This happens in many movies. A guy steps into a mine then does a clever trick and escapes. It seems bad design if you have a land mine, and it doesn't explode.

A similar thing happens with Claymore mines. They are triggered by a wire. Then a person presses the wire and the mine instead of detonating, can still be disarmed by another person.

In terrorist movies, you can see that they plant the first device and when the first responder arrives, they detonate the second device to maximize damage. But in the open field when you don't know if it is one person or a regiment walking into the minefield, it doesn't make sense to delay the mine explosion which gives the hero time to disarm it.

So how do buried land mines really work?

Here is an example. One of the characters could only freeze the trigger for a split second to change position. But still, the mine doesn't explode until he removes the foot.

1 Answer 1


There are mines which will only detonate when pressure is removed but these are uncommon.

In general a pressure activated mine will detonate as soon as sufficient pressure is applied by someone stepping on it.

A land mine can be triggered by a number of things including pressure, movement, sound, magnetism and vibration.[41] Anti-personnel mines commonly use the pressure of a person's foot as a trigger, but tripwires are also frequently employed. Most modern anti-vehicle mines use a magnetic trigger to enable it to detonate even if the tires or tracks did not touch it. Advanced mines are able to sense the difference between friendly and enemy types of vehicles by way of a built-in signature catalog. This will theoretically enable friendly forces to use the mined area while denying the enemy access.

There is a common misperception that a landmine is armed by stepping on it and only triggered by stepping off, providing tension in movies. In fact the initial pressure trigger will detonate the mine, as they are designed to kill or maim, not to make someone stand very still until it can be disarmed.


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