How long do you count before throwing a grenade?
Pro Tip: You DON’T count before throwing a grenade – you start counting AFTER you throw it.
How Do Grenade Works?
Once you pull the pin out of the grenade it isn’t “live” just yet. If you’re holding it properly, the trigger (the long “handle” or “lever” on the side of the grenade) hasn’t been released yet and the grenade won’t detonate.
The image below is an internal look at the standard issue M26 grenade with the pin and trigger on the right side:
A thrown grenade allows the trigger mechanism to loosen and engage the internal fuse. Normally, you have about 3-4 seconds before the detonation occurs.
This is why counting before you throw isn’t necessary. You could be counting for a very long time if you never let go of the grenade…
Why Do You Count Out-Loud After You Throw A Grenade?
Counting after the grenade is thrown is meant to give your teammates (platoon, comrades, etc) a heads up on how long they have until the explosion.
By counting, you ensure that everyone finds cover, protects their hearing/vision, and knows not to run into, over, or around the grenade.
Hollywood Messes Up…
Most actors have never thrown a grenade before in their life so please excuse the inaccuracies.
You’ll notice many Hollywood Heroes hold the trigger while they count down to the last second. In real life, if you had a “hero” like this, you’d probably want to throw him along with the grenade.
Explosives aren’t toys. They’re not meant to be played with.