the weight. Might be easier just to use ordinary grenades and issue 1 or 2 super grenades to be used if needed. Plumbiphilious and Iksnilol seem to be making more sense suggesting that you can remove the fuses.

            Though to be honest I struggling to come up with a reason for this. Sure demolishing a building is great and all but the people in it are no more or no less dead than if you had just used a regular grenade. Of course it would look cool in a movie.

          • CommonSense23

            Tom the point of the grenades is for its thermobaric effect. They are not replacing frags. Not meant to. These are for its thermobaric abilities. Bringing down a room/building, blowing in a door, destroying a karez. Or dealing with a particularly painful barricaded shooter. Just cause you throw 1, 2, 57(hint this number wasn’t random) M67 Frags in a room, doesn’t mean you will kill a guy with a barricaded shooter. Frags really aren’t that powerful of a grenade. They are a lot less useful than people think for clearing a room

            As for a good idea of removing the fuse. That idea comes from people who have never had to work with explosives. The fuse/blasting cap is the most dangerous part of the explosive train. Its the most powerful part of the explosive train. And by far the most sensitive and dangerous. Having loose blasting caps rolling around in your pockets is asking for trouble

          • Don Ward

            Ketchup. Manchuria.

            *Wink*

          • dan citizen

            “you may well find yourself in the situation of needing a grenade and having a grenade but with no way of detonating it”

            Silly, you throw it and then shoot it with your sidearm when it is right in front of your enemy.

          • Katie A

            Exactly! And you have to hold your gun sideways when you fire otherwise it won’t work.

          • dan citizen

            …and say something witty, like: “Enjoy your present, it’s the bomb!”

          • CommonSense23

            So you can decide to not collapse the entire building you are in when you throw it from inside the building.

          • iksnilol

            Why would the building collapse if you are throwing it outside the building?

          • CommonSense23

            Cause that is the purpose of a grenade like this.

          • iksnilol

            I am just confused how you are collapsing the house when throwing the grenade away from the house. I would have made an illustration but that would require the post to be delayed for approval.

          • CommonSense23

            They are meant to be thrown thru doors or windows. These produce almost no frag, and have less than a pound of explosives, so almost useless outside of a building.

          • Dracon1201

            Believe me, it seems pretty crappy to me, too. They don’t get 1 fuse to 1 grenade. The idea is more variable yield than anything. Being able to reduce the charge as the situation demands it. However, that would leave you with explosives you can’t use at the end. It doesn’t seem like the best idea.

      • CommonSense23

        No, one has a non removable fuse.

  • bill

    What was wrong with duct tape and a bunch of m67’s?

    • LCON

      3M was making a tactical fortune

    • Don

      New generation uses Gorilla tape πŸ™‚

  • Vhyrus

    So we’re going to throw oil filters at people now?

    • Grindstone50k

      Can.. can I thread it on a rifle..?

      • 1leggeddog

        You can.

        Once.

      • Don Ward

        That will give the ATF a collective case of the vapors.

        • Ethan

          But first we must pack it with illegally grown tobacco and pour untaxed whiskey over it.. you know, to cover all the bases.

          • Katie A

            My kind of thinking, here…don’t forget the cuban cigars and full auto sears.

  • Michael R. Zupcak

    You guys need to stop with the meaningless links in your articles. There’s a link here to Adobe’s website. Why?

    • Rey

      You might have an adware converting relevant words to links.

    • Sam

      It shows up in my browser too with a “Link Added by VigLink” popup

    • Ethan

      That’s not TFB – I’m pretty sure your browser does that.

    • sianmink

      Viglink is pretty dumb.

    • Grindstone50k

      Guys, it’s not local malware or browser, its Viglink, a service for publishers. This is a TFB issue.

  • jrt 82

    I can say without reservation, as I was a 11B1P SPC, that there will be a soldier that links 8 of those bad boys together and goes to town on something.
    Because that’s what I would have done.

    • Airborne

      As a former 11B1P E-4, I would do the same thing πŸ˜‰

      • Swampthing

        As a current 11B E-5, I WILL do this.

        • Agitator

          As a current 68W E-5, I will be the one shaking my head and mouthing “what the f***” when they bring you into the aid station.

    • Katie A

      Every 11B I know shares this sentiment. I’d lecture about safety but I want to do it, too.

  • Colin

    sianmink you beat me to it, dang

  • Anomanom

    I’m thinking this will not work so well. I foresee the 3 grenades screwed together popping right apart when they land, or worse, when someone is trying to throw them (i.e. the one you’re holding gets thrown, the other to pop off and land on the ground right in front of you.

    • Don

      And that will happen how, they screw into each other? If some idiot attempts to throw one that he hasn’t fully seated / screwed down then he deserves what happens next.
      The authors reference to them being connected like Lego’s is misleading, the last time I checked a Lego block doesn’t screw into another Lego block

      • Grindstone50k

        Not to mention if the fuse is only on one, as long as that’s the one you throw then what the problem is?

      • Anomanom

        If they screw together, that is better, it looked like that they just sort of snapped on. However, they look like they are made of plastic, so unless they are made of metal, i would still be concerned about them coming apart.

        I’m not criticizing the idea of scalable explosives, it’s a good idea. But i am a service technician, I always looks for points of failure and see the ways that the end user will screw it up, break it, or just plain fail at it.

  • YS

    Is the expectation for the soldier to stack the extra explosives in the field? I don’t know how much slack the thread has, but I’d be worried about contaminating the thread with sand or mud.

    • uisconfruzed

      I’d prefer a push lock

  • CommonSense23

    These grenades are designed for use in building. It allows you to throw decide how much overpressure you want.

    • whskee

      Wonder if it’ll replace the Mk3A2. That bastard works wonders contained inside 4 walls πŸ˜‰

      • CommonSense23

        Or even better underwater.

        • whskee

          If there’s some longer than 3.5s fuses available these would probably be nice to have along for material destruction. Destroy an engine/genset, blast a small cache, etc. They look smaller by half than the M14-th3 incendiary, but those are probably much safer for that role still.

          • CommonSense23

            I would just stick with a standard charge. I much prefer the idea of seeing smoke and not having to do a mad dash to safety.

  • toms

    These are nammo produced and excellent. We have been focusing on non-less lethal grenades and not innovating where it really counts. No reason not to have modernized light weight offensive and defensive grenades with reliable adjustable det settings. Improve the claymore while your at it.

  • marathag

    Now just needs a German or Pact throwing handle, and a fragmentation sleeve

  • ghost

    Sort of like buns and weenies, gonna run out of one before the other.

  • Will

    Uh, standard hand thrown fragmentation grenade out to fifty, or so, yards, M203 beyond that.
    Did some congressman get bought off again? Hmmmmmmmm

  • LCON

    Okay so each Grenade is like a cylindrical Lego. There is a male end and a Female end the fuse like that of a conventional grenade is removable via unscrewing and the same screw connection is what allows stacking. the shape kinda reminds me of the grenades in the movie Elysium.
    Of course that was fiction there have been a number of can shaped hand grenades from the Mill bombs to the Bomba a Mano Mod. 35 or the more modern DM51

  • Grindstone50k

    Neat design, but with the dedicated fuse, it’s probably more for specialized use rather than standard-issue to every 11bubbah.

    • Katie A

      Probably, yes, could be useful for breachers, maybe, among others

  • dan citizen

    I assume with a little threaded nipple you could same-sex-marry two of the fused modules base to base.

  • whskee

    Just noticed in the pic, the lot is 1-12…leading me to believe it’s been produced since at least early 2012. I cant find much about the manufacturer, designation, or composition of the things. Really curious as to the internal makeup of them. Anyone know?

    • whskee

      The other one I rarely see discussed is the Anti-Structure Munition, which is also a thermobaric introduced a few (5+) years ago. Maybe this is the successor to that?

  • CommonSense23

    I got that screwed up, this is not by definition a thermobaric grenade, just a plain over pressure. Got this one confused with another one in the inventory. But works the same way mostly as a thermobaric, it’s the pressure that does the work, not frag.

  • Azril @ Alex Vostox

    DOES ANYONE REMEMBER GAMMON GRENADE?

  • Tassiebush

    That’s unwarranted!

    • Katie A

      Thanks Tassiebush, I think this one’s just exhausted his vocabulary

      • Tassiebush

        I think they should have really picked a more suitable name like insecure

  • Rooftop Voter

    Finally! Those pesky grenades in my sock drawer will now stay put! Don’t you hate it when you are looking for socks in the dark and you keep running into those spoons?

  • guy

    Stackable grenades… what a time to be alive

  • S O

    Something’s being made in the U.S. that’s not been made there
    +
    typical American public relations proficiency
    =
    “Look what we’ve got !!!!!”

    It doesn’t matter if some other country had it for years or decades already.

  • TR

    I recall reading a study that was conducted on women serving in combat roles. One thing that women did very poorly at was throwing grenades. It seems that most women even after completion of an 8 week basic training (think lots of push-ups), are not able to throw a grenade far enought so that the fragments don’t injury them…I hope they make them lighter to accomodate the political necessities of warfighting!

  • Katie A

    Have something to say?

  • Aaron E

    These actually seem to have a lot of practicality. They can be stored easier and more compact, and can be joined quickly for an added punch. Gotta love it!

  • Ethan

    Some bridge is missing its troll, and that troll is apparently missing his wit… as much wit as trolls posses anyways.

    3 Guest votes too? That must have been a lot of work refreshing your browser that many times.

    • Katie A

      I was going to say better a half wit than no wit at all but it seemed redundant…