Pinned down, under heavy fire, the enemy steadily encroaches on your position. There’s too many of them, and you’re in danger of getting overrun.

It’s time to try a grenade.

It works in video games, it works in real life, but what about in airsoft?

Are they effective, should they be part of your loadout, or are they just a gimmick?

How do airsoft grenades work, anyway?!

In short – it depends on the type of grenade.

Read on to find out more, with plenty of tips and advice on airsoft “throwables.”

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How Do Grenades Work in Airsoft – In a Few Words!

For anyone in a hurry – here’s the short answer when it comes to explaining airsoft grenades:

How they work depends entirely on the type of grenade you’re using. But for argument’s sake, let’s assume we’re all thinking of the grenade that is designed to eliminate enemy players.

person holding an airsoft grenade

Commonly powered by Co2 or green gas, they can contain BBs, dried peas, or baby powder. Spring-powered grenades are also available. They can be timed, or primed to “detonate” on impact.

The contents are then expelled in a cloud, and everyone caught in the blast radius/hit is considered to be killed, and eliminated from the game.

Check out the differences between Co2 and green gas for pistols by reading the article at that link – which will give you an idea how they work in grenades, too.

What Are Airsoft Grenades?

Just like in real steel situations, there are several types of grenades that can be used in airsoft.

BB Scatter Grenades

Designed to simulate the same effect as a standard fragmentation grenade, these devices do exactly what they say on the tin – scatter their BB contents upon detonation.

Depending on the product, they each contain anywhere between 100-300 pellets that are housed within a plastic shell. The shell doesn’t “explode,” but rather allows the pellets to be released through an opening.

They can be timed, or primed to detonate on impact with a ring-pull action – not a million miles away from the real thing.

Some use a “spoon,” which is a device that ensures the grenade only ignites once thrown. As such, they can be very useful if you change your mind, and don’t want to throw the grenade, as the pin can be replaced.

Pyrotechnic Grenades

Designed to give off a flash, bang, smoke, or combinations thereof, pyro grenades aren’t for eliminating enemy players, but rather to disorientate them, or hide your movements and position.

They’re lit by either striking the head like a large match or lighting a fuse in some way, which will then ignite the black powder (potassium chlorite/lactose) contained within. Many also contain a dye to give off colored smoke.

Pryos are my preferred grenade of choice and can be great fun to use, giving your airsoft game the look and feel of a real war zone.

airsoft players holding guns amid smoke in forest

Blank Grenades

Relying heavily on the honor system, blank grenades are designed to give off a loud bang and flash, but with no projectiles – similar to a real firearm blank.

Players within 15-20 feet are invited to call the hit and are considered to be eliminated. However, as they use real gunpowder, they are not always legal. Check with your local field beforehand.

Inert/Dummy Grenades

A sneaky trick, inert grenades are fakes that do not detonate and have nothing inside. They are used to fool the enemy into believing the device is real, causing them to leave cover and/or give up their position.

Shell Grenades

Replica shells that require the use of a special launcher – read on for more information.

Airsoft Grenade Launchers

Aside from “throwable” devices, you can also purchase airsoft grenade launchers, which look absolutely badass on the battlefield, and can be very intimidating – at the very least.

They can either be a purpose-built, dedicated airsoft replica, or they can attach to your existing weapon with the railing system.

But how do airsoft grenade launchers work?

They use a mock 40 mm shell that operates in one of two ways – depending on the type of launcher you’re running.

A “shower” grenade is primed with gas and scatters a cloud BBs upon firing – without ever leaving the gun.

Not too dissimilar from many airsoft shotguns. Head on over to that link for some awesome “room cleaners.”

Great for CQB (Close Quarter Battles), with an effective range of just 40-50 feet, shower grenades are not so hot when targets are much further away.

Alternatively, you can use the launcher to fire foam projectiles, for greater range, and a satisfying noise.

Either way, if you’re running a dedicated grenade launcher, it’s a good idea to have a backup gun. Follow that link for some excellent sidearm options – and top tips on how to choose one.

At the time of writing, there are no airsoft grenade launchers that fire explosive pyrotechnics or scatter airsoft grenades – but that’s probably a good thing, right?

Check out the excellent video below for all you ever need to know on airsoft grenade launchers.

Airsoft Grenade Effectiveness

The jury is out on how effective airsoft grenades are – especially considering how much they cost, and the fact that many are single use only.

Sure, they add an extra bit of realism to the game and can be a lot of fun to use – particularly if you’re running a MilSim (Military Simulation) game.

But are they actually useful? Do they kill the enemy?

Yes and no, is the answer.

Perhaps even more than standard pellet shooting, there’s a heavy reliance on the honor system of calling hits – and many players simply run away from a thrown grenade and claim they escaped the “blast.”

Some grenades are duds – and they won’t fire or operate as intended.

This can be for any number of reasons, but is extremely disappointing in the heat of the moment – especially when you’ve spent a small fortune on it.

Having said all that, I like to have some pyros around for special occasions, and so long as you’re all on the same page when it comes to grenade rules – you should still have a blast.

airsoft military game players with assault rifles

Safety Considerations

Detonations, explosions, fragmentations…all this sounds like it could be pretty dangerous, right? This is supposed to be a combat sport – not actual combat.

And there’s no sugar-coating it – the fact is, airsoft grenades do add the additional risk of injury to an airsoft game.

This is why grenade rules change all the time and can be different depending on your local field’s in-house regulations.

Take a look at this article for more information on general airsoft rules and etiquette.

Hearing loss is actually the most common problem with airsoft grenades, as some of these devices can reach as high as 120-150 decibels upon detonation, which can be more in an enclosed space.

As such, it’s not recommended that such airsoft grenades be used indoors. Either way, you’re still looking at a device that is causing the instant equivalent noise of a jet going overhead.

Ear protection is advised when attending airsoft events that allow such grenades, which you should be wearing along with some awesome airsoft goggles, and the best airsoft mask you can afford.

Take care when using smoke grenades in confined areas, as while they look amazing, they can still cause respiratory difficulties if you breathe it in excessively.

When using any kind of pyrotechnics or “explosive” devices in general, care should be taken at all times, and so long as you’re wearing the right protective gear, and using common sense, safe fun can be had by all.

This article on what to wear for airsoft offers more advice for a safe combat sport setup.

Airsoft Grenade Tips

Below, you’ll find some additional tips and tricks when it comes to using airsoft grenades.

  • Always check field regulations before stocking up on illegal throwables – then you won’t be disappointed.
  • Never toss a grenade “blind.”
  • Call your hits – if a grenade lands next to you, you’re pretty much dead, so do the decent thing.
  • Throwing underarm is much more accurate (and safer) than overarm – unless you’re a baseball player.
  • Purchase good-quality airsoft grenades with reviews from experienced users. They might be more expensive, but they’ll be less likely to let you down in the field.
  • Deploy your grenades sensibly – and with input/contact with your team. That way you can maximize their effect with coordinated strategy, and not literally throw money away.


Do I need grenades for airsoft?

No, you don’t. You can get by perfectly well by running a good airsoft rifle and using skill and tactics to wipe out the enemy.

Unless, of course, you’re playing as the team grenadier – in which case you should be able to call upon some heavier weaponry.

Take a look at this article on the different types of airsoft roles for more information.

Do airsoft grenades explode?

The shell of some Co2/green gas-powered airsoft grenades will burst upon detonation, but don’t think of it as the same kind of effect that a real frag grenade is going to have – blowing lethal shrapnel everywhere.

The video below compares some of the best grenades out there – and you can see how they work in slow motion.

Can you make airsoft grenades?

You can – but I wouldn’t advise it. Playing with explosives should generally be left to the professionals, and most fields will probably ban homemade devices, anyway.

Check out this article on the best airsoft brands currently operating today – and that should point you in the right direction for good airsoft grenade manufacturers.


How do airsoft grenades work? It depends on the type of grenade – as there are plenty of throwable options available to add a new, exciting dynamic to your airsoft game.

Let us know your experiences in running these devices – do they work for you? Are they effective? How could they be improved?

Stay safe out there, call your hits, and happy airsofting!