Grenades are powerful explosive devices with an average blast radius of 5 to 20 meters. The first grenades were used in Europe in the 16th century. Grenades are also a common part of the modern military arsenal. The military still uses them, but can civilians buy grenades?
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Civilians can buy grenades if they acquire the necessary licenses and permits. Grenades are classified as a Title II Weapon and require registration with the ATF. Sellers need a Federal Firearms License (FFL) or Federal Explosives License (FEL) while buyers need a Federal Explosives Permit (FEP).
Related: Can civilians buy flashbangs?
How Do You Legally Buy a Grenade?
Grenades are only available to those with the required paperwork. Most types of grenades are classified as destructive devices and Title II weapons, which are regulated under the National Firearms Act (NFA).
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) is responsible for monitoring the transfer of Title II weapons. The sale of a grenade may require the following conditions:
- The seller must possess a Federal Firearms License (FFL) or Federal Explosives License (FEL)
- The grenade must be registered with the ATF as an NFA firearm
- Buyers without an FFL or FEL need to obtain approval from local law enforcement
- The buyer must pay the NFA transfer tax
The transfer of Title II requires the filing of ATF Form 4, which also requires approval from a local law enforcement agency. The buyer’s local police department or Sheriff’s office will run a background check and can deny the application for any reason.
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Along with federal requirements, civilians need to review state requirements. California, Delaware, and New York prohibit ownership of Title II weapons. Several other states only allow Title II weapons that belong to the “Curious and Relics” category, which includes weapons made before 1899.
The government also imposes a $200 tax stamp on each transfer. Due to the high costs and extensive application process, most civilians are unlikely to qualify to purchase grenades. Law enforcement officials are unlikely to approve the sale of a hand grenade and there are no verifiable accounts of such transactions.
What Types of Grenades are Type II Weapons?
Almost all types of grenades used by the military are classified as explosive ordinances and considered Type II weapons under the Gun Control Act of 1968. The US military divides grenades into several categories:
Of these types of grenades, only practice grenades are available on the consumer market. Practice grenades, or dummy grenades, are inert devices that do not explode. The inside is hollowed out and contains a timed fuse. After throwing the grenade, the fuse emits a small, but audible pop.
Dummy grenades are made to resemble real grenades and are often used in military training. Civilians can find practice grenades from a variety of online retailers and army surplus stores.
Smoke grenades designed for the military are regulated the same as standard hand grenades. Sellers and buyers need the required licenses and permits from the ATF. However, several manufacturers produce non-military smoke grenades.
Civilian smoke grenades are classified as fireworks or pyrotechnics. They are often called smoke bombs. The Enola Gaye Smoke Grenade is a popular model that is available to citizens.
In most parts of the United States and the United Kingdom, civilians need to be at least 18 years of age to purchase smoke bombs. However, large smoke bombs, such as the Enola Gaye, are not permitted in some regions, including Canada and the state of California.
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Can a Civilian Buy a Grenade Launcher?
A civilian is unlikely to receive approval to purchase a grenade launcher. Grenade launchers are classified as explosive ordinances, as with standard hand grenades. Civilians need to file paperwork and receive approval from their local law enforcement agency.
How Much Do Grenades Cost?
The most used military hand grenade is the M67 grenade. The cost of a single M67 grenade in 2021 was about $45. However, that is the price that the Department of Defense (DoD) pays for the grenade.
Grenades on the black market sell for about $100 each. The average cost of a legitimate grenade sold through legal methods in the US is unknown, as there are no online records of the ATF approving the sale of hand grenades.