Are Exploding Targets Safe to Use?

For sportsmen interested in rifle shooting, an increasingly popular practice is the use of exploding targets. These exploding targets are made out of a binary explosive, which means that they are legal for civilians to own in the United States. The most common brand of exploding targets used is Tannerite. Tannerite is a patented mixture of ammonium nitrate and aluminum, and once mixed it can only be detonated by a round from a high-powered rifle. Since these targets are explosive, there are certain precautions that must be followed in order to use them safely.

Tannerite Exploding Targets

Generally, Tannerite and similar binary explosives are sold as individual exploding targets or by the half pound, and the ingredients must be mixed before the exploding target can be used. The manufacturer recommends that target shooters do not use more than half a pound at any time for safety and liability reasons. Using more than half a pound of the explosive target in conjunction with metal or other nearby debris can create a hazard, similar to shrapnel. Detonating the explosives, while standing too close to them, can be dangerous in terms of the concussive shockwave associated with the blast. Just because these exploding targets are civilian legal, it does not mean they are any less dangerous in regards to their ability to injure or even kill a person. On a positive note, Tannerite is advertised as not being capable of starting fires, so this is not to be of overt concern when using the explosive targets. It may even be possible for the shockwave from an exploding target to extinguish a fire.

Are Exploding Targets Legal?

There are also certain legal concerns that must be addressed when dealing with explosive targets. The Bureau of Land Management does not allow exploding targets, such as Tannerite to be used on public lands, which means that if one wishes to use explosive targets, they must be used on private land or on certain gun ranges after obtaining explicit permission. There are also cases in which users of explosive targets have been arrested and fined for disrupting the peace, since the explosions from some of the exploding targets can be heard and felt for a radius of a mile or two from the epicenter. It is also illegal, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, to transport binary explosives that have been mixed without approved proper insurance, packaging, and signage of the vehicle.

Conclusion On Exploding Targets

For the most part, when used properly, exploding targets are quite safe and entertaining to shoot.

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