Using Hand Grenades
Gary's U.S. Infantry Weapons Reference Guide


The importance of properly gripping the hand grenade cannot be overemphasized. Soldiers must understand that a grenade not held properly is difficult to arm. Gripping procedures differ slightly for right- and left-handed soldiers.

FM 3-23.30: Right-handed grip
Right-handed soldiers hold the grenade upright with the pull ring away from the palm of the throwing hand so that the pull ring can be easily removed by the index or middle finger of the free hand.

FM 3-23.30: Left-handed grip
Left-handed soldiers invert the grenade with the fingers and thumb of the throwing hand positioned in the same manner as by right-handed personnel.


FM 3-23.30: throwing
Since few soldiers throw in the same manner, it is difficult to establish firm rules or techniques for throwing hand grenades. How accurately they are thrown is more important than how they are thrown. If a soldier can achieve more distance and accuracy using his own personal style, he should be allowed to do so as long as his body is facing sideways, towards the enemy's position, and he throws basically overhand. There is, however, a recommended method of throwing hand grenades:
  1. Observe the target to mentally establish the distance between your throwing position and the target area. In observing the target, minimize your exposure time to the enemy (no more than 3 seconds).

  2. Remove the safety clip.

  3. Grip the hand grenade in your throwing hand.

  4. Grasp the pull ring with the index or middle finger of your nonthrowing hand. Remove the safety pin with a pulling and twisting motion. If the tactical situation permits, observe the safety pin's removal.

  5. Look at the target and throw the grenade using the overhand method so that the grenade arcs, landing on or near the target.

  6. Allow the motion of your throwing arm to continue naturally once you release the grenade. This follow-through improves distance and accuracy and lessens the strain on your throwing arm.

  7. Practice the necessary throws that are used in combat, such as the underhand and sidearm throws. Soldiers can practice these throws with practice grenades, but they must throw live fragmentation grenades overhand in a training environment.



Hand grenades are used extensively during combat in urban areas. Smoke grenades are used for obscuration and signaling. Riot control grenades are used to control civil disturbances. Fragmentation, concussion and stun grenades are used to clear the enemy from rooms and basements. Hand grenades are the most used explosive munition during intense combat in urban areas. In World War II, it was common for a battalion fighting in a city to use over 500 fragmentation grenades each day. Stun grenades are used primarily during precision clearing of an urban structure when the presence of noncombatants is likely.

Hand grenades are difficult weapons to use. They involve a high risk of fratricide. Commanders should conduct precombat training with hand grenades as part of normal preparations. Soldiers must be very careful when throwing hand grenades.

Offensive Grenades

The MK3A2 offensive hand grenade, commonly referred to as the concussion grenade, produces casualties during close combat while minimizing the danger to friendly personnel. The grenade produces severe concussion effects in enclosed areas. For this reason, it is the preferred hand grenade during offensive operations in a MOUT (military operations on urbanized terrain) environment. It can be used for light blasting and demolitions, and for creating breach holes in interior walls. The concussion produced by the MK3A2 is much greater than that of the fragmentation grenade. It is very effective against enemy soldiers in bunkers, buildings, and underground passages.

Smoke Grenades

The effects of smoke grenades in urban areas are nominal. Smoke grenades produce dense clouds of colored or white smoke that remain stationary in the surrounding area. They can cause fires if used indiscriminately. If trapped and concentrated within a small space, their smoke can suffocate soldiers.

Smoke hand grenades produce either white smoke or colored smoke for short periods of time. Because they only produce small amounts of smoke, smoke hand grenades are not effective for screening units larger than one or two squads. White smoke grenades are most often used to conceal individual vehicles; colored smoke grenades are used to mark or spot positions.

The AN-M8 HC smoke grenade produces a dense white or gray smoke. It burns intensely and cannot be easily extinguished once it ignites. The smoke can be dangerous in heavy concentrations because it makes breathing difficult and causes choking. The M8 grenade is normally used for screening. It produces a slowly building screen of longer duration than the obsolete M34 WP grenade without the problem of collateral damage caused by scattered burning particles.

Incendiary Grenades

The AN-M14 TH3 incendiary hand grenade is used to destroy equipment and start fires. It is used to damage, immobilize, or destroy vehicles, weapons systems, shelters, and ammunition. The M14 incendiary grenade is especially effective against flammable objects such as wooden structures. It is also used to create an immediate smoke cloud to conceal movement across a narrow open space such as a street. Its smoke is not toxic but can cause choking in heavy concentrations.

The AN-M14 incendiary grenade is an effective weapon against enemy armored vehicles when used in the close confines of combat in urban areas. It can be thrown or dropped from upper stories onto enemy vehicles.

Riot Control Grenades

The M7A3 CS riot control grenade can be used to control riots or disperse personnel. Urban areas often create variable and shifting wind patterns. When using CS grenades, soldiers must prevent the irritating smoke from affecting friendly troops. The CS grenade burns intensely and can ignite flammable structures. Enemy troops wearing even rudimentary chemical protective masks can withstand intense concentrations of CS gas.

Fragmentation Grenades

The fragmentation grenade produces a large amount of small high-velocity fragments, which can penetrate plasterboard partitions and are lethal at short ranges (15 to 20 meters). Fragments lose their velocity quickly and are less effective beyond 25 meters. The fragments from a fragmentation grenade cannot penetrate a single layer of sandbags, a cinder block, or a brick building, but they can perforate wood frame and tin buildings if exploded close to their walls.

Fragmentation barriers consisting of common office furniture, mattresses, doors, or books can be effective against the fragmentation grenade inside rooms. For this reason, a room should never be considered safe just because one or two grenades have been detonated inside. Fragmentation grenades detonated on the floor not only throw fragments laterally but also send fragments and spall downward to lower floors. Predicting how much spall will occur is difficult since flooring material varies, but wooden floors are usually affected the most.

The M67 fragmentation grenade is the most commonly available grenade during combat in urban areas. It provides suppression during room-to-room or house-to-house fighting, and is used while clearing rooms of enemy personnel. When used at close ranges, it can be cooked off for two seconds to deny the enemy time to throw it back. The fragmentation grenade can be rolled, bounced, or ricocheted into areas that cannot be reached by 40mm grenade launchers. Soldiers must be cautious when throwing grenades up stairs. This is not the most desired method of employment.

A major problem with the US-made fragmentation grenade is its tendency to bounce back off hard targets. Grenades are often directed at window openings on the ground floor or second floor. At ranges as close as 20 meters, a thrower's chances of missing a standard 1-meter by 1-meter window are high. The fragmentation grenade normally breaks through standard window glass and enters a room. If the grenade strikes at a sharp angle or the glass is thick plate, the grenade could be deflected without penetrating.

Stun Grenades

The M84 stun hand grenade is designed to be thrown into a room (through an open door, a standard glass window, or other opening) to deliver a loud bang and bright flash sufficient enough to temporarily disorient personnel in the room.

More Grenade Art

FM 3-23.30
Ammo pouch with grenades
TM 9-1330-200-12
Ammo pouch with grenades