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A sponge grenade is a riot control weapon, intended to be non-lethal, which is fired from a 40 mm grenade launcher to cause confusion, or otherwise temporarily disable its target. As a single blunt force object, it is best used when aimed at a particular individual.

Sponge grenade projectile

The projectile weighs about 28 grams (1 ounce). It is bullet-shaped, with a foam rubber nose and a high-density, plastic projectile body.

Israeli Policemen carrying Sponge grenades against Bedouin demonstrators in Hura, November 2013

It is "less-lethal" munition round for a 40 mm M320, M203 or M79 grenade launcher that provides temporary incapacitation through blunt trauma. Minimum engagement range is 10–15 metres, and maximum effective range is 50 metres.[citation needed] Velocity at 50 metres is 200 feet per second.

Versions of these projectiles fired at a lower muzzle velocity are sometimes used in airsoft games,[citation needed] fired from replicas of the aforementioned launchers.[citation needed]


Potential for injury or deathEdit

If used improperly—such as at distances closer than 10 metres—injuries to the targeted individual could prove fatal.[citation needed] Used properly, the weapon is intended to cause no permanent damage, but may, in some cases, cause broken bones, head wounds or permanent damage to eyes.[1] Some sources claim that when fired at point blank range, there has been a case of a sponge grenade causing death.[1][2]

Demonstrator hit by sponge grenade in Ni'lin, November 2015

Use around the worldEdit


Israel has deployed sponge grenade against protesters on several occasions.[1]

Hong KongEdit

The Hong Kong Police has deployed sponge grenades as a riot control tool on several occasions in July 2019 during the anti-extradition protests.[3]

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit