Andy Smith
Mine action specialist
The AVS Pick-prod


This tool is designed to be used to break up the ground while keeping the user’s hand low in the event of a detonation.

Made from “T” section steel, the Pick-prod has a 31cm blade that can be used to pick at the ground with considerable force without bending. In softer ground, a twisting movement breaks up the ground more efficiently than a bayonet. The user’s hand is protected by a washable and pliable aramid blast-shield in front of a 14cm long MDPE handle which is attached to the blade with a countersunk nylock and washer set into the end.

The “T” section tapers to a point and is a compromise between allowing penetration and ensuring that the tool is strong enough not to be damaged in normal use. It is intended that ground broken with this tool would then be removed with the demining trowel.

When made using mild steel, the metal parts should be galvanised or hard-chromed to prevent rust. The tool weighs around 0.5Kg (1.2 lbs).

The tool stayed in one piece when placed on top of mines in tests.  

As well as having been sold to military users in South America and Europe, this tool is known to have been used in Vietnam, Angola, Mozambique, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Libya and Sudan.