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V-40 Mini-Grenade - Small Weapon, Big Impact

Tiny fragmentation grenade packed a big punch for the U.S. military.


V-40 Mini-Grenade - Small Weapon, Big Impact
Updated February 15, 2011

One of the most interesting weapons ever designed for the U.S. military was the V-40 mini-grenade.

Golf Ball Size

The V-40 fragmentation grenade was designed by Dutch engineers in the Netherlands. The weapon was in service with the U.S. and Canadian militaries from the 1960s until the mid-1980s. Commonly referred to by soldiers as the "mini-frag," the V-40 grenade was distinguished by its compact size. Each grenade was about the size of a golf ball. The actual dimensions of the grenade were 2.5 inches high and 1.5 inches in diameter. Despite its small size, the V-40 grenade still used a safety pin and safety lever which are standard on most regular sized grenades.

Deadly Explosions

Although the V-40 mini-grenade was tiny, it was still a deadly weapon. The grenade was considered lethal up to a radius of five meters. It was dangerous up to 300 meters from its point of impact. The steel shell of each grenade was comprised of 326 squares that produced separate fragments that flew out of the grenade when it detonated. These fragments were deadly on impact. The fuse delay on each V-40 mini-grenade was approximately four seconds.

Because of its tiny size, many V-40 mini-grenades could be carried by soldiers at once – making them an easily portable weapon. However, the small size of the weapon also made them extremely dangerous for soldiers who operated them. The short fuse time and tiny pins made the mini-frags difficult to handle and prone to going off unexpectedly.  

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