Crazy! Deactivating Landmines With Just A Leatherman Tool

land mine

This guy has some serious big ones. It seems he has a lot of experience since he deactivates a land mine calmly and efficiently. No bomb suit, not special tools. Just a Leatherman multi tool and a shovel. At one point it looks like he might have used a rock hammer to hit the land mine. There is a moment he removes the pressure plate and points to the spot that sets off the land mine. Then he taps that spot with the pressure plate.  This guy could teach MacGuyver a thing or two.

At one of my past jobs, my boss had a bumper sticker on the wall. It said “The problem with landmines is the feet that step on them”.



Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at nicholas.c@staff.thefirearmblog.com


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  • me

    Balls O’Steel

    • Nicholas C

      More like titanium

      • PK

        Tungsten or steel, usually. Wait, are we not talking about cast-in, preformed fragments in some variants of antipersonnel mines?

  • Ambassador Vader

    haha stomach sank a little when he started hitting it with a hammer.

    • Nicholas C

      I know right? “See the part? Don’t hit that part that I am hitting right now to show you”

      • Ambassador Vader

        It sounds like a bad step in an instruction manual
        Step 16 – hit landmine with hammer in order to knock out primary explosives.

        • 2wheels

          Sometimes it is that almost crazy… Just depends on the particular type of ordnance you’re dealing with.

          • PK

            I prefer the universal solution, honestly. Apply Vulcan SC, get to a safe distance, det. It’s just not always practical to blow in place.

          • jcitizen

            I’d think det cord would be a good improvised solution too.

          • PK

            A lot of times that won’t do very much. A conical SC, usually with a magnesium or other light metal liner, beautifully hole-punches the body of the mine/UXO and “improperly” sets off the main charge. Fragmenting sleeves get peeled open instead of shattering, and overall the intended kill radius just isn’t there, when you set something off in a way it wasn’t intended.

          • jcitizen

            Sounds good – I think I’d let a robot set that on the mine! 😀

          • PK

            A few companies sell more purpose-built devices for the drones. We tend to use a sort of water jet, pushed by a small explosive charge. The water cuts into the device and screws it all up. If it’s not serious military stuff, it works wonders.

          • jcitizen

            That must be one of the best. because if foils a lot of triggers and other situations with IEDs, mines, and other bomb devices. I saw as demo of one used on a trunk bomb that was stopped from going through a check point – it screwed up the car and the bomb, but no big explosion was evident; just a big cloud of vapor and dust. Works like a champ!

          • PK

            The best part is that based on the size of the threat, an explosive powered water jet can be scaled up or down. I’ve seen them hardly bigger than a marker, and I’ve seen them made to cave in and defeat a 54′ trailer all in one go, and all sizes between.

        • PK

          Now, if you said “secondary” instead, that’d be fine. I could use a slab of bulk secondary for a pillow, it’s perfectly safe. I only worry over some of the sensitive boosters and of course primaries.

          • Ambassador Vader

            Lol thats why I said primary, nice to see someone else who caught that.

  • Gary Kirk

    “This guy has some seriously big ones” That, or they’ve already been blown off so now he just doesn’t care..

    • PK

      Or, and bear with me on this, he loves his fellow man so much that he’s perfectly willing to do his absolute best to protect them by disarming such awful, awful devices… even if it eventually maims/kills him.

      If I could “uninvent” one thing in the whole world, I can’t think of a much better candidate than landmines.

      • iksnilol

        Agreed. Hate landmines with a passion. A bunch of them left here in Bosnia.

  • Joseph Goins

    Let’s play “Who Wants To Find Out If Land Mines From The Vietnam War Are Still Armed?”

    • PK

      Assume yes unless you make them safe. Always assume it’s a yes if it looks like ordnance of any kind.

      • Joseph Goins

        No. I’m going to wait until someone else makes them safe. That way, someone can tell his widow what happened.

        • PK

          Good choice. Explosives are no joke.

          • iksnilol

            Since you are an EOD person: What info do you have on bounding mines? I can only find fuses and whatnot that launch the mine into the air after pressing the prongs down. But in Bosnia here we have plenty of bounding mines that jump into the air after you remove your foot from the prongs. I can’t find any info on those.

          • 2wheels

            You’d have to be a lot more specific.

          • PK

            But it’s a mine, in the land, with a pressure fuze that fires on release. It also is a bounding type. What, you can’t tell me the model..?

            “I have a pistol, that shoots bullets, and it’s got a handle. What model is it?” wouldn’t help, either.

            It’s understandable for most people to be very unfamiliar with mines, of course, but it can get frustrating trying to help without being on site.

          • iksnilol

            Device in question is known as PROM-1. Has three prongs that stick up, when pressed down, nothing happens, when the foot is lifted off then it launches up in the air and detonates. Pretty common device in ex-Yugoslavia. Problem is, all the info I can find state something else: that when the prongs are pressed the device is launched in the air where it detonates.

            I just find it weird that such a common device has little/incorrect info on it online.

          • PK

            That’s the oddest thing, as all the examples I’ve had the distinct displeasure of seeing have had the conventional fuze and a bunch of trip wires… and MMM around them…

            But the fuzes I’ve seen work sort of like the Russian F1 but with three retaining balls instead of one, for 360° sensitivity. Any of the prongs move, at least one ball slips out and the striker is free.

          • iksnilol

            Probably isn’t a PROM-1 that I am looking for then. But similar, real similar, only delayed in detonation.

            Nasty crap one way or the other.

          • PK

            That type of mine has been made by many countries, in many variations, over many decades. Without examining one first-hand (no, thanks!) I really can’t help you out. I’m sorry about that!

            Please stay away from UXO, and be safe.

          • iksnilol

            Of course I stay away. Hate explosives.

          • PK

            Bounding mines suck and I hate them. The V69 can go straight to hell and I’ll be happy if I never see another one in my life.

            As far as exact models and differences between them, I’m not sure what to tell you based on that. Have you looked through landmine ID guides? There are literally hundreds of types in the world and with that very small amount of information I can’t give you even a general idea of what you’d be dealing with.

            UXOinfo dot com is a pretty good place to start, but mainly you’re just going to have to do loads of reading and research. A lot of public information is available on landmines.

          • iksnilol

            Thanks, I will check those places out. I only find it weird since it is a common mine, yet there’s so little and incorrect info on it available on it. PROM-1 it is called IIRC.

          • jcitizen

            I’d be willing to bet it is identical to the first rebounding mine I was aware of, built by the Germans in WW2.

          • DaveB

            Certainly I have never run across one of those delayed functioning mines in more than 30 years of land mine and UXO clearance. I am at a loss to explain what would be gained by that fuze, over a more conventional one. Think about it – you step on the trigger and nothing happens until you lift your foot – so you have as long as you are standing there to warn your mates that they are in a minefield and to clear a way out of it. Does anybody really see a scenario where that is better than having it detonate immediately – taking not only the guy that stood on it but several of his mates as well? It makes no sense, and designers of mines aren’t likely to bother with anything that offers no distinct advantages. Frankly the only place it makes sense is on TV and movies where they want to artificially raise the tension level. Not saying I am the fount of all knowledge, but colour me sceptical.

          • iksnilol

            Something about being more effective due to it launching in the air without anything in the way.

          • DaveB

            Sorry, still sounds like an urban myth to me. Like I said, 30 years and I never saw one. Those of us in the business talk to one-another, and I have never even talked to anybody who has ever seen one.

  • PK

    If you’re just now getting into EOD/UXO videos, wait until you find the good footage. This is only the start, you’ll see what I mean!

    • iksnilol

      EOD folks are crazy.

      You sorta have to be to be one. Source: I know a bunch of them.

      • PK

        Not crazy, come on. Passionate.

        And a bit crazy, yeah.

        • iksnilol

          Definitely crazy.

          I like them though. Not many are that brave.

          • jcitizen

            I always felt stupid after playing with high explosive – but I always got over it, and stepped up to the plate again. (notice I didn’t say stepped ON the plate – heh! heh!)

      • claymore

        HEY I resemble that remark

        • iksnilol

          Well, you can’t argue that you’re sane if you poke and hit unstable high explosives on a daily basis, now can you? 😛

          But the world benefits greatly from these people smacking around 50 year old tin cans of death. So we applaud them.

          • claymore

            Dude MOST high explosives will just play DEAD it you hit or poke them. In MOST cases they need a detonator to made them do anything. You never lit a chunk of C-4 to cook your rats?

          • iksnilol

            I have never had a chunk of C4.

            I know, I know, but still, I presume that an UXO is still armed. So I am not keen on poking or banging on it.

        • PK

          You and me both, brother.

      • Hokum

        No, it’s just the confidence B-)

  • Major Tom

    I’m pretty sure he realizes a bomb suit wouldn’t save him if he sets off a landmine of that type.

    • DIR911911 .

      not too mention he’d probably die of heat exhaustion wearing a bomb suit in that jungle

      • Major Tom

        I’ve heard from EOD guys that the bomb suit is all but unbearable in the desert, throw in 90% or higher humidity into the mix at similar temps and you’d pretty much get a repeat of that scene from The Hurt Locker where he rips off all his stuff. (“F*ck it, if I’m gonna die defusing this thing, at least I want to do it more comfortably!”)

        • 2wheels

          It’s pretty terrible even in moderate temperatures. You definitely don’t want to wear it any longer than you have to.

          • jp2336

            Lemme go off-track for a sec. I feel like one of “those old farts”, damnnit. So I’m now nearly 6 yrs removed from the field/Mil (med ret MC), and while I made more excuses to NOT wear the bombsuit (which I never wore one time in 5 deployments)…though there were some times it would have been smart-er. But the EOD 10 is a very nice piece of gear with a MUCH more improved cooling system and streamlined overall; as much as you can streamline a figgin’ 80+ bombsuit. Check it out if you haven’t yet.

  • john huscio

    I salute you Mr brassballs.

  • Robert Morrison

    “Crazy! Wow! You won’t believe what happens next!” These headlines are really cheapening the website. Why not something more like “Cambodian man shows how to deactivate a landmine”?

    • PK

      At least none of it is randomly all-caps words. This title doesn’t bother me as much as those did.

  • Anton Gray Basson

    Most deminers use a similar level of equipment. Some are lucky and get a token face shield or piece of soft amour, I think it is crazy that they arent as well equipped as they should be.

    • iksnilol

      Eh, you’re screwed even with one of this big EOD suits. You’ll still lose your hands.

      • PK

        Well, yeah, you have to have hands free to deal with delicate mechanisms. It’s either bare hands or remote waldoes/robots, these days.

      • Anton Gray Basson

        True but it helps you survive when things dont explode in your hands, when it burns instead of exploding or when they do explode and you prefer living despite being crippled. And the large EOD suits arent suited for demining but end of the day there are many 3rd world deminers going to work bare foot and without first aid.
        I am in awe of them, they are incredibly brave .

  • Becklopedia

    Or an alternate headline:
    “Competent Demining Tech uses PURPOSE BUILT DISARMING WRENCH to open the booster port and off camera uses same disarming wrench to open the detonator port prior to disassembling a Soviet PMN-2 anti-personnel mine with a leatherman”.
    Seriously, the only thing he used the leatherman for was to remove the gasket holding the booster in and to disassemble the mine after it was already made safe. At the 59 second mark you can see the fuze well is already opened and the fuze removed.

  • ClintTorres

    Gotta love the crowd gathered ’round to check it all out…”Hey whatcha got there, Buddy?”

    • Goody

      They’re probably his trainees. Cambodian EOD techs get new trainees regularly, y’know to replace the old ones. 😉

      • jcitizen

        Heh! Heh! Replacements – they always expendable.

  • Giolli Joker

    I wish I heard about him before visiting Cambodia (amazing place and people, btw).

  • Klaus Von Schmitto

    I once worked for a former U.S. Army eod guy. Joe was in Berlin in the 70’s and he told me that the American and British bombs that they would dig up and have to make inert were no sweat. They had blue prints for those. The Russian bombs and artillery projectiles, not so much. I didn’t work for him long but I remember him as a guy who did not make sudden or rash business decisions, and in commercial software, that was actually to his detriment.

    • 2wheels

      The way it works with foreign ordnance, you gotta get lucky and secure enough examples to tear apart and experiment on.

      Obviously, it’s not always that easy to secure said examples…

      • PK

        The squirrely guys who x-ray and take apart new or novel ordnance and figure out procedure on disarming (if possible) have my absolute respect. I am constantly in awe of those guys, they’re leaps and bounds smarter than I’ll ever be.

        Anyone who has a step one in their job that reads like “secure and transport live, armed ordnance”, wow. I hate to think how many guys we lost figuring out the anti-lift fuzes.

        • 2wheels

          That’s a job I’ve always thought would be cool to have, though I’m not sure if I have the smarts for it.
          Getting to think up and test out procedures on unknown ordnance, that a challenge that would make me happy to come to work every day.

          • PK

            I know I’m not smart enough. It seems like a dream job, that’s for sure, but the guys who do it have immaculate safety records. One of the first to do it came up with a lot of the modern methods to examine novel ordnance, and he never had any failures. Brilliant man.

          • Nashvone

            “Immaculate safety records”

            How many people get the chance to make a second mistake in this career field?

          • PK

            In that particular line of work, which is working remotely for the most part, quite a few, actually!

  • valorius

    Doing that around kids is quite asinine.

  • Kivaari

    Westport (WA) a decade ago. A beachcomber finds a WW2 anti-tank mine. A local cop is called. He walks up to it, flips it over…and it didn’t go off. He was not too bright. The army arrived from Ft. Lewis and it went boom big time.

  • Goody

    I did a bit of temp work doing UXO detection on an old artillery range, we only found frag, bullets and some solid penetrators. Would love to do more of it if I ever get the chance.

    Digging up the bullets was pretty cool. 30-06 fmj in Australian soil at an artillery range, they never should have been there. My dream was to find 8 live rounds in a clip…

  • DaveB

    Well, they sure as heck never learned that from us when I was there teaching them how to de-mine! Sure he has gotten away with it so far, but it only takes once. Silly thing to do really. Why would you risk your neck? Just mark them and call CMAC (Cambodian Mine Action Centre).