You can hear shooting in the background. Someone is screaming, people are running around with guns. Our hero ducks down and pulls out a grenade. A catchy phrase and the hero pulls out the ring of the grenade with his teeth. Of course, the mission is a complete success. But wait a minute – reality is not like movies and that is actually very inaccurate.
Hand grenades used to be a very important weapon. They are still used today, but a close combat is not such a common thing anymore. However, grenade is almost like a symbol of an intelligent action, skill and luck. But film makers quite often squeeze ironic smiles from actual soldiers when they include grenades into their movies. First of all, the effective range of a hand grenade is quite small – you have to throw it. And it doesn’t have a lot of explosives inside. That means that it can only be lethal to enemies who are very close to the explosion sight. There is no ball of flames either – instead there is just a very short flash of bright light.
And you cannot throw grenades in a very high trajectory. You know what might happen? Your target is going to throw it right back if you are not careful with your aim. However, the most bizarre thing about grenades in movies is pulling out the pin with teeth – that is pretty much impossible.
The end of the pin is usually spread wide apart. This ensures that the pin will not be yanked out accidentally and will not simply fall out. Soldiers work in quite harsh environments and you certainly don’t want some branch pulling on the ring of the grenade in your belt. This spread out pin means that a hand grenade requires quite a bit of force – sometimes soldiers unbend the end of the pin just to make the ring pulling easier.
Of course, hand grenades are made to be used by normal soldiers – it cannot be too difficult. It is estimated that a standard American M67 grenade required 3-5 kg of force for its pin to be removed. Not too tough, but not suitable for teeth anyway. People also say that Russian grenades are more difficult to use in this regard. It means that you would need very tough teeth to be able to remove the pin from the hand grenade.
And then there are grenades that feature different detonation mechanisms. For example, the pin of the SFG87 from Singapore has to be twisted before being pulled. It is also impossible to do that just with teeth. And finally, there is simply no reason to even attempt that – you can pull grenades pin out easily and quickly with your hands.