Advanced non-lethal grenade

Includes blunt trauma and flashbang effects

Military Technology

Army engineers have advanced the capabilities of non-lethal hand grenades. The patented design is available to businesses for commercial uses. Contact TechLink for more information on licensing.

Non-lethal grenades have been employed by prison guards, law enforcement officers, and military personnel to temporarily disorient or disable individuals such as suspects, rioters, and combatants.

Generally, there are two types of non-lethal grenades—blunt trauma grenades, also known as rubber ball or sting ball grenades, and stun grenades, also known as flashbangs.

Blunt trauma grenades achieve cause a disabling effect by projecting rubber spheres at a non-lethal velocity. Flashbangs emit a 2.5 million candlepower light flash and a loud bang (~170-180 decibels).

Many of these grenades focus only on a single effect and not on any secondary effect that may be desired. Unfortunately, this may require warfighters or law enforcement officers to carry multiple types of grenades.


The main charge holder (20) has vent openings (201) extending through the cylinder walls and sized and dimensioned to balance the propulsive forces of the main charge thereby minimizing the propulsive force on the main charge holder and fuse assembly (14). This main charge (203) produces enough propulsive gas to break apart the rubber body and expel the rubber at speeds sufficient to inflict non-lethal blunt trauma. The main charge additionally produces a bright flash and loud bang which assist in disorienting the target.

Additionally, blunt trauma grenades are potentially lethal if the metal fuse strikes a human. The requirement to have the fuse eject without becoming a lethal fragment and remain functional across all conditions causes many production and handling issues, which reduce the reliability and increase the life cycle unit cost of each grenade.

The U.S. Army has addressed these issues with a new non-lethal grenade design that uses blunt trauma, sound, and light to disorient and incapacitate targets. The design eliminates the need for an ejectable fuse by balancing the gas output of the main charge of the grenade, which prevents the fuse from becoming a lethal projectile. As such, the grenade overcomes the safety, predictability, and reliability issues associated with an ejectable fuse. The complexity of operation is also reduced by eliminating the ejection charge and the need to have two independent fuses function cooperatively.

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