How Does a Claymore Mine Work?

How does a Claymore mine work?

The Claymore mine is an anti-personnel mine named after a Scottish sword. Unlike ordinary land mines that detonate when stepped on, a Claymore mine fires 700 steel balls in a horizontal 60° fan-shaped arc that is 2 meters high and 50 meters wide (it can go up to 100 meters wide).

This is similar to positioning 700 soldiers toward the enemy and firing one shot each at the same time. These shots would cover a 50 metre stretch. Thus, the advantage of employing a claymore mine is that there is no need for excessive manpower, and can be activated via remote control.

At present, the M18A1 Claymores replaces the old M18 Claymores, and is used by militaries around the world.

Claymore Mine Blast Radius

The Claymore mine has an effective range of 50 metres, with a maximum range of 250 meters facing the front. In other words, the 700 steel balls will kill or severely injure anyone facing its front within a 50 meter distance; the lethality of the steel ball blast decreases as the distance increases from 50 metres to 250 meters. Hence, the mine is usually detonated once the enemy reaches the killing range.

How To Deploy a Claymore Mine?


Although the Claymore mine is mainly a defensive device, it has applications in a limited amount of offensive operations. When the mine is used in controlled detonation for an ambush operation, they are regarded as offensive weapons. A remote control or non-electrical trigger is used for detonation.

The alternative is setting up the mine as a booby trap to prevent or delay enemy infantry from infiltration. This involves connecting a tripwire or timer that would activate the blast caps of the Claymore.

Though rarely used this way, a claymore mine can be used against unarmored vehicle.

Safety Distance For Friendly Forces

The safety operating distance for the M18A1 Claymore is 16 meters (must take cover). The back blast and side blast of the Claymore mine is 100 meters. The Claymore front toward enemy maximum range is 250 meters. Any friendly forces, should maintain behind cover to be safe from secondary missiles and fragments from the blast.

Claymore Mine For Training Purposes or Fun

A dummy Claymore is used to train the soldier to set up and employ the mine. Many militaries use the non-lethal Airsoft Claymore (spring loaded with BB pellets) for war training exercises, as it provides a realistic simulation of what would really happen without casualties.

Military personnel and hobbyists who love war simulation games (like paintball and laser tag) have also taken to buying these Claymore mines.

Find out more about the Airsoft M18A1 Claymore Mine