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Home » Misc. Weapons » Grenades, mines, mortars, etc.

Airsoft Innovations Tornado Grenade
Reviews Views Date product posted
0 19811 Sat November 22, 2008
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Description: Review: Airsoft Innovations Tornado Grenade
Author: Booligan
Published: 11-22-2008

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Click all pictures to enlarge

Table of Contents:
Real Steel History
Basic Grenade Information
First Impressions/Packaging
Grenade Specifications
Operating Procedures

Real Steel History:
While the AI Tornado Grenade isn’t based off of any actual model of hand grenade, its roots can be traced back all the way to the Song Dynasty of China, between 960 and 1279 AD, and the Byzantine Empire of the 10th century. Both of these civilizations found the practice of putting an explosive or flammable mixture inside of a vessel capable of fragmenting to be effective for anti-personnel use. The hand grenade has evolved substantially since then, and is even deadlier (or less deadly, if that is its designed purpose) then ever before.

This specific grenade could be considered a “Fragmentation” grenade, as it is designed to expel shrapnel (in the form of 6mm bbs) in a designed area and take out any targets in the aforementioned area.
(Taken from wikipedia.com)

I had met with Carlton Chong from Airsoft Innovations at SHOT Show 2008, and saw firsthand a product that I knew would change the airsoft grenade market. Since then, I knew that I absolutely had to obtain one of these grenades by any means possible! Luckily, (possibly to prevent a Booligan led raiding party up to Canada) Carlton was able to send me one of these beauties right before the general release, in May of 2008.

The grenades are currently available directly from Airsoft Innovations, at www.airsoft-innovations.com, and are priced at $99.95 USD, with shipping adding on another $15 or so, as they are based in Canada. I expect retailers to pick these up soon as well, but no word on if the price will change.

Basic Grenade Information
Frankly, this is the first airsoft hand grenade that I have used that I actually would consider using in a game. The PFI and Deep-Fire, and their accompanying clones and rebrands, are all flawed in their bb release methods as they do not have means to ensure consistent spread. The PFI shoots a relatively small amount of BBs (8x6mm) with a weak spread, due to the design of the exit port, and require replacing gas tank caps and “smoke” powder plugs to use properly. The Deep-Fire grenades require you to find the body panels after firing, have very low FPS of any BBs that may hit the opposition, only work in warm to hot environments, and sound like a maraca full of jumping beans when running, due to the loose bbs bouncing around in the plastic shell. Basically, AI wasn’t happy with the grenades on the market, and decided to make their own.

After a few years of R&D, what they came up with is this:
A hand held reusable fragmentation grenade that requires no replacement parts, carries a formidable BB payload, uses propane or green gas reliably, delivers reliable timing settings, and most importantly, offers a true 360 degree 3-D spread of BBs.

First Impressions/Packaging:
Airsoft Innovations has always delivered nice packaging with their Propane Adapter Kits, so I wasn’t surprised when I saw the nicely decorated and detailed box that the Tornado Grenade came in. Made of what looks to be post-consumer recycled cardboard (yay for environmentalism!), the box is adorned with illustrations of the grenade, some safety warnings, info about the grenade itself, and the all important “Made in Canada” stamp on the bottom, maple leaf and all!

Box Art

North American manufacturing FTW…

The Tornado came wrapped in a plastic bag with legal info about using the grenade, along with a pretty inclusive manual, and a pin/valve reset key, all stored in the aforementioned box. The manual has important information regarding proper function of the grenade, so be sure to read through it before use. If you lose your manual for any reason, it is available here in PDF form: http://airsoft-innovations.com/files/Tornado%20Grenade%20Manual.pdf

Contents, grenade is in plastic bag

Pin and reset key

Grenade Specifications:
Specs are as follows:
-Unloaded: 224 grams (0.49lbs)
-Loaded: 260 grams (0.57lbs)
Height: 5.25"
Diameter: 2 1/8"
Circumference: 7 1/8"

Externally, the majority of the Tornado is high strength glass fiber reinforced nylon, which has thus far been strong enough for repeated tossings onto concrete and flagstone, and I have no doubts to its strength yet. The body is matte black and has the Tornado logo as well as safety and reloading information molded in it. The internal mechanism is slightly visible at the top in the form of a top cap, complete with fuse assembly on top. There is also a rubber bumper to protect the fuse assembly, which doubles as the base for the delay plug, about which I’ll go into detail later. Inserted into the fuse assembly is the pin, which is attached to a pull ring, and has the valve reset key secured to it as well. Lastly, the bottom has a plastic valve cover which is a very important piece that allows for this whole crazy pile of parts to work, so it’ll get its own section.

First off, let’s talk about the body. As mentioned, the body is black glass fiber reinforced nylon, and has a logo and safety info molded in, and is actually two pieces. It is clear where the body split, but there isn’t a gap or seam like to speak of. Mostly, you can see the split by the exit ports for the BBs, as well as the screw holes where six screws hold the two sections of the body together. The body is interesting as it doubles as the barrels, so to speak, for holding the BBs. There are two coiled tunnels molded into the inside of the body, each of which holds 90 bbs, and their exit ports are designed differently in order to funnel the onslaught of BBs in two distinct cones, while spinning the grenade body itself, ensuring a 360 degree spread.

Asymmetrical exit ports

Safety and operation information

Nestled securely inside the glass fiber reinforced nylon body is an aluminum core, housing the gas chamber, timing system, and gas dispersion ports. Inside this machined aluminum core is a shuttle, made of the same material as the body, which is what makes this thing tick, so to speak. The shuttle is what moves while detonating, allowing the gas to move from the holding chamber to the BB coils. As this is the only moving part inside the entire grenade, it requires frequent lubrication, once every 2 firings. The shuttle also houses the gas fill valve which is obviously essential for this grenade to function, as well as the first of two overpressure safety for this grenade.

Shuttle in the armed position, notice fill valve and overpressure device right above it

Shuttle after firing, notice how it has slid inside the cylinder

The timing system is a relatively simple affair, using a rubber plug in the top cap as well as two selectable pin holes, which give you your choice of timer setting. The upper hole is for 1.5 seconds timing, while the lower is for 3 seconds. The shorter setting makes for an airburst weapon, or an unreturnable ground toss. You stick the included pin in the timer hole you would like before gassing up the grenade; a procedure I’ll go into in the next section. On top of the fuse is a rubber bumper, which protects the aluminum fuse tube, and connects to the timer plug. The plug itself is a small rubber nub which gets plugged into the hole in the top cap after filling the grenade with gas.

Pin in 3 second hole

Pin in 1.5 second hole

Shot into fuse assembly

The valve cover is a very important part of this grenade, as it allows you to render the grenade safe, whether loading the bbs, carrying it in a safe zone, or disarming a grenade after use. It has the second overpressure relief device, in the form of a plug that blows out of the cover above 170 PSI. I will go more into the proper safe handling of this grenade in its own section.

Valve cover

Overall, this thing is solid as a rock, but still relatively light weight. It’s a touch over 0.5 lbs loaded, so it is unlikely to cause injury if you take one to the body, but it may knock you for a loop if you take a header with it. This is why AI suggests a rolling or underhanded toss, not a lob. A lob is more likely to hit someone on the head, or possibly (but very unlikely) knock off someone’s goggles. The light weight makes a goggle knockoff difficult, but still, try to roll it or underhandedly toss it towards the enemy. Remember guys, you play with your friends, and want everyone to go home uninjured!

Operating Procedures:
I’ll now cover the steps for loading, using, and resetting the grenade.

Setting the valve
-1. Remove valve cover
-2. Remove plug on top cap
-3. Reset valve using the included key. Insert the key into the fuse tube on the top cap and push it down until it is at its lowest point.
-4. Choose delay and set pin.

Using key to reset valve

The valve is now set, so you must now gas it up. Gas selection is important, and is based on temperature.

For temperatures up to 91 degrees Fahrenheit, use propane/Green gas.
For temperatures above 91 degrees Fahrenheit, use duster gas/134a

Turn the grenade upside down, and using your AI propane adapter, duster adapter, Green gas can, or other gas choice, fill up the gas tank just like you’re filling up a gas magazine. It only takes a 2-3 second fill from an AI propane adapter to fill it up.

You can now set the rubber plug on the top cap. Remember to do this, otherwise the grenade will go off as soon as you pull the pin, with no delay at all, as I learned the hard way during testing! Allow the gas to settle for about 5 minutes before use.

You can now load the BBs into the two ports. I recommend using a large speed loader, not a pistol mag style one, as the pistol mag style one only holds 90 rounds, and will only fill up one port with each fill. I have found that two different methods are required to fill the BBs, one for each port. On one port, I could get the tip almost directly into the hole, which made loading easy. With the other one, I had to position the loading tube angled to the hole, at about a 75 degree angle for the BBs to feed into the hole. Once you have both tubes filled to the top, you’re ready to go.

You will notice that I didn’t say to replace the valve cover.

I’ll explain why in the next section.

Once you are in the play field and ready to go, screw the valve cover on, ensuring not to cross thread it, and you now have a hot grenade.


Using the grenade is as easy as pulling the pin, and tossing it towards the enemy. The pin takes about 7-8 lbs of force to pull out, so it’s unlikely that it will fall out. If it does worry you, you can loop the ring over the rubber bumper, like this:


With the 3 second pin setting, you have about 3 seconds before it will fire; 1.5 second setting will get you about 1.5 seconds of delay, obviously.

Extended delays can be caused by a few things:
1. Not allowing the gas to settle for about 5 minutes after filling.
2. Ambient temperature too cold
3. Using the incorrect gas for the temperature
4. Not properly lubing the shuttle every two firings

I’ve seen up to 10 second delays if you don’t let the gas properly settle for 5 minutes, as well as not lubing it, so you need to ensure you do both for proper timer function.

Interesting note: In temperatures of about 50 degrees, you get about a 3 second release if you set it to 1.5 seconds. With different temperatures, you can vary the timer, so be sure to test it at the ambient temperature that you'll be using it at.

So you’ve tossed your grenade, got out some people, now what?
First thing is secure your grenade, remove the valve cover, and store it until you can reload it. Make sure you keep track of the pin as well! Once you are ready to reload it, refer back to the original instructions for setting it.

AI put a lot of thought, time, and research into making this thing safe, so it is important that you follow the safety steps with this.

The main safety on this grenade is the valve cover. If the valve cover is not on, the gas will all expel out the bottom of the grenade, and no BBs will fly out. Since there literally is no safe direction with this grenade, the valve cover must remain off until you are in the playing field with everyone wearing eye protection.

There are two overpressure relief valves, one on the shuttle, and one on the valve cover. They are designed to vent the gas if it gets above 170 PSI, which is propane at 98 degrees F. As mentioned earlier, above 91 degrees F, switch to 134A or duster gas, and you'll be just fine up to an internal temperature of about 120*F, at which point, you should consider not playing airsoft outside, lol.

Do not attempt to thwart the safety devices. They are there to keep this thing from either causing injury to players from too fast of BBs, or in a worst case scenario rupture the outer body shell.

This is what it’s all about isn’t it? We all want a grenade that performs well, and happily, this does just that.
First off, the timer works perfectly, provided you allow the gas 5 minutes to expand after filling before use, and you keep it lubed.

About lubing; the manual covers it well, but to repeat the manual, put two drops of AI grenade lube into the cylinder with the shuttle in the “fired” position every two firings. This helps the lube to go down into the inner cylinder, which is what really needs the lube. For lube choice, AI sells lube specifically for their grenade, and they came across the specific formula after trial and error during development. It’s thicker than most other silicone lube, but still viscous enough to allow easy movement. I suggest just buying the lube from AI, as it’s only $6, and provides enough lube for 500 throws (250 lubings.)

AI Grenade Lube

FPS comes in between 65 and 137 FPS (first to last shot), tested using a novel method highlighted in their Youtube video here:

It is fast enough that you feel it, but not so fast as to cause injury. If someone wants to be heroic and dive on this, they will certainly feel it, but it won’t drill a 6mm hole filled with BBs in their chest.

The way this grenade works is that the grenade spins as it fires, flinging the BBs from the two ports in the body in two distinct patterns, giving it a pretty much 100% hit probability in a 15’X15’ room, provided the grenade is in line of sight with the target. If it is not in line of sight, the chance of ricochet hits are still high, as the bbs have enough velocity to bounce off of walls and the ceiling.

One nice feature of this grenade is the ability to set the timer to 1.5 seconds, and tossing the grenade underhand towards your enemy. If you time it right, the grenade will go off in the air, giving you an airburst effect. They have details of this on their website, including videos on Youtube demonstrating the technique.

In my testing, I’ve yet to find a blank zone, where there are no BBs flying, whether the grenade lands on its side, top, or bottom. If you’re within about 10‘-15’ if this grenade, and you can see it, you’re most likely going to get hit.

Sound wise, it’s not a bang, so much as a short “pshh” combined with a pop, followed immediately by the sounds of BBs hitting hard surfaces, including the floor. It’s a distinct sound; not particularly loud but is still loud enough to distract others in the room if they don’t get hit.

The only mod I have made is to attach a short length of paracord to the rubber loop between the bumper and the timer plug, to assist with pulling the Tornado out of my pouches. Speaking of pouches, I find that it fits nicely in a double M4 mag pouch.
Some Airsoft Innovations recommended mods to the grenade are to tie some bright ribbon to it to assist with finding a thrown grenade and using metallic permanent marker to label yours, so it doesn’t get mixed up with anyone else’s.


Fits in a double M4 mag pouch

Pulling it out with the NadePull

Truly effective spread
Reliable timer, if you confirm function with selected gas and temperature
Able to airburst
Easy resetting
No parts to replace
Able to use propane
Rock solid glass fiber reinforced nylon body
Aluminum internals

A bit pricy - $100
Slightly heavy - Over 0.5 lbs (I know I don’t want to get hit in the head with it)
Requires special lube
Doesn’t resemble an actual grenade
Temperature may affect timer, so test beforehand

If you’re looking for a functional airsoft grenade, buy this, plain and simple. It may seem pricy at $100, but honestly, if you get a PFI grenade, you’ll spend more in seals and powder disks, and you’ll have performance. If you get a Deep-Fire one, you need to worry about finding missing body panels, which are pricy to replace if they get lost or broken. When you look at the amount of R&D that went into these, the $100 price starts to look like a bargain.

I can say with no predisposition that there is currently no better non-pyrotechnic option for an airsoft fragmentation grenade.

Thanks again to Airsoft Innovations at www.airsoft-innovations.com, www.caoc-a.com, and of course, www.airsoftretreat.com!

Size comparison with KA 60 round 40mm grenade and Caspian Hi-Capa 5.1 Tac

Pick your poison...

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