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Throw the Pin

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"Old on to tha pin, throw the udder part!"
Ork Tankbusta, Warhammer 40000: Dawn of War

A character pulls the pin off a grenade and proceeds to throw ... the pin, and keeps the grenade in hand. Very common in cartoons.

This one often comes about due to a misinterpretation of the instruction "pull the pin and throw it." Can be considered a form of Explosive Stupidity, though examples need not involve the grenade detonating (especially in works that know the pin is a safety and the plunger lights the fuse). Likely to result in Boom in the Hand. Related to Hoist by His Own Petard.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers does this gag as Germany tries to train Italy to throw grenades. Then later, South Italy comes along and tries to throw a grenade at Germany—but fails because of this mistake. Germany ends the gag by crying out in frustration, "What's with you two?"

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 
  • Zero from Beetle Bailey once did this, giving Sergeant Snorkel a major Oh, Crap! moment.
  • In an old comic called Crock, we see this guy lighting a bomb with his cigar and throwing something in the next panel. Then, there's an explosion and the following dialogue ensues:
    "What have you done?!"
    "... Hit the enemy with my cigar?"

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Bananas pulls this gag twice in the course of a montage. Woody Allen's character is training with the rebels, and he tries throwing a grenade. Predictably, he throws the pin, having just enough time to make an exasperated face before the grenade explodes in his hand. Later, he tries again, and successfully throws the grenade. The pin explodes in his hand.
  • Bones (Pauly Shore) does this during grenade training in In The Army Now.
  • Stan (naturally) does this in the Laurel and Hardy short Beau Hunks.
  • Played for drama in The Thin Red Line when Sergeant Keck grabs a grenade hanging on his webbing, only to realise to his horror that he's only holding the pin. The grenade explodes before he has a chance to correct his mistake.


    Live Action TV 
  • In one episode of M*A*S*H, Frank Burns, trying to prove himself "tough", pulls out the pin of a grenade with his teeth and spits it out. A moment later, he realizes, with no small amount of panic, what he just did. Thankfully, he fixes the problem before anyone is hurt.
  • There's a variation in The Prisoner (1967) episode "The Girl Who Was Death" which turned out to be a children's bedtime story where Number Six tampers with the bad guys' old-timey WWI-era grenades (the ones with a baton-like handle used to hurl a can-shaped charge) so the explosives ended up in the handles.
  • There's a variation in the obscure British sketch show The Steam Video Company, where a soldier pulls the pin on a grenade then opens a can of Coke, throws the can and puts the grenade to his mouth.
  • Whose Line Is It Anyway?: This gif sums it nicely.

    Music Video 
  • In the music video for Twisted Sister's "I Wanna Rock", The Neidermeyer teacher tries to stop the band by throwing a grenade at them, but he ends up throwing the pin, and the grenade gets stuck on his hand, so he jumps into the school swimming pool to try defusing it, but ends up getting blasted upward, hitting his head on the diving board.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Featured in an old "Canonical Famous Last Words List" (the character's background precluded him from knowing which of two parts "throw it" should refer to).
  • Expect a Killer Game Master with a Literal Genie streak to do this if the player doesn't specify exactly what part of a grenade they're actually throwing.
  • Paranoia occasionally has grenades where the pin is the part that explodes. Hell, it probably has some where they both do, because that would make them, from The Computer's point of view, foolproof.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Ork Stikkbommaz are noted for being above average intelligence for Orks, as they know that stikkbommz are the bit you throw, not the pin...
    • Then again, the ork will probably throw the pin too for the hell of it.

    Video Games 
  • A variation: in Borderlands 2, an enemy Bandit might be confused by a Nomad's order to toss grenades. "Pull the pin, then throw, right?"
  • In World of Warcraft's Mists of Pandaria expansion, one bit of hozen wisdom contains something akin to this trope:
    Firecracker for throwing, banana for eating.
  • Worms 2 demonstrates this trope quite clearly.
  • Invoked in Dawn of War when Orks say "Hold on to the pin. Throw the other part."

  • In the "Bloodsuckers Are Not Sexy" arc of Fafnir The Dragon, one of the vampires is an expert with grenades... only he wound up throwing the pins at Vlad the Impaler. It ends exactly how you'd expect.
  • Schlock Mercenary: "Maxim 65: After the toss, be the one with the pin, not the one with the grenade". While it's mostly a lesson about initiative and striking first, it doubles as a handy warning not to do this.

    Western Animation 
  • Subverted in Aaahh!!! Real Monsters. Simon the Monster Hunter throws a pin at Bigfoot, has a brief Oh, Crap! moment, and then throws the gas grenade just in time.
  • There's a short in Animaniacs where the Warners are being put through military training, and their sergeant is instructing them about grenades, with the above line. Wakko, naturally, throws the pin.
    Sergeant (noticing Wakko is still holding the grenade): Throw the grenade!
    Dot: You said throw the pin.
    Sergeant: I meant pull the pin, and throw the grenade!
    Wakko: I'm confused. Here, you try it. (hands the grenade to the sergeant, and it explodes on him)
  • In the Ben 10: Omniverse episode "O Mother, Where Art Thou?", the Vreedle Brothers get blown up when Rhomboid does this, then they're later cloned with their memories intact.
  • Daffy Duck does it while hunting Speedy Gonzales in Speedy Ghost To Town.
  • This occasionally happens to Wile E. Coyote in the Looney Tunes cartoons when he tries to use a grenade to blow up the Road Runner. One notable instance in "Zipping Along" combined this with another trope.
    • Or sometimes, the pin explodes.
    • In one, he correctly drops the grenade down a cliff, but it's bounced back at him. He then drops the pin... and another grenade is bounced back at him.
  • Seen from the outside in Robot Chicken; two GIs sitting in a foxhole with a bunker in the background. One is hit on the helmet with a pin, looks at it quizzically, someone in the bunker shouts "Oh, you idiot!", then the bunker explodes.

    Real Life 
  • Some poor recruits and trainees end up doing this under stress. Thankfully, most instructors and drill sergeants are ready to save the unfortunate newbie before any accidents happen. Unfortunately for the recruits, this involves a Sergeant composed of well over 230 pounds of muscle (Grenade Range Sergeants are selected, it seems, from a pool of bodybuilders) slapping the grenade out of the private's hand (if it's not on the ground yet), picking the private up by the scruff of the neck and his/her belt, and body-slamming the poor sap into the ground on the opposite side of the concrete bunker that protects recruits from short throws. Not pleasant.
  • Has happened, according to an entry in the Darwin Awards.
  • Hard to see exactly what happened in this training exercise, but it looks like something similar, judging from the position of the flash. Remember: the flashbang is supposed to be used on them, not on you.
  • Has happened on a few occasions, but the thrower is safe as long as they have not released the lever that prevents the grenade from charging. If it has been released, then it will not be a good day for the thrower.
  • A similar technique written, possibly as a joke, in a swordplay manual, involves unscrewing the pommel of your sword and throwing it vigorously at the enemy. The technique is called "ending him rightly."


Video Example(s):


Bananas: Grenade trouble

Prepping for a revolution, Woody practices throwing a hand grenade. It goes as well as you'd expect.

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Example of:

Main / ThrowThePin

Media sources:

Main / ThrowThePin