Written on December 29, 2001
Pensieri di Who? We received a sample set of these new Airsoft fragmentation effect grenades, made by an Italian company by the name of Pensieri Di Leonardo (PDL). Even though PDL have apparently been making these 'effect grenades' since August 2000, sadly we have only recently found out about their existance.
Brief history Originally here in the UK there has only been one main solution for Airsoft pyrotechnics (aka 'pyros'), and that has been from a company known as Enola Gaye , who make 'pineapple BB grenades' (shown in the image to the right), 'mk5 thunderflashes', and various other pyros including smoke generators.
Now the Enola Gaye BB grenades are good, but there's room for improvement, and this is where the SoftAir Fragmentation Effect Grenade from Pensieri Di Leonardo (PDL) comes in. PDL are an Italian 'innovation' company that produce various obscure devices. They also make fishing lures that dispense maggots, to be honest I can't see the connection between BB Grenades and fishing lures, but I'm sure there's one there somewhere. Just don't get your order confused or you might be slightly confused when you receive your parcel.
So what's a BB Grenade? For anyone that's not used or seen them, an 'Airsoft grenade' is a pyrotechnic product that simply goes off bang, and sprays bits of its casing (the PDL version is primarily made of cork) and a few BBs everywhere. Although being explosive items they are no more dangerous than your average 'party popper'.
As with everything in Airsoft, they're completely non-lethal, and only used for dramatic effect, if you're near it when it goes off, a marshal will declare you 'hit'. The debris is simply for effect, you are normally termed as being caught by the grenade if it goes off near you, rather than if you've been hit by any flying bits of grenade.
The grenade is loud enough to distract, and they spread enough debris for effect while still remaining extremely safe. Please do take care with these items, although they are non-lethal, extreme caution is advised with their use (as with any other smoke or pyro).
Looks The PDL grenades sure do look better than their EnolaGaye counterparts. Thankfully they're not too realistic, and look rather like a WarnerBros cartoon version of the real steel items. It's such a pity that PDL haven't written 'ACME' on the side of the grenade, but not to worry there's always the trusty magi-marker!
As with anything Airsoft-esque, there are obvious advantages to items that don't look 100% real, as the average courier or postal service wouldn't be too keen on shipping grenade-like items.
Composition PDL grenades are very skirmish friendly, and are made of a solid cork/latex mix, so are almost uncrushable, this makes them great for crawling with them in tac vest chest pouches.
The grenades are completely bio-degradable and eco friendly, so woodland skirmish sites should be very happy with their use. The actual pineapple is made of a cork and latex outer, with the inner core filled with about 50 or so BBs. The core has a specially constructed cylindrical hole (running from top to bottom) through the centre, and open at the top where you insert the fuse/charge.
The fuses are produced independantly by a company known as 'Rocco Viviano Snc' (again in Italy) and are specially calibrated for both their delay and power.
Safety! These should all be common sense rules, and we highly recommend following these safety points:
Please do remember that not all skirmish sites allow the use of pyros, so do check with the site organiser to make sure that their use is acceptable.
18+ Pyros should be treated as fireworks and as such should only bought and used by people over the age of 18.
We also recommend that the use of pyros is carefully supervised, especially at woodland sites during the summer or other places where brush fires can be a hazard.
How to use them: So how do you use these blasted things? Well you get them neatly delivered in packs of three but it's not that obvious as to how exactly you are meant to 'work them' (at least it wasn't to muggins 'ere).
In a single box you get three cork pineapples, 3 long green sticks with yellow abrasive tips, and a wierd looking keyring thingy. Now my Italian doesn't stetch much past ordering multiples pints of beer and several types of pizza, so the few instructions I had were about as much use as a waterproof tea-bag.
So here's how you use them...
Video footage: We tested these at our local urban site recently during a skirmish, and they sure turned a few heads... and made a few feet scarper too! Sadly it's almost impossible to get a digital photo of one of these babies detonating - for one thing no-one wants to get that close with an expensive camera, and the camera shutter just isn't fast enough on my digicamera for quick snaps. Handily PDL themselves have some video footage of one being tested, which we've hosted here for you.
Cost As of December 2001 these new effect grenades from PDL are 6.43 UKP (9.32USD) for three (for individuals to buy), or 3.85 UKP (5.59 USD) to a retail outlet (when bought in bulk). PDL recommend that you purchase a minimum of 10 at a time. Given that they come in boxes of three, I guess they mean a minimum of 10 boxes (30 grenades).
Where to buy As of yet we know of no dealers around the world, other than PDL themselves. They will ship internationally, and they do understand emails in English, so it shouldn't be too much of an issue getting a few ordered. You may want to consider getting together with some buddies and buying a bunch of effect grenades at the same time.
If you are a retailer that is an authorised PDL distributor (anywhere in the world) please do let us know, and we'll put your details here.
Edit July 30, 2002: UK Stockists now include Flectarn.co.uk
Conclusion At £2-£1 each (depending on the quantity purchased) they sure give you plenty of bang for your buck (please excuse the really, really bad pun). The PDL effect grenade is a welcome change fom other types of pyro, and a truly innovative product.
I highly recommend using pyros during CQB skimishes as nothing clears a room faster than a BB grenade, and they increase the pace of the game somewhat. A team of four properly equipped men/women can effective take control of an entire building with minimal AEG ammo use.
BB grenades not only clear rooms, but confuse the opposition for a few seconds after detonation, which provides a significant edge during a fire fight. Remember that with normal rules if you're in a room when a pyro goes off you are officially hit.
In short, well what more can I say - we've tried them, and love them.
Some points of note though:
These products receive the Arnie's Airsoft thumbs up and come highly recommended.
Arnie's #1 tip - if you are on a budget, get used to throwing the odd grenade towards folks while screaming something like 'Fire in the Hole!' at the top of your voice, but don't light the grenades fuse. This has the advantage that people scarper as if you've thrown a 'live' grenade at them, and that you can run in after throwing the grenade and salvage it for later use. There are only one disadvantage to this theory is that folks can light the grenade and throw it back at you, or you can loose the grenade. Just make sure you watch where you throw it.
If you're on a real budget go out with a few grenades, and a few apples - as your average skirmisher won't be able to spot the difference of the projectile coming their way, and will tend to react the same to the apple as the grenade, although obviously the apple wouldn't normally explode. I'm kind of imagining that there are some really horrified milsimers out there now. :)
Arnie's #2 tip: Tape a piece of emory/sand-paper to the side of your primary weapon, of fix it to your load bearing equipment, that way you're not short of hands to light the pyro.
Common choices are either taping the top of an EnolaGaye grenade to the foresight of an AEG, or taping it to a lanyard string.
Street address: Pensieri di Leonardo srl via Senese n. 187 - Comune di Poggibonsi -SIENA - CAP 53035 - ITALIA
Tel/Fax: 0577983688 - 0349/7400913
Airsoft BB Grenades: An unfinished story part1 - By LT Macpherson – Green Mountain Rangers – North Eastern Air Soft group
Airsoft BB Grenades: An unfinished story part2 - By LT Macpherson – Green Mountain Rangers – North Eastern Air Soft group
Last modified: Tuesday, July 30, 2002 7:35 PM Copyright 2001 ArniesAirsoft