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  1. I view smoke as just another force multiplier. There was at one time plenty of smoke for the surplus 26.5mm flare guns as well. As my old Platoon Sgt. Used to say “I would rather have and not need than to need and not have.”

  2. Combat veterans all tell me that smoke is life… Especially when stumbling into the kill zone of an optically guided weapon, like a sniper with a precision rifle.

    Smoke grenades used to be widely available in the military and are great things to have. However, they are just too expensive for civilians.

    So, during holidays involving fireworks, I buy the largest volume smoke devices that I can find and rotate them out during the holiday. So far, this has worked out well, with no duds. You will need to carry a lighter, but should have one in your kit anyway.

    I always carry several devices with me in my mag carrier…

    On the Internet, there are several DIY videos for smoke devices, but I have yet to try one. I would recommend that readers download them before they disappear. Has anyone had success with one of these videos?

    Great article, thanks for sending…

    1. I have used a Black Flag bug sprayer that holds a 1 pound propane tank the type for camp stoves. Just for curiosity sake instead of the bug spray in the tank I mixed some diesel and trans fluid. After the tip heated up it put out a ton of smoke every time I squeezed the trigger. Very cheap and easy to get at the hardware store and makes a lot of smoke even just for practice movements.

  3. There is a company enola gaye that makes cheap good smoke grenades. $7iah for small $16 for something close to military grade. Targeted towards the pain all market. Check ebay

  4. If an adversary has night vision, and I do not, would smoke used at night have any more or less effect on the night vision effectiveness vs smoke obscuring normal eyesight during the day?

  5. If the opposition has heat / infrared scopes then no matter how much smoke you have they see you as if you are unobscured. That works in daylight and in the darkest of nights.

    That being said, I think smoke does have valid use for simple messaging or to help pin down a location if you are expecting to meet someone somewhere unfamiliar.

    Just don’t bet your life on conditions being conducive to it catching attention all of the time. Even a flare gun works for signaling, but only if it is used when people will see it.

  6. Bear in mind please, I was born in 1980, so my experience came in the early 2000’s during almost exclusively close quarter/urban contact. That said, I recall reading that Warsaw Pact doctrine for land warfare, specifically in West Germany, called for a massive use of smoke machines after initial artillery bombardment to mask the initial movement of tank and infantry units advances. Now, this was when laser-guided weaponry was in its infancy, so I’m skeptical as to its efficacy now. That said, I can imagine it being useful for guerillas making hit and run harassment tactics on larger formations to obscure precisely where an attack is coming from. May be more trouble than it is worth though. Just my thoughts.

  7. No experience,but the grenades seem to have a very short shelf life depending on storage conditions,2 years max?
    Marine type flares “may” be a better option for signaling.

  8. Only training we had with smoke grenades was as a diversion tactic when transporting prisoners. Was surprised how effective one smoke grenade could stop a 3 car cravan .

    Having no military experience ( unsure with the other five in my group ) it quickly disorientated us as we entered a walled compound. The driveway leading into the entrance had a short brick wall on either side.

    Just before going through the gate the instructor dropped a smoke grenade that produced copious amounts of smoke. We dismounted quickly but the sting of air soft pellets told us we were all dead :-b

    There was a light breeze and as the smoke cleared the instructor came out through the diminishing cloud smiling. It was a good lesson and after reading this article smoke is indeed a good tactic against your adversary.

  9. Another thing to bear in mind about HC smoke (military white smoke). It burns hotter than the colored smokes and will start grass fires quite easily. If your objective was just to obscure, that grass fire will add to your smoke. But bear in mind, the fire may end up going where you would rather it did not. BTDT.

    The fire hazard is good to keep in mind if you plan to chuck one into a building with carpets, drapes, furniture and other flammable stuff. If you don’t plan to enter, but plan to shoot whoever runs out, go for it.

  10. I believe there is something in the smoke used on the vehicle mounted smoke launchers. Only personally viewed these being fired once and it was Definately different than the smoke from an HC grenade. Darker and had what seemed like sparks to maybe confuse thermal sights and/or guidance systems?? Just a guess on my end. Wondering if smoke with some type of sparking fire work might do the job?

  11. 3ADscout, That smoke was white phosphorus! Not something you want to be around!

    I run with 37mm flare launchers (M203) on two of the bunkers AR’s. With flare launcher status, you can run smoke, flares, wildlife control, line throwing, and OC rounds. Anything else requires a DD form. Any use of the above in a anti-personnel mode can put you in an DD status.

    That said, I wouldn’t hesitate to pop a flare behind you, followed by a few bird bangers, or OC nearby to make your position hot enough to make you want to leave.

    For smoke, I have a number of theatrical fog machines. My large machines, depending on the wind, can make enough to obscure the entire front of the house in 15 seconds, with a hang time of 4 – 20 minutes. Some of the pencil foggers are battery operated, and can put out a surprising amount of fog for a tiny unit. They could work well for stopping a home invasion by blinding raiders inside the building. If you can, hide in places where the enemy silhouettes himself against windows or lights. You can see him, but he can’t see you.

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