Review text and images by Mark "Blondie" Ormerod.

There's times in every Airsoft conflict when its time to unleash the explosive power of a pyrotechnic. From clearing a bulding room by room to removing a stubborn individual from a trench or bunker - effective use of "bangs" is a skill it pays to learn to employ effectively. Whilst the tradional Mark V paintball style "thunderflashes" have their uses - for example, they'll continue to burn and detonate under water - they have an inherant number of flaws. The long fuse length combined with the trademark noise and smoke whilst it burns mean more often then not your quarry will simply vacate the area immediately or notice them and pull back under cover. They're difficult to throw over anything other than a short distance and wildly innaccurate. Once you've had one injury on site with them going off prematurely in someone's hand you'll not be as keen to have them around. They're also not cheap - even bought in bulk - prices on various sites range from £1.50 a pop to £3.50 - and you can guarantee that the time you really, really need the thing to work it'll be a dud.

So we turn then to an alternative which although initially requiring more investment work out as very economically effective in the long term. Essentially the grenade consists of 5 parts. The fuse - encased in rubber clad metal housing. The pin - essential obviously for keeping the thing from going off. A plunger - used to depress the firing pin and set the fuse. The blast cap - in which a 12 gauge - or with the use of the final part of the grenade - a 9mm adapter - a blank sits.

Operating the grenade is a simple enough process. Simply remove the blasting cap and pin. Using the plunger depress the firing pin until the firing lever rests in place and is tense. Push the pin into the hole above the lever and then release the pressure. The grenade is now primed. Simply screw in the blasting cap with your chosen concussion wave generating blank and you're ready to rock. To throw the grenade hold it tightly - keeping the lever pressed against the body of the projectile. Pull the pin. You'll feel the lever tense - trying to push itself out. Don't let it move - the moment you do, the fuse mechanism inside is realised and the firing pin will be triggered hitting the blank in the blasting cap in general in about 2 - 3 seconds.

The beauty of this method is that the fuse doesn't start until the grenade leaves your hand - its silent and generally too quick for your prey to take cover or evacuate even if they see it coming. Due to the weight and shape its also very easy to become adept in throwing the Dynatex accurately. Get 2 or 3 on your loadout and buiding clearance, trench attacks and weeding out stubborn oppposition in thick cover becomes second nature. Economically the Grenades work out at 25p a shot (12 gauge) and 16p a shot (9mm) - considerably cheaper - and with virtually no "duds". We've managed to source them for around £50 - so you've easily made your investment back even allowing for the most optimistic Mark V costs - in under a tub of 9's or 12's.

The grenades themselves are highly durable - although some discretion should be employed in throwing them somewhere you're unlikely to find them for obvious reasons. With regular cleaning and a dose of silicon oil they should last you many years. The main threat seems to be total immersion in water for several minutes - hence I had one whose fuse varies between 7 seconds and 6 minutes. This was cured by drenching the thing in silicon and leaving it on a heater for a week.

Overall, these are an extremely effective, cheap, silent and deadly alternative to the pricey and troublesome Mark V's. Adding as many as you can comfortably afford or carry to your load out is definitely a sensible option.



Mark "Blondie" Ormerod.

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