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 AI Tornado Grenade

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AuthorMessage
Phantom
Lt. Colonel
Lt. Colonel


Male Number of posts : 189
Age : 29
Location : Kias, Baguio City
Team : STEALTH
Registration date : 2008-06-16

PostSubject: AI Tornado Grenade   Wed Jun 17, 2009 11:05 am

Airsoft-Innovations Tornado Grenade





Airsoft-Innovations (AI), the company well known for its propane
adapters, has introduced the first reusable airsoft hand grenade with
spherical BB dispersion pattern. AI claims that the Tornado Grenade is
"the only combat effective simulation hand grenade." In this review,
we will test its effectiveness and examine how it functions differently
from the other airsoft hand grenades.
Introduction
For the longest time, there was never really an effective
skirmishable airsoft hand grenade. The pyrotechnics based disposable
units are frequently banned from the fields due to safety concerns, and
the gas based reusable units are often inconvenient and typically
outright useless. From inconvenient-to-recover self-disassembling
parts to unstable timers to limited dispersion patterns, the current
crop of airsoft hand grenades are simply ineffective in most skirmish
environments. If the AI Tornado Grenade worked as advertised, it would
easily outclass the competitions.
Package Contents
The AI Tornado Grenade package includes the grenade, valve cover,
pull pin, valve key, and a detailed user manual, all neatly tucked into
a compact card board box. The grenade and accessories are further
sealed in text riddled plastic bags. A closer look reveals that they
are legal disclaimer clauses. Similar writings can be found on the
grenade body as well. We will discuss this a bit later.


Appearance and Construction
AI did not attempt to imitate any known hand grenades with Tornado
Grenade's appearance . The unit measures roughly 54mm (2.128") wide
and 130mm (5.122") tall with the valve cover installed. It is slightly
larger than the common fragmentation or pineapple grenades. It is
quite obvious that AI put the emphasis on functionality over cosmetic
appearance.
The grenade appears to be well manufactured and assembled. The
major components of the grenade unit consist of an aluminum core,
polymer valve shuttle, and polymer outer shell. The parts are finely
machined and molded without visible irregularities. There is also no
apparent sharp edges or burrs that could pose as handling hazard.
Design
The Tornado Grenade can be considered as a miniature gas powered
dual barrel shotgun. The interior of the aluminum core paired with the
central polymer valve shuttle and bottom valve cover actually creates
three separate gas chambers. The top most chamber is used for timing.
The large middle chamber is the gas reservoir. The bottom chamber is
the expansion chamber. The aluminum core's exterior combined with the
two helix grooved polymer shells forms the two barrels, which double as
BB reservoir tubes that hold 90 rounds each, or 180 rounds combined.
For a readied grenade, when the pull pin has been removed, the
polymer valve shuttle would start to creep upward. The timing depends
on the internal pressures, which are influenced by the temperature.
Once the valve shuttle reaches the top, the seal between the middle and
the bottom chambers is opened. The pressurized gas then expands into
the bottom chamber and vents through the two ports that lead directly
into the BB reservoirs. At which point, the BBs are forced out of the
helix tubes. The ramps at each tube exit redirect the BBs upward or
downward while the the grenade body goes into a spin from the opposite
tangent discharges. The combined effect of both actions is the
spherical dispersion of BBs.
Safety Features
AI has exerted a great deal of effort in designing and creating a
safe product, and it shows. To prevent propellant over-pressure, which
can produce unsafe projectile energy levels, AI implemented two
pressure relief valves into the system. If the internal gas pressure
exceeded the predetermined safety level for any reason, the pressure
relief valves would open to bleed off the propellant. Furthermore, the
grenade can be easily disarmed by simply taking off the bottom valve
cover, thereby preventing accidental discharges. To minimize impact
injury potential, the majority of the grenade is encased in the shock
absorbing polymer shell. All edges are also rounded. Even the
aluminum neck at the top has been covered with a rubber cap.
The safety features are all made to be relatively temper proof as
well. However, it would be next to impossible to completely prevent
user modifications. Furthermore, there is simply no way for AI to
prevent users from misusing the product. These issues bring us back to
the aforementioned legal disclaimers. They are there to remind users
to be responsible with their own actions. It does not matter how safe
the grenade was designed to be, in the end, the grenade would only be
as safe as the operator. AI supplied all the necessary safety
information on grenade operations in the user manual. So it is
advisable for the users to read through the manual first before usage.
Usage
Readying the AI grenade is surprisingly simple. There are a total of 8 steps that can be completed in less than a minute total:
1) Remove valve cover.
2) Open top plug.
3) Reset main valve with the valve key.
4) Insert the pull pin to the desired time slot.
5) Charge gas.
6) Close top plug.
7) Load BBs.
Cool Install the valve cover.
All steps are illustrated in the easy to follow user manual. Since
the grenade is powered and timed by gas pressure, the performance
unfortunately is affected by temperature. To make things easier for
everyone, AI provided a nice chart in the manual detailing the
pressures and resultant delay times of propane and HFC134a under the
different temperatures.
Once the grenade is readied, using it cannot be any simpler. Just
pull the pin and toss/roll the grenade towards the enemy. There are no
parts to lose since the main grenade unit is effectively single piece.
This makes retrieval extremely convenient.
Performance
I should mention that lubrication is vital to the Tornado Grenade's
timer performance. Without the frequent lubrication, the timer would
become prolonged and unpredictable. I find it best to service the
polymer valve shuttle every 5 or 6 grenade discharges with 2 drops of
silicone oil as indicated in the user manual. It ensures that the
timer would maintain its consistency.
Due to the way that the Tornado Grenade functions, the velocities of
its 180 projectiles vary from start to finish. Thanks to the pressure
relief valves though, the projectile velocities really cannot go much
higher than the listed 65 ft/s - 137 ft/s using 0.2g BBs. Repeated
attempts at warming the grenade to achieve higher internal pressure in
order to increase the projectile velocity always resulted in venting
from the relief valves. At the short engagement distances that the
grenade was designed for, higher velocities are really unnecessary
anyway. Even with the relatively low energy output, the grenade filled
with propane still provided a respectable effective blast radius of
roughly 8 feet and a circular coverage area of about 200 square feet,
enough to completely blanket a small room. Farther than that, the
chance of impact decreases, and any impact would be less noticeable.
The grenade's safe low power output does present some challenges
though. In environments with tall grass or other thick vegetation, the
projectiles simply do not have enough energy to punch through the
obstacles. As such, ground discharge in such environments would be
ineffective.
Another notable issue with the grenade is its
functional requirement of spin. In most indoor environments with few
furnishings, the grenade would have no trouble spewing rounds in all
directions as advertised. Once we move to the outdoor environment,
ground discharge could become problematic depending on the terrain.
The grenade's spin motion could easily be hindered by mud, exposed tree
roots, and other environmental obstacles that could trap the grenade.
Once the grenade's spin rate is reduced or even completely stopped, the
projectile spread pattern becomes limited as well, thereby reducing the
grenade's effectiveness.
Thankfully, the AI Tornado Grenade has an airburst feature that
remedies both issues. Airburst, as the name states, discharges the
grenade in mid-air. The feature is accessible either by setting the
pull pin location to the 1.5s slot, or by simply "cooking" the
grenade. The shorter timer causes the grenade to discharge before it
lands from a toss. Since there is nothing to block the projectiles nor
to disrupt the grenade spin in mid-air, the grenade retains its optimal
performance in spherical spread and coverage. The feature is also
great for engaging targets hiding behind covers.
Do note that the airburst feature can be just as effective on
operator. Since there is no safety handle, AKA "spoon," on the Tornado
Grenade, the timer starts as soon as the pin is pulled. So do not pull
the pin until you are ready to throw. With the summer heat, this can
be a big issue for those using the shorter timer setting. I had
several instantaneous discharges using propane at an ambient
temperature of 94F (34C) at the 1.5s setting. I have my own curiosity
to thank for those though. The manual states that the 3s delay setting
would produce 2s delay at 91F (33C) with propane, and I just had to see
what happens with the 1.5s setting. So there you have it, high
temperature plus 1.5s setting with propane equals no delay.
Conclusion
The AI Tornado Grenade is indeed the most effective airsoft hand
grenade currently available. It has achieved everything it was
advertised to do, provided that the users follow the
supplied instructions. It is the only airsoft hand grenade that
provides spherical spread. It has the largest discharge coverage area
as well. It is also the only airsoft hand grenade with a relatively
consistant timer. Even though the timer is affected by the
temperature, the Tornado Grenade provides a repeatable time
delay at each specified temperature. No other airsoft hand grenade
comes in close to its performance. The US $99.95 price tag may be a
bit high, but I feel it is justified by the design and build quality.
The Tornado Grenade's innovative engineering and performance certainly
stand up to the Airsoft-Innovations name.
Pros:
- spherical projectile dispersion
- consistent timer
- no loose parts to lose
- safe to operate
- durable
Cons:
- price
- temperature dependent performance
- requires frequent lubrication
- weak power output
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