One of the war or action movies’ staples is the hand grenade. You know how when the main character would pull out the grenade pin with his teeth, yank it to the enemy position, and wait for that fireball explosion. Bonus if he walks away without looking back as the flames engulf everything behind his back. While this was no question cool and badass, it’s inaccurate. In fact, there were quite a lot of things that are wrong in terms of how films depict hand grenades, and we’re here to point those things out.

A Quick Grenade History

First of all, we have to set things straight and know exactly what a grenade is. Like most of the ones that we have today, a grenade is made up of three components: an inner explosive charge, a detonator, and an internal striker to detonate the charge. All these three are held together with a lever and pin safety device. Depending on the purpose, there are different kinds of grenades available, although the most common one is the fragmentation grenade.

A quick tour back in history would tell us that the Byzantine Empire first used grenades. Theirs were small, pomegranate-shaped ceramic explosive jars filled with a combustible compound typically used during naval battles to burn down the enemy ships called Greek fire. It is said that it could be ignited even in contact with water and that the victims who caught its fire would still continue to burn even after being submerged in water.

Byzantine Hand Grenades. (Photo credit: Amir Gorzalczany, Israel Antiquities Authority via

The Chinese also had their grenades made of ceramic vessels with gunpowder and fuses inside, something that was developed sometime during the Song Dynasty from 960 to 1279 AD.

It was in 1906 that the first modern grenade was developed in Britain and was adopted by their army in 1913. When World War I broke out, it also prompted the creation of different hand grenade models throughout Europe.

Today, aside from the fragmentation grenade, we also have the high explosive ones, flashbangs, and anti-tank grenades, each with different purposes. Anyway, now to the movie errors.

Pulling the Safety Pin with Teeth

Has anyone ever really done that in real life?

The thing about the safety pin is that it was placed there so that the grenade doesn’t explode accidentally, which means that it is not that easy to pull one out, just like how the movies depict. If it were, then there would be a huge problem with its safety and reliability, especially during transport. Clenching that metal pull ring between your teeth and yanking on the grenade to release the pin, would probably cost your your front teeth.