Continuing our occasional series on the pouches of the MOLLE system, tonight we are taking a look at the individual grenade pouch:The design of this pouch is very similar to the rest of the pouches in the system, with the pouch itself made from desert DPM, infra-red resistant cordua nylon, the top flap secured by a large black fastex buckle:As with all these pouches, there is a grommet in the base of the pouch to allow water to drain out:The pouch has a single tape loop inside, across the rear wall:This allows the handle of the grenade to be tucked in safely. Unfortunately I don’t have a modern issue grenade in my collection, but this 1970s drill grenade illustrates how the grenade sits inside the pouch:The rear of the pouch has the now familiar twin straps and press fasteners allowing the pouch to be secured to a MOLLE vest:The label underneath indicates the pouch was made in 2007, and gives its official designation and NATO stores code:This pouch would most commonly be used with the L109A1 anti-personnel grenade, a British version of the Swiss HG 85 grenade:The L109 is deep bronze green in colour with golden yellow stencilling, and a rough exterior comparable to light sandpaper, and a yellow band around the top bushing, and weighs 465gm. Markings give the designation “GREN HAND HE L109A1”, a manufacturers marking “SM” meaning “Swiss Munitions”, and a lot number. (Markings on the safety lever give the designation and lot number of the fuze.)
Intended for use mainly when fighting in built-up areas, trench clearing, and wood clearing, it is effective against unprotected personnel up to 10 m (33 ft) away, and protected personnel up to 5 m (16 ft). Once the safety pin is pulled, the grenade is live but so long as the fly-off lever is kept depressed while the grenade is held (and the grenade can be held indefinitely with the pin out) it can be safely returned to storage so long as the fly-off safety lever is still in the closed position and the safety pin reinserted.
However if thrown – or the lever allowed to rise – the protective plastic cover falls away and the striker, under pressure of the striker spring begins to rotate on its axis. This causes the safety lever to be thrown clear, the striker continues to rotate until it hits the percussion cap, which fires and ignites the delay pellet.
The heat of the burning delay pellet melts solder holding a retaining ring, allowing the detonator to move under the influence of a spring from the safe to armed position. The delay pellet continues to burn and after between 3 and 4 seconds burns out and produces a flash that forces aside a flap valve allowing ignition. When the flash reaches the detonator this initiates a booster charge which in turn initiates the main explosive filling.