Concussion Frags

"There ain’t a magical wall at 15 meters—had a hole punched in my cheek at about 90 meters over a year ago back on Ballast. Could’a lost an eye or even been killed. Remember when you hear that call or a thump to keep your head down.”

The hero dives behind cover, narrowly dodging several bullets and appearing to be safe. But it's not meant to be; an enemy mook grabs a frag from his belt, shouts "frag out!", and immediately lobs the grenade at the hero. He manages to crawl a few paces away before the frag erupts into a massive fireball, tossing the hero through the air; amazingly, the hero runs off, apparently unscathed except for a few burns. He just survived an encounter with a concussion frag.

Of course, this isn't how it works in Real Life. Real frag grenades throw shrapnel, with an injury radius of fifteen meters and the ability for individual fragments to reach out to 250; these fragments, of course, are no more likely to throw you into the air than a normal bullet (let us rephrase that...). The Hollywood portrayal of grenades are closer to concussion grenades, which rely upon sheer explosive force; this gives them a much shorter range than frags, which is why modern militaries rarely use them.

There are several types of concussion frags seen in media:
  • Grenades which are clearly frags explode into fireballs, while an invisible wall prevents the shrapnel from traveling more than two feet. Alternatively, the explosion may look realistic and have fairly realistic range, but somehow manage to blow things across rooms.
  • Concussion grenades are used as a type of stun grenade instead of being lethal. In video games, they'll likely act like a type of flash-bang with a different status ailment (like not being able to turn or move).
  • Concussion grenades are presented fairly realistically, but act exactly like frags in the same medium. This is common in games and movies set in World War II, where the Allied frags will have exactly the same effect as the concussive German "stick grenades".
  • Concussion or frag grenades have effects that neither of them has in real life; for instance, setting things on fire (although this may be justified if there is some sort of a fuel tank nearby).

Remember, this only applies to grenades that look like or are referred to as frags. If things are exploding when they shouldn't, the object is Made of Explodium. For stun grenades, see Blinded by the Light. May cause an Impairment Shot in video games. When frags are presented realistically, expect a bad case of The Coconut Effect.
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  • In The Rock, a mook, after about three seconds of "cooking", lobs a frag at Goodspeed, who happens to be in a minecart type container. After staring at it for about five seconds, Goodspeed throws it back, where it lies for another few seconds as the mook and his partner runs away. It detonates in a fiery explosion about three feet away from him, and, needless to say, nobody gets hurt.
  • In Act of Valor, every time one of the SEALs throws a frag, the explosion sets everything nearby on fire. Later, when two terrorists detonate their bomb vests, shrapnel is seen flying around the area; the two SEALs nearby get thrown through the air, but don't seem to take any shrapnel wounds.

     Table Top Games  

  • In most editions of Warhammer 40,000, frag grenades negate enemy units' cover bonus during a charge action. This could be because the enemies are keeping their heads down or taking other evasive actions to not be hit by the grenade or because this trope. Regardless the grenades themselves don't do any damage to the enemy units.

     Video Games  

  • Subverted in the 1999 Alien vs. Predator game, where marine characters can use a Grenade Launcher, which comes with several different ammo types - namely, Concussion, Sticky Mine, and Fragmentation. However, though the latter one throws out actual cloud of small fragments, its threat range is almost nonexistant (either because of engine limitations or game balance), especially when compared with two other Splash Damage grenades. You basically have to shoot one precisely at the enemy, exploiting the "explode on contact" mechanics; but if you do manage a direct hit, your target is in a world of trouble, since it's gonna take a lot of fragments at once.
  • System Shock almost gets it right. The main advantage of concussion grenades is that they do high damage that is consistent against enemy types (frags, obviously, aren't very effective against armored robots) - but that also have a significantly larger blast radius than frags for some reason. The sequel inverts this, with the "disruption" grenades having a smaller blast radius but, thanks to an oversight in the grenade launcher's upgrade system, do less damage than the standard frags.
  • Dawn of War: Frag grenades deal AoE damage (but only against enemies for some reason) and cause units to fall down.
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater seems unsure about what its grenades do. Sigint outright states that they frag, but actually getting hit by one results in a backflip and a burn. Hit an enemy with one, and he'll spend about two seconds in the air before bouncing around on the ground a bit. Humorously, the descriptions for the frags throughout the series generally states that they have an effective range of two feet. The grenades do, however, have a much larger blast radius when standing. Going prone will minimize their effect.
  • Halo: Frag grenades have a fairly realistic explosion visuals, but the explosion can launch vehicles airborne, making it a hard counter to the Warthog, and killing someone will launch them through the sky.
  • Played straight in Resident Evil 4, where the pressed-steel, generic fragmentation grenades blow enemies about 15 feet across the map.
    • Averted in 5 and Revelations, where they visually resemble real life concussion grenades.
  • Killing Floor 2 differentiates between the Support class' frag grenades and the Commando class' HE grenades. Frag grenades' fragments can bounce off terrain to continue travelling, and will pinball in tight hallways very lethally. They use different damage types (piercing and explosive respectively) that will have varying multipliers against advanced Zeds (for example, Scrakes take half damage from explosive, but full damage from piercing).
  • Downplayed in the Counter-Strike series, particularly the later ones - frag grenades have a reasonably large damage radius (up to several meters), and the "explosion" is mostly visible only through the shockwave kicking up dust and debris. Their lethality, however, is downplayed for gameplay purposes, though having one land right next to you is still pretty bad news, even if you have full body armour.
  • Due to some truly remarkable game mechanics in Operation Darkness, sometimes an enemy who is too close for effective use of a sword can be defeated with a grenade without injury to the thrower.
  • Averted in 7.62 High Caliber, as grenades have very small explosions and actually "fire" individually tracked projectiles upon detonation in an expanding cloud. The best response to an impending explosion that you can't run from is to drop prone, since the fragmentation cloud clears ground level in a few meters. It's also fully possible for someone within the casualty radius to be totally unharmed as the fragments manage to miss him, and they leave bullet holes in all surfaces perforated by the explosion. Fragmentation grenades mainly differ in how many fragments they throw out (and what range), and the time to detonation.
  • In the Medal of Honor series, both the American frag grenades and the German concussion grenades launch enemies across the room or into a backflip.
  • "Frag" grenades in F.E.A.R. have a visible and rather large-radiused concussion blast.
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. averts this. There's a fairly explicit distinction between the RGD-5 (concussion) and F1 (frag) grenades available. The F1 has a much larger blast radius and its pieces of shrapnel, much like in the 7.62 High Caliber example above, are actual projectile entities that scatter randomly, hurt living beings, and even leave pockmarks in the scenery.
  • The first Far Cry is quite guilty of this. Pineapple-style frags are called such, and yet their explosion is more akin to a stick of dynamite or pyrotechnic charge: lots of sparks and smoke, no shrapnel, and a pretty bad radius. Killing a human enemy with one is damn rare and difficult, as they flush out immediately after seeing the 'nade fying their way.
  • Averted with blackpowder bombs in The Age of Decadence, as there are both regular explosive bombs and a distinct schrapnel-filled variety.
  • Jagged Alliance 2 is a major offender, but then it's hard to find a weapon that doesn't have a strangely short range in that game.
  • Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix doesn't distinguish grenades too much. Doesn't matter what the grenade's description says, it will act like a concussion grenade, even if it's a thermite- or phosphorus-based incendiary, to the point where its explosion will shake the screen if you're close enough. The only exception is the M84, which is a flashbang.
  • Command & Conquer: Generals: A scrapped gameplay mechanic would have allowed infantry to stun and capture enemy infantry. The only remnant of this are the US Ranger's flashbang grenades, which do high splash damage to infantry, and are the US' method of instantly clearing out buildings (compared to China's flamethrowers and the GLA's nerve gas).
  • The Unreal series interestingly plays it both ways with its combination shotgun/grenade launcher in the Flak Cannon. The grenades fragment just fine, well enough to completely shred a target or two - so long as you use the primary fire to detonate the grenade right in the weapon and launch the fragments out like a shotgun blast. Secondary Fire, which launches the grenade out as an actual grenade, plays this straight and produces nothing more than a concussive explosion.

     Western Animation