Airsoft Innovations Tornado Grenade Review
For many, airsoft is about simulation combat and one device that has been MIA from the scene is an effective grenade. The Escort, Deep Fire and PFI models (just to name a few) certainly look good but are not really practical to use due to low lethality. As a seasoned CQB player at the TTAC3 facility, I’ve had the luxury of trying many different grenades and all performed poorly.
The Airsoft Innovations Tornado Grenade promises to change the game that we play, both indoors and out. Besides BBs and gas, the AI Tornado is reusable like the Escort and Deep Fire grenades (if you collect all the extra parts that pop out with the latter two). In terms of ammo capacity the Tornado holds 180 BBs and can be used with either duster or propane. It’s ~130mm in height, has a diameter of ~55mm and fits in traditional M4/M16 type mag pouches or dedicated grenade pouches. To give you an idea on its size, here’s how the AI Tornado compares to a CA M4 low cap mag and the TG6 Thumper distraction device as well as the grenade in a variety of pouches.
Included in the retail package is the safety pin/resetting tool, bottom safety cap and user’s manual. I also got a bottle of AI’s grenade silicon oil which has a higher viscosity (sold seperately) than AI’s GBB silicon oil. It’s important to note which oil you’re using with the grenade and GBBs because GBB silicon oil is too thin for the grenade and grenade oil will gunk up the internals of a gun.
In the fourth picture, while it looks like the grenade is loose, when I’m wearing my HSGI Wasatch the grenade is secure even if I run around. The third and fourth pictures show the grenade in an Eagle smoke grenade pouch. That’s all I have at the moment will update when I have other pouches to test with.
Prepping and loading the AI Tornado with gas is pretty straight forward. Unplug the cap which exposes the hole at the top of the grenade (in picture one, the hole is circled in red), reset the grenade by inserting the resetting tool if necessary and insert the pin into the appropriate delay spot (1.5s or 3s). After the stuff at the top is done turn the grenade over and fill with your gas of choice (3-5 seconds is long enough), it’s important that the safety pin has been inserted otherwise the grenade will go off and pop in your hands. In the User’s manual AI includes a handy chart which gives you an idea at what pressure duster and propane exerts at a given temperature and when the relief valve will kick in. If that does happen get a set of pliers, pull the relief valve on the bottom outwards then push it back in, that will reset it.
Filling the BBs is rather simple align your BB speed loader (or tube and rod if you’re old school), plug away till you meet resistance then repeat on the opposite side. The first few times you load may be difficult but once you find the angle that works things will be easy. Once the BBs are loaded, screw the bottom cap on and the AI Tornado is armed and ready to go. BBs are held in the grenade via clips at the entrance. If you forget the fill process, it is printed on the back of the grenade, along with the warnings and disclaimers. When armed with 180 BBs the Tornado does rattle ever so slightly but it’s not as bad as running around with a hi cap magazine.
Using the grenade is as easy as pulling the pin and tossing it into the area that you want to frag. Try and pull the pin straight out, if you pull it on an angle it may be difficult and it’s possible that you could bend the safety pin. Note since there is no spoon, you have to get rid of the grenade after pulling the pin or risk the Tornado going off In your hands and killing your whole team (happened to me a few times ;)). After tossing when the timer goes off, the Tornado starts to spin (be it in mid air or on the ground) and spews BBs in all directions.
I do not have the ability to chrony the Tornado however AI gives you an idea at its power with this YouTube video. It doesn’t hurt when you’re hit but BBs do strike with enough force that you know to call yourself out in an indoor environment. The timer employed by the AI Tornado is very consistent which makes the grenade very reliable to use.
In terms of effectiveness, it’s very useful in a CQB environment, clearing out campers in a defended position is a breeze and it also works quite well as a distraction device. Indoors the grenade can easily be effective in an area as large as 25 square meters!
Maintenance is easy, simply drop two drops of AI’s grenade silicon oil into the gas reservoir when the shuttle is in the forward position. AI recommend this be done every two times the grenade goes off and the grenade oil bottle has enough for about 600 throws.
I haven’t tried the AI Tornado outdoors yet however a teammate has used it a few times at FlagRaiders and it works best in airburst mode (the 1.5s delay). If the grenade hits dense grass or other vegetation though many times the Tornado does not have enough power to punch through or hit an opponent with enough force that they’ll know. After I have more experience with the Tornado outdoors, I will update this review with further thoughts.
I have been fortunate enough to be part of the Airsoft Innovations Tornado testing program since almost the beginning and it has been interesting to see the direction that MadMax has taken things. From the octopus prototype to the many possible release samples, the current iteration is certainly the easiest to use. Compared to the other grenades on the market, the AI Tornado is definitely the most combat effective and in CQB/indoors it rules. It might not look as nice as some of the other grenades out there but only chairsofters care about looks right? ;) With a retail price of $100 CDN, the AI Tornado is relatively expensive but for the price of other airsoft grenades, this offers you much more for the money.