Arms manufacturer Nammo is looking to increase the Marines’ flexibility when it comes to next-generation hand grenades. Currently, many branches of the military are open to suggestions on the subject of better hand grenades, and Nammo’s MK21 Mod0 solution is modular.
The Marine Corps largely relies on the M67 Fragmentation Grenade, which is very effective as a “defensive grenade,” but it can be too much when working in close quarters. Nammo’s modular grenade is an “offensive grenade” which relies more on concussion rather than fragmentation for effect.
The benefit of a concussion grenade’s limited reach is also its major drawback. To get around this limitation Nammo’s design can be stacked or daisy-chained into much larger, more powerful explosives.
By using one charge the grenade works like a concussion grenade with very light fragmentation. Two charges provide a more standard “defensive” grenade explosive, and three — and even potentially more — grenades can be linked together “to destroy structures,” writes the Marine Corps Times.
Of course the primary purpose of carrying a smaller charge is to reduce collateral damage. By relying primarily on concussive force, the risk to nearby Marines, and in some cases civilians, is reduced.
The modular design gives the Marines who carry these the option of going bigger if needed, without having to carry different grenades for different roles.
“If you throw an M67 into a room it doesn’t discriminate,” said Pat Woellhof, Director of Marine Corps Operations for Nammo to the Times. He explained that a person exposed to a single charge will be concussed.
“And you know, they’ll wake up with a bad hangover,” Woellhof said. He added that two grenades tied together “Will kill anything in a room.”
This is not a guarantee that the Marines will adopt, or even begin testing the new explosives. But it signals the Corps’ serious interest in new options.
A few years ago the Army with the Marines started looking at a new binary grenade with an electronic fuse. In development at the Picatinny Arsenal, the idea is to have a single grenade with two charges, a concussive charge and a fragmenting charge.
Depending on how the grenade is armed, the soldier has the option of setting one type of explosive or the other.
Stacking explosives is not a new idea. During World Wars I and II German soldiers would wire the charges of multiple stielhandgranates together to tremendous effect. What’s old is new again.