The M18A1 Claymore is a directional anti-personnel mine developed in the United States after the Korean War. The original M18 variant was barely effective and barely produced, but the improved M18A1 was adopted in 1960 and first used in combat in Vietnam in 1966.


The M18A1 Claymore's casing contains a convex 1.5 pound block of C4 explosive: in front of this is a resin matrix which holds 700 1/8-inch (3.2mm) steel ball bearings. When the mine explodes, the ball bearings are ejected in a 60-degree arc at around 4,000 feet per second (1,200 meters per second, around Mach 3.5). They are deformed by the force of the explosion to the point they resemble .22 calber bullets. The mine's plastic casing is obliterated by the force of the explosion, with fragments capable of causing injury in the 300 degrees not part of the Claymore's primary field of effect at ranges of up to 52 feet (16m)

Effective range is around 55 yards (50m), though the bearings can travel up to 270 yards (250m) The real-life mine has no integral detonation system, and is usually command-detonated, fused with an M6 electrical blasting cap linked to the handheld M57 "clacker" detonator with a 100-foot (30m) M4 firing wire. The mine has two fuze wells with shipping plugs for transit which can also be used for firing cable routing: these are the two "ears" either side of the iron sight on top of the mine.

Claymore mines are used for ambushing an enemy without exposing the explosive itself to the enemy. Because they can be difficult to detect, sensors have to be used in order to avoid them.


Operation Snake Eater

See also: Virtuous Mission and Operation Snake Eater

Claymore mines were utilized in Tselinoyarsk in the early 1960s, and were encountered by Naked Snake during Operation Snake Eater. They were speculated to have either been stolen or recovered by the Soviets from a battlefield in Southeast Asia, and then commenced performance evaluations on them. Some of the Claymores were also modified to include a proximity sensor that would detonate when an enemy approached it at a certain distance. Sigint correctly predicted that the Soviets would eventually copy the Claymore's simple structure, resulting in the Russian Claymorasky mines. They each weighed 1.6kg.

San Hieronymo Incident

Main article: San Hieronymo Incident
Warning: The following information is from outside Hideo Kojima's core "Metal Gear Saga." It has some level of canonicity within the continuity, but reader discretion is advised.[?]

During the San Hieronymo Incident in 1970, FOX commander Gene's renegade army secretly planted Claymore mines throughout the hospital area, which would have caused a devastating hazard to the hospital staff, who were not informed of the incident, had Naked Snake's resistance group not discovered and disarmed all of them.

Non-"Metal Gear Saga" information ends here.

Peace Walker Incident

Main article: Peace Walker Incident

During the Peace Walker Incident in 1974, the Militaires Sans Frontières attempted to remove Claymore mines at the Rio del Jade boathouse and the Selva de la Muerte cliff-bottom that were presumably set by the Peace Sentinel. The MSF also procured some design specs on Claymore mines after a demolition mission at the Rio del Jade.

Armes mgs3 013

A Claymore mine.

Shadow Moses Incident

Main article: Shadow Moses Incident

The Claymore mines used during the Shadow Moses and Big Shell Incidents were enhanced with built-in stealth camouflage, and utilized a short ranged 90º laser sight to trigger the detonation. During the former, they were laid in the canyon between the tank hangar and warhead storage building, and in the underground passage leading to the communication towers.

Guns of the Patriots Incident

See also: Liquid Sun, Solid Sun, Third Sun, Twin Suns, Old Sun, and Naked Sin/Naked Son

During the Guns of the Patriots Incident, Claymores were used prominently in PMC war zones, though they were not stealth-equipped.

Behind the scenes

"An American-made anti-personnel directional mine. Modified by Soviet technicians to automatically detonate when it detects a moving object within the trigger areas to its front and rear."
―Claymore description in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
"An anti-personnel mine consisting of explosives and 700 steel ball bearings contained within a gently curving plastic case.
When an object passes in front of it, it detonates and propels the ball bearings forward in a wedge-shaped pattern, wounding or killing the enemy.
―Claymore weapon description in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops

Claymore mines from Peace Walker, back (left), front (center), and side (right).

The Claymore mine's first appearance in the Metal Gear series was in the non-canonical sequel to the original Metal Gear, Snake's Revenge. It first canonically appeared in Metal Gear Solid.

  • Thermal goggles can be used to make Claymore mines visible.
  • Mine detectors are obviously useful for locating them. Early versions of this sensor would vibrate as the player got closer to a mine. Later versions would display the location of mines on the Soliton Radar. The first in-game appearance of the mine detector, in Metal Gear, actually revealed the mines on-screen.
  • Crawling over a mine will allow Snake to pick it up safely in most games. In Peace Walker, Big Boss cannot move while prone, and must instead approach the mine from behind while crouching, which will allow him to pick it up using a command prompt. This was retained in The Phantom Pain despite the re-introduction of crawling. In the latter game, D-Dog can detect mines, as can the Intelligence Department if their level is high enough.
  • Unlike previous games, Metal Gear Solid 3 and 4 feature Claymore mines that can be seen with the naked eye, though they can still be difficult to spot.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 4, the Metal Gear Mk. II/III can be used to scout ahead for mines. These can then be disarmed by pressing the ▲ (Triangle) button.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 4, if a Claymore is pointed at a wall, it will make five holes in the wall after exploding.

Although it was called a Claymore in Metal Gear Solid 3, the actual design indicated that it was the MON-50 anti-personnel mine. Ironically, a call to Sigint will have him allude to the MON-50's future development by mentioning that, due to the Claymore's ease of replication, the Russians would have "Claymorasky mines."

Dummied data within Snake Eater 3D indicated that there was originally going to be Extra Ops missions that involved Claymore Disarmament. At least 5 were planned.[1]

"Directional, anti-personnel landmine. Face location to be set, ready, then press PlayStationSquare to set. R&D can increase power."
―Claymore Mother Base menu description in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
"An anti-personnel mine that focuses its blast in a specific directon. Upon detonation, it sprays 700 steel balls in a 60-degree arc, Although developed for anti-personnel use, it is also effective against vehicles.
The Claymore is extremely powerful and simple to use, but be very careful not to set it off yourself. The results could be too horrible to watch.
―Claymore Model Viewer description in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker


  1. ^
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.