Ever wonder how all those people who upload their videos of targets exploding on YouTube get away with possesing and detonating explosives?
Actually, no, that’s not a question I’ve ever asked, but Cheaper Than Dirt‘s Rob answers it:
This may surprise some of you, but the compound they detonate is not a regular explosive — it is a binary explosive shot indicator and subject to a different set of laws. Tannerite, the compound in question, is the trademark for a patented ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder based binary explosive used primarily as a target for firearms practice. Tannerite comes separated into two powders, which by themselves are completely harmless. You combine the two to produce the explosive. It is completely legal and you can purchase it from a number of sources. Tannerite holds unique properties in that it remains stable unless hit with a massive amount of force, such as a high velocity projectile. Simply dropping it or hitting it with a hammer will not produce any effect.
Some of you might be wondering how in the world a powerful explosive like this is legal. Interestingly, it has many legitimate uses outside of target practice. In the United States, it is a primary tool for avalanche control and police use. Tannerite falls under the same laws as black powder and all other explosives that are exempt for sporting use. ATF regulations allow the manufacturer to produce the two components separately since neither compound is an explosive by itself. However, the mixture is an explosive once mixed, and you cannot transport it without following strict regulations including insurance, packaging, and signage on the vehicle. Various regulations also govern the storage of mixed Tannerite. The compound is so stable, that low-level rifle and pistol ammunition will not set it off. Only high-velocity rounds have the energy to make Tannerite explode.
Despite its explosive capabilities, the misuse of the product has resulted in no deaths to date. Statistically speaking, a neighborhood swimming pool is far more dangerous than Tannerite. A civilian may shoot exploding rifle targets the same day they mix their Tannerite as long as they do not exceed their state’s limit on explosive powder. Per federal regulations, the law allows you to possess 50 pounds of pre-mixed powder for sporting use. A state such as Maryland has a limit of 5 pounds.
I cannot imagine this information being misused.