Stun grenades, more popularly known as “flashbangs” are heavily restricted outside of military and law enforcement usage in the United States, making it extraordinarily difficult (if not outright impossible) to pick any up on the civilian market.
That doesn’t mean you can’t find yourself a fully legal alternative, however...
Miami-based internet retailer IWA International now sells 3 unrestricted military-style flashbangs to civilian buyers.
These grenades are imported from UK-based manufacturer TLSFx Pyrotechnics, which builds and sells simulated munitions to a variety of customers including military simulation (MilSim) enthusiasts, as well as movie/television special effects crews.
- The M11 Multi-Burst: this grenade, as its name suggests, pops off three times (one loud bang, then two softer bangs) when the fuse detonates.
- The M12 Distraction Device: a little less hardcore than the M11, it only emits a single bang.
- The M13 Thermobaric Canister: while it creates a lower-volume bang than the M11 and M12, this grenade also conjures the brightest flash and a slight disorienting “overpressure” for people in the vicinity.
All three grenades, primarily constructed of cardboard with an arming ring and pop-off spoon, have a 2.5 second fuse and a minimum safety distance of 5 meters (16 feet).
According to IWA’s website, these flashbangs are targeted more towards customers who would use them for simulation purposes, especially professional tactical units (i.e. law enforcement SWAT teams, direct action training schoolhouses, etc.), as well as your friendly neighborhood Airsofter or paintballer.
You might be wondering how IWA can get away with selling these grenades to your average Joe, and the answer is actually quite simple without any legal loopholes involved.
Military-grade stun grenades are just a heck of a lot more powerful than the products IWA has on their virtual shelf.
The visual (flash) and the volume (bang) output of a standard-issue M84 stun grenade, in use with the US military today, is far greater than the smaller M11-13 series, which is only rated to a maximum sound level of 124 decibels.
Instead, these grenades are classified as pyrotechnics, even less powerful than a considerable chunk of fireworks one might find themselves popping off on the 4th of July.
Nixing the potential for lasting audiological damage or getting singed by the flash from a military-grade stun grenade, anybody unlucky enough to be on the receiving end of one of IWA’s flashbangs would still experience a significant amount of discomfort but likely not enough to permanently injure.
Because of their pyrotechnic classification, though, these grenades can only be shipped via ground transport.
IWA maintains a standing disclaimer on their site that they won’t ship these demi-flashbangs to Massachusetts, Alaska, Hawaii, Ohio and Illinois, and that buyers should first be up to date on their state laws regarding pyrotechnic articles before making the move to buy the products.
A quick heads up for our readers: IWA sold out its stock of flashbangs in record time, but they have plans to restock and continue selling the M11, M12 and M13s.
Ian D’Costa is a correspondent with Gear Scout whose work has been featured with We Are The Mighty, The Aviationist, and Business Insider. An avid outdoorsman, Ian is also a guns and gear enthusiast.