Grenade Tattoo Meaning, Design & Ideas

The first thing that may come to mind when you see the image of a grenade are thoughts of war and explosions. To some, this image is a sign of caution. To others, a grenade may remind them of the military; a sign of life or death.

All of this may be true, but the meaning of a grenade tattoo can be deeper than what meets the eye. If you are planning on getting a grenade tattoo, the reasons you have for displaying this graphic as a piece of body art and the symbolism behind it is entirely up to you. Down below will be examples of this tattoo along with different ideas for the design, placements, and what others feel this tattoo symbolizes best.

History of the Grenade

Although the name of the person to first came up with the idea of the grenade itself is unknown, it is known that this device was first used sometime in the 15th century. Back in these days, the grenade did not have the sleek shell and pin as we know it but rather a tin can filled with rocks and gunpowder.

This was equipped with a fuse which was basically a string of rope that was lit on fire. Once the fuse was lit and close to the core, the tin can was thrown and would of course explode once the fuse touched the gunpowder. This explosion would cause the rocks inside to fly in every direction, pelting the enemy at high speeds.

Over time however, the design of the grenade changed. By the 19th century, the grenade started to become less popular due to the invention of guns. Due to the rise of technology, the grenade was able to have a makeover, making the device more explosive and dangerous than ever. These new and improved grenades took on many forms, but the one we all know is the ‘pineapple grenade’, or the MK 2 grenade.

This grenade made war much easier for the Americans in World War II.

This particular explosive received its nickname the ‘pineapple grenade’ for obvious reasons. Its shell has sections, almost like squares, on the body resembling a pineapple. These sections on the shell of the grenade make it so that when the device explodes internally, the squares explode in every which way; the grooves are also good for handling and throwing the grenade.

On the top and side of the grenade are a handle and a fuse. The fuse is a pin that is pulled, once the fuse is pulled and the handle is pushed down, the one throwing the grenade has a limited amount of time to toss it before it blows up in their hand.


Although this explosive device brings times of war and destruction, it is a great piece of imagery and makes for a thought-provoking tattoo. Like many tattoos, the grenade tattoo also has some hidden meanings. More than often, those who are seen sporting grenade tattoos have been in the war, or at least in the military.

Other times it can mean you have seen war, not necessarily while being in the army or armed forces but as a civilian who had to struggle through the result of wars happening on their territory. This tattoo can also represent those who have lost a loved one due to war. Deep down, this tattoo can say a lot about the person wearing it.


The grenade is a prominent weapon we all know that is mainly constructed and made for war and destruction. With that being said, it is an image that many people love to get as a tattoo. Whether or not you have a definite reason to get this tattoo, for example, you were in the military, or not, the grenade graphic is an explosive piece of work that is sure to turn heads.

Cartoon Grenade

If you decide to lean on the less serious note of grenades being deadly weapons used to exterminate the enemy, things can get pretty interesting! Cartoony graphics of grenades are popular with those who want more of a ‘flash tattoo’ style. With these flashy pieces of art, you can put the grenade into action, adding explosions and bangs in the background.

Angel Winged Grenade

A popular grenade design for those who have lost a loved one due to war is a grenade with angel wings. Since a grenade is an explosive and dynamic device that all soldiers are trained to use, it is a way of representing the soldier who passed. Adding angel wings on the back of the grenade can help further explain to others why you have this grenade tattoo in the first place.

Pineapple Grenade

The pineapple grenade is also the nickname for the second of its kind, the MK 2 grenade. This is simply due to the fact that the design of grenades resembles the fruit of the pineapple. Some people get an image of a grenade and instead of the classic army green paint, they turn the grenade into a pineapple with a fuse and and pin inserted on top. Having this pineapple grenade explode into chunks of fruit is another great and creative idea for this piece.

Heart Grenade

This heart grenade concept can also correlate to the idea of having a grenade as a way of showing you lost a loved one to war. Much like the pineapple idea mentioned above, having the grenade shaped into a heart can mean a couple of different things. It can signify that you lost a loved one to war, or it could represent your love for the weapon itself. A heart grenade can also show that the individual wearing it is a sensitive person. It shows that once you pull this pin, the heart could explode, much like their emotions when being played with.


Depending on how large or small you would like this tattoo, choosing a spot where it will look good is one of the most important parts of getting a tattoo. Since a grenade itself is not much larger than a grown man’s fist, it is possible to have very small versions of the grenade graphic. Those who want to show the piece off to everyone can get it on the side of their necks.

The forearm and the calf of the leg are other spots this graphic fits nicely. If you would like to be able to cover this tattoo up, having it on the chest or pectorals is another popular spot to have the tattoo placed.

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