Mighty Midget Grenade

Does anyone know what a Mighty Midget Grenade is?

Check out this auction:



See the 1979 S&W Crowd Control Catalog with information here: smith-wessonforum.com/smith-wess … ecial.html


Thanks Dave & Brian

I covered three different Mighty Midget grenades from the early 1970s in my Gyrojet book because they were used in MBA 40mm cartridges to be fired from M79 and M203 grenade launchers, in addition to the MBA 40mm Stun-Gun. From the top in the pic below:

Yellow. White Smoke
Red. Tear Gas CN
Blue. Tear Gas CS
Blue. Inert/Training
Red. CN, loaded in an MBA 40mm cartridge case.

When the safety ring was pulled, it yanked a safety wire from the grenade’s neck leaving just a thin copper safety wire in place. When fired from an MBA cartridge, the grenade would fly up to 550 feet, land nose first which pushed the roundnose plunger in, starting a 2.5-second delay. For close-quarters work, the grenade could simply be removed from the cartridge case, ring pulled, plunger pushed in “smartly” and grenade thrown into the rioters where it would function after the 2.5-second delay.

The grenades were actually designed to be fired from a launcher attached to the barrel of a S&W .38 Special M&P-type revolver as shown at the link above. MBA just adapted them for their less-lethal 40mm rounds.

Mel, what would stabilize the grenade in air to make it impact with the fuze top (striker) first?
As there is no stabilization features my understanding is that the shear wire is sheared off upon firing by inertia of the striker setting off the primer (the protruding one) and delay time starts running right from the very same moment.

Bruce, this revolver grenade and its launcher was designed in 1965 by the Lake Erie Chemical Co., and in 1969, after this company became part of Bango Punta Operations, Inc., it was offered under the “Mighty Midget” trademark. Later on, when the Smith & Wesson Chemical Co. was established, this device continued to be marketed under the S&W brand.

Here are some excerpts from a S&W Chemical Co. brochure (it looks the same shown in the link posted by Brian):



Also, here is a rare picture by the S&W branch in Germany showing the local police using this grenade:



kinda in my wheel house

The pistol is a lead filled “inerted” training gun

These kits are “two layers deep” with more grenades in the lower tray

IMG_0429 crop_zpsgsoi3w8s
a cardboard shipping box as well

EOD; Jeeze, who knew that we as a group had so much info and neat pics of such an obscure little thing. I claim no particular expertise, but as was explained to me, the plunger, being very light-weight aluminum, would not be set back during firing with the thin copper safety wire still in place after the ring was pulled. The top (front) of the grenade has more mass than the bottom, so it uses nose-heavy, mass stabilized construction to assume and maintain a nose-first, in-flight orientation. You couldn’t prove it by me; I’ve never fired one. But now, it might be interesting, and I have a bunch of them with the cup launcher for the S&W.

Pepper; what is the gray body with red label? And is your revolver barrel really filled with lead?


needed it for my SLICS display on tear gas, I asked the local Tech School if that had a plastic training “gun” (revolver) for the Mighty Midget launching cup. display (as you see it in my cabinet)

they said “no”

but they gave me one of their “pre-plastic” homemade training “weapons” that is heavy enough to be a wrist work out

finally you guys will trip my switch with some 'special purpose" chatter :)

tear gas is us ! … keep em coming fellas

gray w/ red label?..I recall…an inert training/practice round (I am away from the man cave right now)

Mel, I agree, we know very little. Firing one could solve the mystery though…

Fede, thanks for that image! I was not aware our cops (in one of our 10 states back then) used these at some point in history.

In the photo of the German policeman loading the grenade into the launcher it looks (to me) as if he is putting it into the tube with the plunger to the rear! Am I seeing this right?


Hmm, well observed! Doing it this way the gas pressure would overcome the shear pin - this way it would make sense then.

Is there a user’s manual for this launcher cup and grenades?

The German police is likely posing for the picture without keeping in mind its correct use, as the instruction sticker clearly states “Insert Mighty Midget Grenade in Launcher with Firing Mechanism towards gun muzzle”. This grenade was also equipped with a percussion delay fuse (2.5 seconds).

True! The section around the fuze is bigger in diamter, so it would not fit the launcher then.
I wonder why they made a statement of it.

Figured to dig into the files. Although undated, I believe the two “small” books are circa early 70’s and the larger 3 hole punched booklet & price list is dated mid 1982

HELP…I think photobucket has made mush of my brain

Some one tell me that the last two images do not contradict how to load the grenade…fuze in or out ???

Or am I not understanding “toward the gun muzzle” as “outward”…or is “toward the gun muzzle”… “inward” where the gun muzzle meets the launcher ???

I think I see the confusion here, thanks to Pepper’s paperwork and the instructions printed on the launcher’s label. The shooter is to load the grenade with the firing mechanism (aluminum roundnose plunger) “toward the pistol’s muzzle.” Clear enough. But … the pistol’s muzzle is behind the launcher, not in front of it, so the German policeman is in fact loading his grenade correctly with the plunger at the bottom of the launcher cup close to the pistol’s muzzle. This now makes sense to me, as the blast from the launching .38 Special blank would surely be enough to simultaneously push in the plunger to start the 2.5-second delay and launch the grenade out of the launcher cup.

I never talked to Mainhardt about this little detail, but maybe MBA loaded their grenades “backwards” in their 40mm cartridges because they wanted the safety rings and pins kept in place until just before firing for safety. When ready for use, it would be very easy for the shooter to slide the grenade out of the cartridge - it’s a loose fit - invert it in the cartridge case, and blast away. Or, if desired, the shooter could just slam the plunger hard against something and have 2.5 seconds to throw it at the rioters.

My grenade and launcher kit is in my ammo “bunker,” not very convenient. Maybe Pepper will confirm that the grenades fit well “upside down” in his launcher on display in his man cave.

Maybe this will be the final post to close the loop on the subject. I did go to my “bunker,” pull out my kit, and look it over. There is plenty of room for the slightly-larger-diameter base of the grenade to easily fit inside the launcher cup. The launcher has a .38 caliber (or slightly larger) hole in the bottom of the cup, onto which the small aluminum fuze nose rests. When the blank is fired, all of its force is directed on the aluminum fuze plunger, which pushes it in, starts the 2.5-second delay, and launches the grenade. The German policeman was loading his grenade correctly. Two other minor points mentioned in the instructions:

  1. The shooter should save the safety ring and pin after they have been pulled to arm the grenade. In case of a “cease fire,” the pin can be reinserted to make the grenade safe again.

  2. Regular ball ammunition can be fired in the revolver with the unloaded, empty launcher in place.

I don’t try to collect these things, but sometimes they just show up. If anyone reading the thread would be interested in having the kit, email me. I can bring it to SLICS '16.

Just to confirm what Mel has mentioned above, these are the operation details of the Mighty Midget grenade. Although the launching procedure using a revolver is not explained, as I understand the act of striking the manual striker against “shole sole, hoslter, or other firm surface” would be replace by the combustion gases of the propelling cartridge. I hope my assumption is correct this time…