Airsoft Innovations Tornado Impact Grenade
Throughout the years that I have been involved in airsoft, I have witnessed the evolution of the game. From the time when I started not long ago when we were happy just to use small pyrotechnics with loud bangs to simulate grenades to now more high tech gas grenades which leave no place for your opponents to hide.
The first time that I heard of AI or Airsoft Innovations was when they released their first Tornado Airsoft Grenade. I then found out that it was them who released the propane adapter so that players can use a cheaper option for their GBBs, which I thought was a great gadget if you can stand the smell of propane.
Airsoft Innovations is a Canadian based company that is run by airsoft players. They pride themselves on this as they know that being players of the sport they know not only what the player wants, but what an air softer needs as well. On their website, here is how they describe themselves: Airsoft Innovations is a company dedicated to providing the Airsoft Community with effective, well-engineered products that enhance the capabilities of the player as well as expanding the game itself. A company founded and staffed by Airsoft players, we know what other players want and need, we listen to the community, and we deliver.
So when I found out that Chris from Airsoft Innovations is sending me their latest Tornado Impact Grenade, I could not wait for it to arrive so that testing can begin
The waiting took sometime but when I got home from work today and found a packet lying quietly on my computer table, I knew that the Tornado has hit London.
The design of the Tornado Impact Grenade is probably the safest airsoft grenade design I have ever seen. The grenade is meant only to "detonate" on "impact" even after the pin is pulled. So there's no 5 second time limit.
OUT OF THE BOX
The Tornado Impact Grenade came in a white box without any printed labels so I doubted if this is the official box that the product come in. It does have though a small sticker on the cover which says what product is inside the box. Inside was a whole array of AI stuff; along with the Tornado, Chris also sent an Airsoft Innovations GasCan, a pressure gauge, lubricating oils for both the grenade and gas can and the AI propane adapter. Also included are user manuals on how to use each of the gadget.
I prefer going into a review with little information as possible on a product. I think this makes my review very honest on how a lay airsofter would see a product. With this in mind one can only imagine my reactions when I first saw the Tornado Impact Grenade in the "flesh". I grew up around military stuffs around me with my father being an Army officer. I'm used to seeing his gear in all it's military camouflage glory so when I saw that the Tornado Impact Grenade was bright red, well let's say that my first impressions were not so impressive.
Setting the colour aside for a while, the Tornado Impact Grenade is, what I would say, very impressively built. It looks very sturdy and robust...it actually looks unbreakable. On the top part, you will find the top cap which serves as the port where the pin is inserted. This port has a rubber covering around it which slightly protrudes over the top end of the port. From what I can see, this should protect the top port from any damage in case it hits the surface first. The grenade itself is not light so without this rubber, the top metal port with surely get deformed on impact especially if it will hit a very hard surface at high speed.
At the bottom part is a black plastic cap that also acts as the activator. So as long as this cap is off, the grenade will not activate even when the pin is pulled and substantial impact is delivered. Basically what this cap does is seal the chamber where the gas ports are located.
Inside the grenade cylinder is another device that serves to hold the gas in place. This, when the grenade is loaded, is held down from the top by the 4 trigger devices. These trigger devices are made up a 4 rather very small metal parts which go into the part of the pin that is inserted into the pin port of the top cap, more like a kebab of small metal bits. On the underside of this device is the gas inlet or priming inlet and a small black plastic switch which locks the device in place with the bottom cap is off. So when the bottom cap is placed, this presses on this lock and activates the grenade. Between the bottom cap and the place where the priming inlet and activator lock is located is a chamber where the gas outlets are located. The gas outlets feed directly into the chamber where the BBs are held and as the gas is released, the BBs are dispersed.
The BBs are loaded through 2 openings located on either side of the top part of the orange coloured outer skin. I found it a bit of a job trying to load the BBs. Doing this by hand is a definite no-no as it holds around 200 BBs in all. I was using a loader in a shape of an M4 magazine so I think the size of it made it hard. A pistol mag-shaped loader will probably be better although it would be good if AI develops an adapter for BB loaders to make this task easier and faster.
I am a bit unsure on how I feel about setting up the Tornado Impact Grenade. First of all the good thing about it is that it is very easy and very safe to set-up but then again it is not advisable to set it in-game as loosing any of the trigger components would render it useless.
Let me start the set-up process by looking into the GasCan. The AI GasCan is basically what it says in the tin, it's a canister where you can store your GBB gas. Now you may ask what is wrong with the normal canister that the GBB gas come in, well first of all it's bulky. Transferring your gas to the AI GasCan enables you to reduce the size of your gas canister considerably enough to fit into a vest or belt pouch. Also, it looks way lot better.
Filling up the AI GasCan is very easy. Simply charge it with your choice of gas, in this case AI highly recommends Propane since it's cheaper and easier to find, from the gas inlet located at the bottom of the canister as is charging a GBB magazine and that's it. AI strongly recommends that you maintain your GasCan by placing a few drops of their GasCan oil into the inside by removing the top cap. Do this before your initial fill and then after a number of fills as specified by the user manual.
The Impact Grenade itself is also very easy to set.
First, make sure that the bottom cap is removed. This will assure you that the grenade will not activate even if it has gas inside. Now, I'm not sure what is recommended but for me setting up the trigger mechanism is probably the first thing that I would do before loading the BBs again for safety reasons. This gadget depends a lot if not solely on the trigger components so at no reason should, in my opinion, set-up be done in-game or even within the skirmish area as there is a greater chance of loosing one if not all of the trigger components. These trigger components or mechanism that I am talking about is made up of four rather tiny metal parts. These small metal components have to be placed in correct order for the grenade to work. To do this, start by removing the top cap. If the grenade has already been used before, the trigger components will be found inside just as you remove the top cap. If your grenade is brand new, then they are somewhere within the package in a small plastic bag. Again very easy to loose so keep an eye for them. So, to set your trigger, you will need the pin, the top cap and the trigger components. First insert and secure the pin through the top cap. The pin should clip into the inner rim of port where it goes into meaning it should not come off even if you hold the pin itself. Next turn the top cap and pin upside-down and thread the trigger component through the pin in their correct order: fat pin, big half moon shape disc, small disc, thin pin. Now slowly insert the remaining end of the pin into the small hole on the centre of the inside of the grenade cylinder then slowly screw in the top cap. When this is done, your trigger assembly is set.
Next, charge the grenade with your choice of gas, which will most likely be Propane, from the other end. Note that aft charging, leave the bottom cap off. After charging and making sure that no gas is leaking, you can one load the BBs.. Again, it is easier to do this with a small BB loader. Load the BBs into both side holes, the grenade should accommodate close to 200 BBs.
When you are happy with everything, screw in the bottom cap and your grenade is now active.
HOW TO USE
Most, if not all, airsoft equipments are made to mimic real world military equipments. Same with airsoft grenades, they may look different but the principle will be the same.
To deploy the AI Tornado Impact Grenade, simply pull the pin then throw. Always remember that the grenade will not activate unless it impacts on a hard surface like a wall or a hard floor. It will not activate mid-air and it will not go off in your hands. So avoid throwing it against something that could cushion it's fall or impact say tall grass, thick bush, soft sand if playing outdoors. If indoors or CQB, avoid throwing it against a sofa or curtains.
The good thing about this grenade is that you are not restricted by any time limit, mostly 5 seconds for most timed grenades. The joy of this is you can pull the pin as early as you want, hold it as long as you like and throw it at the precise moment you think it will make the mos impact. It can also be set as booby trap if you can rig it to fall at the exact time your opponent enters a room, no need for trip wires.
Now, as I mentioned early on this review, the grenade that I was sent to me is orange colour which at first I was not really impressed on. But as I was going through the review I suddenly realised that bright red is actually the perfect colour for it. Why? Although the grenade also comes in black, orange is a very striking colour and can be seen easily. This will be very helpful in trying to locate a thrown grenade in dark room or even outdoors as the colour will surely stand out. And at around £80.00 a piece, I'm sure you will not want to lose one of these.
One of the most impressive features of the AI Tornado Impact Grenade that I found is its safety. First, it will not activate in your hand even with the pin pulled out. You can even shake the darn thing and it will not go off, but it will with an impact as minimal as 1 inch high, safe but sensitive.
Secondly, the pin is well secured as it is hooked into the pin port. You will need to squeeze the pin before it can be pulled out.
And lastly, it can easily be deactivated by removing the bottom cap, useful for safe zone safety.
All in all, the AI Tornado Impact Grenade is probably the best airsoft grenade in its class out in the market today. Looks, durability, usability and safety wise, it is for sure the best value for money airsoft gadget must have.
Big thanks to Chris of Airsoft Innovations for providing us all the stuff we used for this review.