Andy Smith
Mine action specialist

Manual demining tools

The AVS demining shears  


Several demining accidents have occurred while using shears and other tools to cut undergrowth. All have involved the initiation of fragmentation mines. The tools used were usually unsuitable for the task, a machete for example, but it is possible that these deminers would not have initiated the mines with the AVS shears if they had been issued with them.

As part of the AVS manual demining tool-bag, shears were adapted to begin to meet the needs of demining rather than those of the gardener. They are comfortable to use with hands at a distance from the blades and do not separate or shatter in a normal AP blast.

The AVS shears have longer than usual handles in a fixed position. Their blades are shorter than usual. The angle of the handles is narrower than usual, so encouraging the user to hold the handles near the ends. The bend between the blades and the handles is shallow, encouraging the user to have his hands close to the ground.

With the exception of three nuts and one bolt, the AVS shears are in four parts, two of which are the polyethylene handles. The cutting blade length of the AVS shears is 9cm shorter than most, so reducing the risk of cutting something beyond the range of sight. The blades are made of a high grade but still ductile steel that extends through the handles.

In tests, the shears were placed with the blades on top of a blast mine. The shears bent but did not separate and were readily repaired.