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Pin-Pulling Teeth

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I hope Sgt Life has a good dental plan!note 

The tough guy takes out a grenade and pulls the pin with his teeth, then tosses it to kill a bunch of mooks. It's a common trope in action flicks and war films.

In reality, grenade pins are designed to be hard to pull so they won't be pulled accidentally. Attempting to pull them with your teeth will likely result in some painful dental damage.

Straightening the pin in advance to make it easier to pull is certainly possible (and easily accomplished one-handed) but it greatly increases the risk of mass casualty I Just Shot Marvin in the Face-style accidents so it isn't recommended outside of a dire emergency.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • Yuki Kaizuka does this in Aldnoah.Zero's final episode while Storming the Castle.
  • Black Lagoon in the episode "Eagle Hunting and Hunting Eagles" Revy starts off a grenade this way, killing two Neo Nazis in the process while on a submarine.
  • Fujiko does this in The Castle of Cagliostro during an escape. Her other hand is busy wielding an automatic pistol.
  • Cowboy Bebop:
    • Spike does it while fighting Vicious's men in episode 5, "Ballad of Fallen Angels".
    • He does it again in the finale, during his Storming the Castle moment.
  • Demon City Shinjuku. In the 1988 OVA Chibi (AKA the Young Man) pulls a pin from a grenade with his teeth before throwing the grenade at a demon.
  • Dominion Tank Police. Leona Ozaki yanks out a grenade pin with her teeth, then to maintain symmetry, shoves the grenade in the mouth of a drug dealer who's proving reluctant to talk.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Olivier Armstrong does this when she takes a grenade from a fallen soldier to attack Sloth, although in this case it's a masher-style grenade with a pull string.
    • Lan Fan as well during the assault against Father near the end (more noticeable in Brotherhood episode 62).
  • Golgo 13. In an anime episode Duke Togo encounters another hitman, who teeth-pulls the pin from a grenade (presumably to show he's just as cool as Togo) and tosses it back into the room where he just kneecap-interrogated a man. Duke shows he's even cooler by calmly looking at his watch, whereupon half the buildings around them blow up. Realising they're both after the same target the two assassins team up, whereupon we get a Split Screen shot of them both engaging in this trope as they toss grenades around.
  • Gunsmith Cats ups the ante by having the grenade held by the pin as well. It was only a Flash, however.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Batou does this a couple of times during the shootout in Kusanagi's mansion, though as a full-body cyborg his teeth might be a lot tougher than those of an ordinary person.
  • Also happens with the cyborgs of Gunslinger Girl during a Killing House training exercise. Less excusable when a terrorist does it in Ill Teatrino.
  • Hanaukyō Maid Team La Verite episode 7. While running away from a giant rolling ball, Ryuuka produces a grenade and pulls the pin with her teeth.
  • Done habitually by Clair Leonelli in Heat Guy J.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers:
    • Italy attempts this method of detonation but throws the pin while still holding the grenade in his mouth.
    • His brother does the exact same thing in a later episode, and Germany Lampshades this. Hilarity Ensues.
    • Germany himself plays it straight to demonstrate for Italy.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion. Done beautifully for Misato's death scene in the manga. JSSDF soldiers approach her slumped and fatally-wounded body; she turns her head towards them, revealing a pin in the corner of her mouth. Misato then shows her executioners the hand grenade she's holding.
  • Misato Tachibana does this in an episode of Nichijou.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica - When Kyoko grabs Homura to keep her from Flash Stepping, Homura pulls a flashbang grenade out of her Bag of Holding and pulls out the pin with her teeth, forcing Kyoko back.
  • Ryouko in Spiral does this in the Carnival arc, although it's mostly to serve as a distraction than to do any real damage.
  • In Tokyo Crazy Paradise, Ryuji does this on his way to rescuing Asago and Tsukasa in volume three. While driving and (unintentionally) blasting strangely appropriate enka.

    Comic Books 
  • Jenkins does this while fighting cyborgs in Atomic Robo #5.
  • One-shot Batman villain, called the NKVDemon did this after Batman broke both of his arms in an attempted Taking You with Me. But then the Russian police intervened, and he fell on the grenade in question.
  • A standard in Commando and other books of that ilk.
  • Stalker does it in Danger Girl/G.I. Joe #5 during the escape from Cobra Island.
  • G.I. Joe
    • COBRA operative Gristle does this in a Taking You with Me moment in Infestation 2: G.I. Joe #2.
    • Zartan does this when being pursued by the Dreadnoks in G.I. Joe: Special Missions #7, his other hand being occupied in steering his motorbike.
  • The Unknown Soldier pulls the pin from a grenade with his teeth in a hallucination/flashback to Vietnam in G.I. Combat #0.
  • Bolly Quinn is shown doing this is the 'meet the gang' page of Harley Quinn and Her Gang of Harleys #1.
  • Elsa Bloodstone does in the second issue of Legion Of Monsters.
  • Nick Fury used to do this back in his Howling Commandos days. The page illo on the Howling Commandos page even shows a member of the squad doing it.
  • An amusing variation in one The Punisher comic: Frank is blackmailed by an obnoxious journalist into being accompanied on one of his criminal-shooting sprees. While chased by Russian mafiya, Frank tells the journalist to bite down on the pin (as he's driving) before throwing the grenade. It looks painful, but not permanent (then again, being the villain of a Punisher comic, he doesn't enjoy their use for very long).
  • Black Widow does this in Secret Avengers #31 as she tosses a grenade into the engine of a plane, her other arm being occupied in clinging to the outside of the plane.
  • Raphael does this a few times in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles story arc "Body Count".
  • In Thunderbolts #12, Elektra's brother Orestez Natchios does this at a Hollywood party. He pulls a grenade from his pocket and pulls the pin with his teeth before throwing it into the crowd, forcing The Punisher to save the bystanders rather than chase Orestez.
  • Mockingbird does this during a snowmobile chase in the first issue of the Widowmaker mini-series.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Beetle Bailey, General Halftrack once tried to do this as a "This is how we did it back in my day!" demonstration, but just ended up throwing the still-pinned grenade along with his dentures.
  • In a PVT Murphy's Law cartoon, Murphy takes a grenade pin in his teeth and thinks, "This is how John Wayne does it! [beat] The Duke must have had a hell of a dental plan!"

    Fan Works 
  • Richard does this with an incendiary grenade in order to blow up a van in Dragon's Child.
  • Seven of Nine does this in "The Killer Dame" by Odon, a parody of the Star Trek: Voyager episode, "The Killing Game" in which Voyager's crew believe they're characters in a WW2 holodeck program. Fortunately she has Borg-enhanced teeth and thus doesn't need dental surgery afterward.
  • Ash pulls the pins of some grenades he stole from Kaiza and then blows up a bridge to keep the Cloyster from attacking him and Dawn in Poké Wars: The Coalescence.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • A Better Tomorrow II: Happens all the damned time in the final mansion shootout.
  • One of Deak's mooks does this in John Woo's Broken Arrow, due to one of his arms being all shot to hell.
  • Dobermann: When the Abbot shoves his grenade inside the policeman's crash helmet, he uses his teeth to pull out the pin.
  • Sammo Hung does this in Eastern Condors: dropping into the back of an army truck with two grenades in his hands, then pulling both pins out with his teeth and using them to hold the soldiers in the back of the truck hostage.
  • A tongue-in-cheek version occurs in Escape to Athena when a Greek priest takes a bite from a fruit, then throws it at the German soldiers. It explodes, apparently being a disguised grenade.
  • Lampshaded and Defied in the Peter Weller / Robert Hays film Fifty/Fifty. The pair are getting ready to go up against a large group of soldiers that have them pinned down, and plan to begin their counter-assault with a barrage of grenades. Jake (Weller) takes a grenade in each hand and pulls the pins with his fingers. Sam (Hays) had earlier been shot in the shoulder and held a grenade in his one good hand, attempting this trope. It doesn't work.
    Sam: (winces) OW! I damn near chipped a tooth! (to Jake) Here, pull this for me.
    Jake: (rolls his eyes and pulls the pin on Sam's grenade)
  • The Four Days of Naples: Even civilians can do it, as a teenager pulls the pin from a grenade with his teeth before flinging it at the Germans.
  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Ripcord does this before stuffing the grenade into the face of an armored Cobra agent.
  • The Great War:
    • Played with in one scene where Lt. Gallina pulls the pin on a grenade at his desk—but the "grenade" is actually an inkwell.
    • Played straight by Costantina, who grabs Giovanni's grenade and pulls the pin with her teeth during their Destructo-Nookie.
  • The Guns of Navarone. In The Film of the Book Andrea does this in the final battle; unfortunate for a movie that generally speaking tries for accuracy.
  • One scene from Hot Shots! Part Deux has Topper Harley doing this once he runs out of, quite literally, thousands upon thousands of machine gun rounds while being attacked by an Iraqi patrol boat.
  • The Human Condition: Kaji does this in the battle sequence at the end of Road to Eternity, as the Soviet tanks bear down on them.
  • Saito in Inception, as part of a dream sequence that invokes a bunch of action movie tropes.
  • James Bond
    • From Russia with Love. A SPECTRE mook does this while dropping grenades on Bond from a helicopter. Another mook is flying the aircraft, but for some reason he needs to have a grenade in each hand.
    • Thunderball. While Vargas is dropping hand grenades over the side of Largo's yacht in an attempt to kill a scuba-diving Bond, he pulls out the pins with his teeth.
  • Done in Kingsman: The Secret Service by the terrorist in the Action Prologue as part of his Pineapple Surprise. Cue Eggsy's father Jumping on a Grenade to save Harry.
  • Major Payne does this in response to Stone noting the cadets aren't in "a life-or-death situation." While the rest of the cadets run off through the training course as he starts counting down, Stone (and even some of the audience) assume it's just a dummy grenade he pulled to scare them. Cue Payne throwing it behind him and an explosion taking down a tree, with Stone falling on his face into mud in a panic.
    Payne: *with the pin still in his teeth* Who's the dummy now?
  • Men in Black II. While K is doing a Ceiling Cling in the MIB headquarters elevator, he uses his teeth to pull the pin from a grenade and drops it beside the combat robot that is trying to kill him. He swings out of the elevator and, after the door closes, the grenade destroys the robot.
  • Shows up in the controversial Errol Flynn WWII film Objective, Burma!, perhaps the only America Won World War II film made by an Australian. A number of WWII-era films compound this by showing both American and Japanese soldiers using this trope even though Japanese grenades operated in a different manner from American and British grenades (after a safety pin was removed, the grenade was struck on a hard surface to prime).
  • In the 1943 film serial The Phantom, one of the villains does this.
  • The Predator. Casey Bracket has to do this because one hand is handcuffed to a chair. The movie is something of a homage to The '80s action movies that spawned the Predator franchise, so some Rule of Cool is indulged.
  • Done by Leonard Smalls in Raising Arizona.
  • Clarence does this in RoboCop (1987) while playing Dick's recorded message for Bob, before leaving Bob in the room with the now-live grenade. He scores bonus creepy points by using his tongue to get the ring between his teeth.
  • Played with in Silent Movie, where Dom Bell dispenses a can of soda from a vending machine, removes its pull-tab with his teeth, and tosses it like a grenade, injuring one of the mooks with the explosion.
  • Loki does this in Son of the Mask... with a little tongue too. Justified since he has cartoon-style powers and is a literal god.
  • Starship Troopers. Dizzy Flores does this, then throws the grenade down a Tanker Bug's throat to destroy it.
  • Martin Short's character in Three Fugitives does this during the bank robbery. In the process, he rips his pantyhose mask.
  • Ahnold does this in True Lies, using a grenade as the opening shot of a huge firefight at the enemy's hideout after escaping from being captured. Guess he still had his Terminator teeth in place when he shot that film.
  • Done during the half-track assault in the otherwise quite realistic 1945 film A Walk in the Sun.
  • In the 2005 version of War of the Worlds, Ray spits out the pins of a couple of M67 grenades he uses to destroy a tripod.
  • In The Wrath of God, one of the "heroes" is mortally wounded but grapples his killer — then brings up one hand holding a grenade. Grinning into the other man's horrified face (at about four inches), he says, "Life is just full of surprises!" before pulling the pin with his teeth and holding the grenade alongside their heads. Boom.

  • Trapper does this in King of the Commandos, the first of the Gimlet novels by W.E. Johns (creator of Biggles).
  • In Icebreaker, James Bond takes care of one of the snow ploughs chasing him by dropping a grenade from his car's doorway, pulling the pin from it with his teeth.
  • Done during the climatic battle in the first Modesty Blaise novel.
  • In his WWII memoir Quartered Safe Out Here, George MacDonald Fraser notes the dilemma of safety versus being able to pull the pins quickly. Fraser also notes that if Victor MacLaglen, a British actor known for doing this trope in his movies, had done so during his actual army service in World War I, he would have left his incisors in Mesopotamia.
  • Richard Marcinko addresses pulling the grenade pin with your teeth in Rogue Warrior: Task Force Blue.
    Yeah yeah, I know you always see the hero pull the pin out with his teeth. Well you try it sometime, if you want to send your dentist's kids to Yale. Because the only thing you're gonna get if you try and pull a fucking grenade pin out with your teeth is broken teeth.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel. Wolfram & Hart's black ops unit tries to kill Angel, but are wiped out by Vampire Hunter Holtz, who ties Angel to a pillar to be tortured and murdered. Angel kicks a grenade (lying in the hand of a dead W&H mook) into the air so he can grab the pin with his teeth, then shakes his head violently to free the pin. Given that he's undead, he survives the blast and escapes.
  • Blake's 7. Played with in "Ultraworld". Dayna has a microgrenade hidden in a tooth, which she primes by putting it back in her mouth and adjusting it with her teeth.
  • Michael Westen does this with a remote-detonator-on-a-deadman-switch (his words) in the season 1 finale of Burn Notice.
  • Played with in the French-German mini-series Carlos. Carlos the Jackal shows his Venezuelan girlfriend a suitcase full of weapons. He places a grenade in her mouth, letting her tease the ring with her tongue and teeth, then suddenly removes the grenade from her mouth. The pin doesn't come out, of course.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Ace's nitro-nine grenades are made from scavenged aerosol cans, so they have caps instead of pins. In a possible allusion to this trope, the Doctor pops the cap off one grenade with his teeth in "Remembrance of the Daleks".
    • One of Morgaine's knights does it in "Battlefield".
    • In "Time Heist", Psy does this with his transporter locking pin while thinking it will kill him, trying to go out like a badass... only to scream in terror seconds later as it activates.
  • Ghosts: In "The Thomas Thorne Affair", Kitty is narrating what happened during Thomas' duel. In the flashback, Thomas suddenly pulls a grenade and does this (as well as his single shot dueling pistol firing multiple times without reloading). The scene then cuts back to the house to the reveal that the Captain has hijacked the narration and is saying what he would have handled that situation.
  • The Goodies references this trope when Graham bites the top off a pineapple which then explodes for no apparent reason.
  • R. Lee Ermey addresses this in an episode of Mail Call, pointing out how doing this is a good way to lose teeth.
  • In an episode of M*A*S*H, Frank pulls a pin out of a grenade with his teeth and spits it away before panicking and desperately searching for the pin.
  • Tested as a mini-myth on MythBusters. Busted as it takes ten pounds-force to pull the pin from an M67 grenade, which is enough to break or uproot teeth. While people have pulled grenade pins with their teeth (see the Real Life section below), it is certainly not as easy as the movies make it appear.
  • The New Avengers: In "K is for Kill: The Tiger Awakes", one of the Russian soldiers does this before tossing a grenade through the window of the Allied HQ museum.
  • Done in The Rat Patrol. See the episode "Truce at Aburah Raid" for one example.
  • When a mime takes the Governor and Mr Burgess hostage on The Slammer, he mimes pulling pins from grenades with his teeth and then throwing them. They then explode.

  • "Detox" by Final Fight:
    grenade over the shoulder
    pulled pin in teeth
    explosions forever

    Tabletop Games 
  • Shadowrun. In the short story "Balance" in Shadowland magazine #6, a dwarf does this with a concussion grenade while fighting a gang of zombies. This is averted in the game itself: modern grenades are radio signal-activated and no longer have physical pins.
  • Unstable Unicorns: The grenade Baby Unicorn from the NSFW expansion uses the pin of its grenade as pacifier.

    Video Games 
  • Befitting Army Men being a pastiche of WWII movies, this is how hand grenades are used in the Sarge's Heroes duology.
  • Battlefield: Bad Company: In "Rainbow Sprinkles" parody promotional video, Haggard can be seen throwing a grenade in this manner.
  • Player characters in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War throws frag grenades this way.
  • Rex does this in a cutscene in Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon.
  • Depicted on the cover of Ikari Warriors, a 1986 game for the Amstrad.
  • Solid Snake pulls grenade pins with his teeth in the original Metal Gear Solid but later games show the correct method instead.
  • Persona 3: upon being defeated near the top of Tartarus, a wounded Jin stays behind and does this to blow up the Shadows climbing up from lower floors.
  • Fong Ling does this at the beginning of Resident Evil: Dead Aim.
  • Characters appear to do this in Shadowrun Returns before throwing their grenades.

    Web Comics 
  • In Another Gaming Comic, one of Nuclear Dan's characters pulls a grenade pin with his tongue, while the grenade's in his mouth. (This character has total immunity to fire and concussion, so this is not as stupid as it sounds).

    Western Animation 
  • Animaniacs: In "I Got Yer Can", an Escalating War with Slappy Squirrel causes Candie Chipmunk to do this; terrifying a pair of nuns before blowing herself up.
  • In one episode of The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!, Madame Viper pulls the pin out with her tongue, then the rest of her teeth.
  • Batman: The Animated Series: A S.W.A.T. cop does this with a tear gas grenade in "On Leather Wings"; the very first episode.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold: Batman does with (with two grenades at once!) during The Teaser to "The Eyes of Despero!".
  • In the award winning short Birthday Boy, Manuk imagines that a rock is a hand grenade, pulls the pin with his teeth and hurls it at his imaginary enemies.
  • Blackstar: Carpo the Trobbit does this to the stems of Fire Fruit to make them explode, like grenades, before throwing them. In one episode, he does this before feeding them to some Fire People who were helping Blackstar.
  • In the MGM Droopy cartoon "The Three Little Pups", the wolf did this, with comical results.
  • Generator Rex: Hunter Kain does this when he drops a grenade to cover his escape in "Night Falls".
  • Duke does this during the Russia infiltration mission in G.I. Joe: Resolute.
  • Grojband: One of the mimes does this in mime (complete with resulting explosion) in "Myme Disease".
  • Looney Tunes:
    • When Wile E. Coyote tries it, the grenade naturally stays in his teeth.
    • In the cartoon "Cool Cat", Egomaniac Hunter Colonel Rimfire tries to pull the pin out of a grenade with his teeth, but ends up pulling out his dentures and hurling the unarmed grenade at Cool Cat.
    • In the short The Great Piggy Bank Robbery, Duck Twacy (Daffy Duck) does this before throwing a grenade at the villain Pumpkin Head.
  • The Looney Tunes Show: Daffy does this while storming an Albanian prison to rescue Bugs in "Semper Lie".
  • MAD: Mickey Mouse does this while wiping out other cartoon mice in the "Mickey Mouse Rodent Control" ad.
  • Comically inverted in a Robot Chicken sketch; a couple of soldiers firing at a shack have the pin thrown at them; we briefly hear "Oh, you idio-" before the shack blows up.
  • Grampa Simpson is shown doing this in his flashback to World War II in The Simpsons episode "Raging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in "The Curse of the Flying Hellfish"".
  • The Tick: The Breadmaster arms an explosive dinner roll by taking a bite out of the roll before tossing it.
  • We Bare Bears: Parodied in "The Kitty", where Grizzly throws a ball of yarn like a grenade in the hopes of distracting some cougars that broke into the Bears' cave, and bites a bit off the end before throwing it.
  • Yin Yang Yo!: Yuck bites off the pin of a coconut shaped grenade and throws it at Yin and Yang in "Voyage To The Center of Yo".

    Real Life 
  • From the Medal of Honor citation for Jonah Edward Kelley:
    "Although twice wounded, once when struck in the back, the second time when a mortar shell fragment passed through his left hand and rendered it practically useless, he refused to withdraw and continued to lead his squad after hasty dressings had been applied. His serious wounds forced him to fire his rifle with 1 hand, resting it on rubble or over his left forearm. To blast his way forward with hand grenades, he set aside his rifle to pull the pins with his teeth while grasping the missiles with his good hand."
  • Done by Leila Khaled, one of the hijackers in the Dawson's Field hijackings in 1970, according to an interview she gave in 2000:
    "So half an hour (after take off) we had to move. We stood up. I had my two hand grenades and I showed everybody I was taking the pins out with my teeth."
  • German "potato-masher" grenades used a friction igniter triggered with a pull string stored in the handle and protected by a screw on cap. These could be pulled with your teeth, assuming you'd already uncapped it first.
    • The earlier Kugelhandgranate (literally "ball hand grenade") used during the first half of World War I had a similar system; instead of a pull string, the Kugelhandgranate used a pull wire, meant to be yanked out of the grenade to start the fuse. Not only was pulling this wire out with your teeth perfectly possible, it was actually fairly easy (perhaps too easy, as quite a few German grenadiers were killed when the wire on one of their grenades worked loose accidentally).
  • Despite depictions in many US WWII propaganda films Japanese grenades required a good rap on a solid object (usually the soldier' helmet) to compress a spring and initiate the impact igniter. The pins were there to lock the mechanism and prevent the spring being compressed accidentally.
  • MACV-SOG routinely practiced this with their grenades so that throwing a grenade only took one hand, not two; the difference being, they made sure to deform the safety pins beforehand so that it was possible without breaking a tooth.
    • You can do this with un-deformed pins if you have a strong enough jaw and bite the pin with the side of your mouth rather than the front note  and pull slowly rather than trying to jerk the ring out. However, if you have the time to do this, you probably have the time to just use your hands as recommended, and doing this repeatedly can still strain your jaw and molars.


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