Stun grenade

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M84 stun grenade

A stun grenade, also known as a flash grenade, flashbang, thunderflash, or sound bomb,[1] is a less-lethal explosive device used to temporarily disorient an enemy's senses. Upon detonation, a stun grenade produces a blinding flash of light and an extremely loud "bang". They are often used in close-quarters combat, door breaching, and riot control, typically to stun enemies or distract them.[citation needed]

Stun grenades were first used by the British Army Special Air Service's counterterrorist wing in the late 1970s,[2][3] and have been used by police and military forces worldwide since.[citation needed]

Despite their less-lethal nature, stun grenades are still capable of causing harm, and can injure or kill when detonating in close proximity. They are also capable of sparking fires.[4]


A stun grenade, thrown by soldiers during a training exercise, detonating in a small room

Stun grenades are designed to produce a blinding flash of light of around 7 megacandela (Mcd) and an intensely loud "bang" of greater than 170 decibels (dB).[5]

The flash temporarily activates all photoreceptor cells in the eye, blinding it for approximately five seconds. Afterward, victims perceive an afterimage that impairs their vision. The volume of the detonation also causes temporary deafness in the victim and disturbs the fluid in the ear, causing a loss of balance.[6]


Unlike a fragmentation grenade, stun grenades are constructed with a casing made to remain intact during detonation and avoiding fragmentation injuries, while having large circular cutouts to allow the light and sound of the explosion through. The filler consists of a pyrotechnic metal-oxidant mix of magnesium or aluminium and an oxidizer such as potassium perchlorate or potassium nitrate.[7]


While stun grenades are designed to limit injury to their targets, permanent hearing loss has been reported.[8][9]

The concussive blast still has the ability to cause injuries, and the heat created may ignite flammable materials. The fires that occurred during the 1980 Iranian Embassy siege in London were caused by stun grenades coming into contact with flammable objects.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Drugs raid recovers tonnes of cocaine and marijuana in Chile". Daily Telegraph. London. September 3, 2014. Archived from the original on September 4, 2014.
  2. ^ "SAS - Weapons - Flash Bang | Stun Grenade". Archived from the original on 2017-08-31. Retrieved 2013-05-29.
  3. ^ Bonneville, Leigh, The SAS 1983-2014 (Elite), Osprey Publishing, 2016, ISBN 1472814037 ISBN 978-1472814036, p.9
  4. ^ Nehring, Julia Angwin,Abbie. "Hotter Than Lava". ProPublica. Retrieved 2023-09-08.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ "Measurement of Exposure to Impulsive Noise at Indoor and Outdoor Firing Ranges During Tactical Training Exercises" (PDF). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2017-12-19. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
  6. ^ Functional Economic Analysis Model (Version 2.3) (User's Manual). Revision (PDF), Fort Belvoir, VA: Institute For Defense Analyses Alexandria VA, 1993-02-01
  7. ^ Tumbarska, Adelina (2018), "Non-Lethal Weapons in Domestic Law Enforcement: Some Legal and Ethical Aspects", 4th International Conference on Human Security, Belgrade: University of Belgrade, Faculty of Security Studies, Human Security Research Center, pp. 39–45, retrieved 2023-02-08
  8. ^ "'Stun grenades cause permanent hearing loss' - Local News | Kashmir Observer". Archived from the original on 2018-02-14.
  9. ^ Hambling, David (August 6, 2009). "Military Still Trying to Replace Dangerous Stun Grenades". Wired – via
  10. ^ Perry, Mike (April 30, 2020). "40 years ago the British SAS stormed the Iranian Embassy and became world famous". The SOFREP Media Group. Retrieved June 12, 2023.

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