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Overview

In older games, if players wanted to throw a grenade, oftentimes they would either have to unequip their gun and equip grenades using their inventory, or (in more elegant scenarios) switch away from their gun temporarily. By allowing grenades to be thrown through a separate button press, the automated grenade throw allows the player to keep their gun ready for the inevitable conflict following a grenade detonation, and eliminates the hassle and potential frustration of having to quickly switch back to a gun after throwing a grenade.
 
Depending on the game, players may be able to continue firing while throwing grenades with an automated grenade throw, although some games will lower the player's gun during the grenade throw. 

Examples and Variants

The first known appearance of automated grenade throw was in Shadow Warrior, where the player could wield any weapon and throw gas grenades or caltrops at the same time. Later games like Soldier of Fortune used a similar system, with a wider selection of grenades to throw. In Team Fortress Classic, each class had two grenade types (with a few exceptions), and two keys were used to designate which grenade to throw.

In modern games, like the Halo series, the number of grenades left is usually indicated somewhere on the UI, and the type of grenade being used is often not discerned, instead left to the player's memory of what they last picked up. In some games, in addition to a dedicated button for automated grenade throw, some controls may be devoted to switching between types or grenades or other special weaponry (for example, using the d-pad to switch between grenades and other unique weapons in Shadow Complex).

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