Andy Smith
MIne-action specialist

Manual demining tools

The AVS “Mine-grab”


In response to a request, the AVS mine-grab was developed for a specific purpose in Africa. It is not part of the manual deminer’s regular tool-bag.

The Mine-grab incorporates arm support to steady the weight, two handed control and a ballistic aramid hand guard with polycarbonate support. The left hand holds the black HDPE handle behind the guard. The right rests in the support and pulls the trigger to grip the mine. The grabbing head is angled so that the mine can be approached from the side while the user stands upright.

It turns over, positions and picks up mines with relative ease and keeps them over a metre away from the man doing so. Assuming he has frontal protection and a visor, he should survive an AP blast detonation without serious injury. I recommend long rubber knee-pads to extend a frontal apron to the ground when working standing.

In tests I detonated a mine in the jaws of the grab. The polycarbonate jaws broke up but the stainless steel pipe and the handle were unmarked. 

The Mine-Grab was used to lift more than 50,000 AP blast mines left on the surface by a ground-tilling machine. Some mines had been damaged by the machine and a few had detonated spontaneously as deminers approached. None detonated in the jaws of the grab.