In 1978, the West German Army adopted the DM51 assault/fragmentation hand grenade. Design work on the type spanned the middle-to-late 1970s with production continuing through Diehl today. The DM51 was specifically designed, developed and adopted to replace the collection of grenades then in service with the West German Army during the Cold War. As an assault/fragmentation grenade, the DM51 could be utilized in both an offensive and defensive manner. For the former, the DM51 was fitted with a fragmentating sleeve which slipped over the basic design. Left uncovered, the grenade was a slim shock-value weapon. The base model sported a threaded base, safety ring with fuze at top and accompanying activation handle.
The DM51 operates in the same manner as other conventional hand grenades, requiring the operator to first pull the safety ring and then throw the grenade. During its initial flight, the arming handle is dropped and the grenade then lands to detonate. When fitted with the fragmentating sleeve, the grenade is given a well-ribbed surface for improved grip and handling. Left off, the base grenade features a smooth body finish. The filling consists of 60 grams of Nitropenta.
The DM51 is also known as the Handgranate Spreng. The DM51 family also includes the DM58 practice grenade for training.
The modern (unified) German Army still makes widespread use of the DM51 series and none have been exported.