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Types of Hand Grenades

The six types of handgrenades according to FM 3-23.30

The hand grenade is a hand-held, hand-armed, and hand-thrown weapon. U.S. forces use colored smoke, white smoke, riot-control, special purpose, fragmentation, offensive, and practice hand grenades. Each grenade has a different capability that provides the soldier with a variety of options to successfully complete any given mission. Hand grenades give the soldier the ability to kill enemy soldiers and destroy enemy equipment. Historically, the most important hand grenade has been the fragmentation grenade, which is the soldier’s personal indirect weapon system. Offensive grenades are much less lethal than fragmentation grenades on an enemy in the open, but they are very effective against an enemy within a confined space. Smoke and special purpose grenades can be used to signal, screen, control crowds or riots, start fires, or destroy equipment. Because the hand grenade is thrown by hand, the range is short and the casualty radius is small. The 4- to 5-second delay on the fuse allows the soldier to safely employ the grenade.

The six types of hand grenades are:

  • Fragmentation. These grenades are used to produce casualties by high-velocity projection of fragments.
  • Illuminating. This grenade is used to provide illumination of terrain and targets.
  • Chemical. These grenades are used for incendiary, screening, signaling, training, or riot-control.
  • Offensive. This grenade is used for blast effect.
  • Practice and Training. These grenades are for training personnel in use, care and handling of service grenades.
  • Nonlethal. This grenade is used for diversionary purposes or when lethal force is not desired.


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