PDL SoftAir Fragmentation Effect Grenade

SoftAir Fragmentation Effect Grenade
Di Leonardo


on December 29, 2001

Dimensions 10
cm high / 6 cm wide
Weight 80g
Range 4
metres from detonation point
Fuse 5
(9.32USD) for three for individuals, or 3.85UKP (5.59 USD) to
a retail outlets

Click here to visit PDL
Di Leonardo

di Who?
We received a sample set of these new Airsoft fragmentation
effect grenades, made by an Italian company by the name of Pensieri
Di Leonardo
(PDL). Even though PDL have apparently
been making these ‘effect grenades’ since August 2000, sadly we have only
recently found out about their existance.

Click here to visit Enola GayeBrief
Originally here in the UK there has only been one
main solution for Airsoft pyrotechnics (aka ‘pyros’), and that has been
from a company known as Enola
, who make ‘pineapple BB grenades‘ (shown in the image
to the right), ‘mk5 thunderflashes‘, and various other pyros including
smoke generators.

Now the Enola Gaye
BB grenades are good, but there’s room for improvement, and this is
where the SoftAir
Fragmentation Effect Grenade
from Pensieri
Di Leonardo
comes in. PDL are an
Italian ‘innovation’ company that produce various obscure devices. They
also make fishing lures that dispense maggots, to be honest I can’t see
the connection between BB Grenades and fishing lures, but I’m sure there’s
one there somewhere. Just don’t get your order confused or you might be
slightly confused when you receive your parcel.

what’s a BB Grenade?
For anyone that’s not used or seen them,
an ‘Airsoft grenade’ is a pyrotechnic product that simply goes off bang,
and sprays bits of its casing (the PDL version is primarily made
of cork) and a few BBs everywhere. Although being explosive items they are
no more dangerous than your average ‘party popper‘.

As with everything in
Airsoft, they’re completely non-lethal, and only used for dramatic effect,
if you’re near it when it goes off, a marshal will declare you ‘hit’. The
debris is simply for effect, you are normally termed as being caught by
the grenade if it goes off near you, rather than if you’ve been hit by any
flying bits of grenade.

The grenade is loud
enough to distract, and they spread enough debris for effect while still
remaining extremely safe. Please do take care with these items, although
they are non-lethal, extreme caution is advised with their use (as
with any other smoke or pyro).

Erm.. please don’t do this with a live grenade folks. Mike IS
a professionally trained idiot. :)

The PDL grenades sure do look better than their EnolaGaye
counterparts. Thankfully they’re not too realistic, and look rather
like a WarnerBros cartoon version of the real steel items.
It’s such a pity that PDL haven’t written ‘ACME’ on the side of the
grenade, but not to worry there’s always the trusty magi-marker!

As with anything
Airsoft-esque, there are obvious advantages to items that don’t
look 100% real, as the average courier or postal service wouldn’t
be too keen on shipping grenade-like items.

PDL grenades are very skirmish friendly, and are made
of a solid cork/latex mix, so are almost uncrushable, this makes them
great for crawling with them in tac vest chest pouches.

The grenades are
completely bio-degradable and eco friendly, so woodland skirmish sites
should be very happy with their use. The actual pineapple is made
of a cork and latex outer, with the inner core filled with about 50
or so BBs. The core has a specially constructed cylindrical hole (running
from top to bottom) through the centre, and open at the top where
you insert the fuse/charge.

The fuses are
produced independantly by a company known as ‘Rocco Viviano Snc’
(again in Italy) and are specially calibrated for both their delay
and power.

Safety! These
should all be common sense rules, and we highly recommend following these
safety points:

  • Never
    use the grenades near animals or livestock.

  • Never
    throw them directly at people.

  • Once the fuse has
    been lit, throw the grenade immediately, DO NOT hold it!
  • Store
    the primer (sandpaper or other ignition source) away from the grenades
    at all tim
    carry the primer in the same pocket at the grenades.

  • Use
    Airsoft grenades only for their designed use – Airsoft skirmishing.

  • Store
    them (longterm) in a decent steel fire/water proof box (an old British
    army 7.62 ammo tin should be fine, and can be found at your local surplus
    store for about £4).

  • Store the grenades
    in the dissassembled state with the green fuses removed from the cork bodies.
  • Store your grenades
    in a safe secure place (away form children) – treat them like fireworks.
  • Never return to a
    Airsoft grenade once it has been lit.
  • Remember if for whatever
    reason your clothing catches fire STOP – don’t run, DROP to the ground and
    ROLLOVER to put out the flames.

Please do remember that
not all skirmish sites allow the use of pyros, so do check with the site
organiser to make sure that their use is acceptable.

Pyros should be treated as fireworks and as such should only bought and
used by people over the age of 18.

We also recommend that
the use of pyros is carefully supervised, especially at woodland sites during
the summer or other places where brush fires can be a hazard.

to use them:
So how do you use these blasted things?
Well you get them neatly delivered in packs of three but it’s not
that obvious as to how exactly you are meant to ‘work them’ (at least
it wasn’t to muggins ‘ere).

In a single box
you get three cork pineapples, 3 long green sticks with yellow abrasive
tips, and a wierd looking keyring thingy. Now my Italian doesn’t stetch
much past ordering multiples pints of beer and several types of pizza,
so the few instructions I had were about as much use as a waterproof

So here’s
how you use them…

1 – assembly:
For safety reasons PDL supply the
grenades separately from the detonators.

To prime
the grenade, you peel off the little white round sticker that
covers the hole in the top of the cork, and insert the fuse
into the cylindrical hole cut through the middle cork pineapple,
leaving the very top of the firecracker (with the yellow tip)
sticking out.

Inside the
cork there’s quite a lot of white powder – this makes for a
nice air-tight fit, the sticker simply keeps the white powder
from falling out and making a mess (you can guess how I found
that one out).


leaves you with the fuse fitted nice and tightly inside the
cork, with the lower tip of the fuse very securely bound within
the centre of the cork shell.

The way
the grenade physically works is that the green ‘fuse’ actually
contains a 5 second delay fuse, and a small charge. When you
light the fuse it will burn for 5 seconds, and it will then
ignite the charge at the bottom. The charge creates a large
gas expansion inside the cork shell as it burns so quickly (in
about 1/8th of a second). It is this gas expansion that effectively
rips the cork shell into pieces, throwing bit’s of rubber cork
and BBs everywhere.

2: So what about that keyring thingy?
‘keyring thingy’, actually comprises of the keyring style
ring, attached with two loops of rubber to a semi-circular sprung

You actually
fit this strange contraption to the top of the cork shell (as
shown in the image to the left). Now with the metal ‘thingy’
fitted, you can now dangle the complete grenade from you webbing.
Great for doing those ‘Commando‘ impressions, now where
did I leave my black Speedo swim-trunks? The clip holds
it quite well, definately good enough for running, but probably
not for crawling.

To free
the grenade you can simply pull it away from the metal ring.
The clip will hold it quite well (believe me), so you might
want to make your own device to hold it, or just get used to
quickly detaching them youself.

3 – use:

To use the completed grenade, you simply light the fuse at arms
length, and throw the grenade in the desired direction.

You can
light the fuse, either with a simple piece of sand paper (I
used the top from an old Enola Gaye grenade), or with
a decent Zippo lighter. I recommend the use of sand paper, as
it’s simple, quicker, and much easier to see when the fuse is
actually burning.

Again, as
mentioned in the safety guide above, I highly recommend that
you DO NOT hold onto the grenade, but throw it
the second the fuse is burning. There is a manufactured 5 second
fuse, but there’s no guarantee that this is exact.

grenade is much heavier than other types, so you can lob it
quite far. As a round guide, you can throw the it about half
to a third as far as you can throw a tennis ball.

Video footage:
tested these at our local urban site recently during a skirmish, and they
sure turned a few heads… and made a few feet scarper too! Sadly it’s almost
impossible to get a digital photo of one of these babies detonating – for
one thing no-one wants to get that close with an expensive camera,
and the camera shutter just isn’t fast enough on my digicamera for quick
snaps. Handily PDL themselves have some video footage of one being
tested, which we’ve hosted here for you.

footage is in Windows Media Player format (ASF), and is only
145k, which is about a 30 second download on a 56k modem.

Filename Bomba.asf


Cost As
of December 2001 these new effect grenades from PDL are 6.43 UKP (9.32USD)
for three (for individuals to buy), or 3.85 UKP (5.59 USD) to a retail outlet
(when bought in bulk). PDL recommend that you purchase a minimum of 10 at
a time. Given that they come in boxes of three, I guess they mean a minimum
of 10 boxes (30 grenades).

to buy
As of yet we know of no dealers around
the world, other than PDL themselves. They will ship internationally, and
they do understand emails in English, so it shouldn’t be too much of an issue
getting a few ordered. You may want to consider getting together with some
buddies and buying a bunch of effect grenades at the same time.

If you are a retailer
that is an authorised PDL distributor (anywhere in the world) please
do let us know, and we’ll put your details here.

Edit July 30, 2002:
UK Stockists now include Flectarn.co.uk

£2-£1 each (depending on the quantity purchased) they sure give
you plenty of bang for your buck (please excuse the really, really bad pun).
The PDL effect grenade is a welcome change fom other types of pyro,
and a truly innovative product.

I highly recommend using
pyros during CQB skimishes as nothing clears a room faster than a BB grenade,
and they increase the pace of the game somewhat. A team of four properly equipped
men/women can effective take control of an entire building with minimal AEG
ammo use.

BB grenades not only clear
rooms, but confuse the opposition for a few seconds after detonation, which
provides a significant edge during a fire fight.
that with normal rules if you’re in a room when a pyro goes off you are officially

In short, well what more
can I say – we’ve tried them, and love them.

Some points of note though:

  • You
    do not get an ignition source with the grenades, this is most probably for
    shipping safety concerns, so you’ll need some sandpaper, or the top of an
    old Enola Gaye grenade to use them.
  • You
    only get one clip for every pack of three grenades, so you will want to
    save them up if you want to hang more than one from your webbing at a time.

These products receive
the Arnie’s Airsoft thumbs up and come highly recommended.


Arnie’s #1 tip
– if you are on a budget, get used to throwing the odd grenade towards folks
while screaming something like ‘Fire in the Hole!’ at the top of your
voice, but don’t light the grenades fuse. This has the advantage that
people scarper as if you’ve thrown a ‘live’ grenade at them, and that you
can run in after throwing the grenade and salvage it for later use.
There are only one disadvantage to this theory is that folks can light the
grenade and throw it back at you, or you can loose the grenade. Just make
sure you watch where you throw it.

If you’re on a real budget
go out with a few grenades, and a few apples – as your average skirmisher
won’t be able to spot the difference of the projectile coming their way, and
will tend to react the same to the apple as the grenade, although obviously
the apple wouldn’t normally explode. I’m kind of imagining that there are
some really horrified milsimers out there now. :)

Arnie’s #2 tip:
Tape a piece of emory/sand-paper to the side of your primary weapon,
of fix it to your load bearing equipment, that way you’re not short of hands
to light the pyro.

Common choices are either
taping the top of an EnolaGaye grenade to the foresight of an AEG,
or taping it to a lanyard string.

contact details
Street address: Pensieri di Leonardo srl via Senese n. 187 – Comune di
Poggibonsi -SIENA – CAP 53035 – ITALIA

Tel/Fax: 0577983688
– 0349/7400913

BB Grenades: An unfinished story part1
By LT Macpherson
– Green Mountain Rangers – North Eastern Air Soft group

BB Grenades: An unfinished story part2
By LT Macpherson
– Green Mountain Rangers – North Eastern Air Soft group

Di Leonardo

(in Italian) – You can find the translated
link here


– A great video of the PDL grenade in action

on this review in the forums

Last modified:
Tuesday, July 30, 2002 7:35 PM
Copyright 2001 ArniesAirsoft

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