FBI Warned in March That ‘Exploding Targets’ Could Fuel Homemade Bombs but we have worried about this for a LONG time.

Ever since this happened it has been on my mind what was this made of? And over the last 24 hours we have started to learn quite a lot about the components that were used. In my other article I talked about the pressure cooker IED’s and how those have been used before. But here I want to look more at what we have available to us and WHY and how those availablites are likely to change in the future now after the Boston bombings.

It is reported that these bombs were likely fueled by Black Powder, still commonly available from Walmart to your local sporting goods store it has been around since well ancient china. “Black powder burns, it doesn’t explode,” Marks explains. To the Wired Danger Room in this article “The explosion happens once the pressure builds up.” At that point, the shell becomes “primary fragmentation,” something adding to the shrapnel wounds reported by Boston hospitals treating the survivors.

4pkThere are other possible propellents, like Tannerite, which consists of a mixture of ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder, are legal; available at sporting-goods stores and websites; and retail for fairly cheap. Tannerite was made famous by Reality TV Shows like Sons of Guns and American Guns and many YouTube videos (See Below)

Now there is no evidence that Tannerite was used, however
FBI Warned in March That ‘Exploding Targets’ Could Fuel Homemade Bombs

The FBI recently expressed concern that tighter restrictions on common bomb precursor materials like ammonium nitrate fertilizer could lead wannabe domestic extremists to pack their homemade bombs with the stuff.

“The FBI assesses with high confidence recreationally used exploding targets (ETs), commonly referred to as tannerite, or reactive targets, can be used as an explosive for illicit purposes by criminals and extremists and explosive precursor chemicals (EPCs) present in ETs can be combined with other materials to manufacture explosives for use in improvised explosive devices (IEDs),” the bureau warned on March 5. (.pdf)

Underlying the FBI’s concern: exploding targets don’t meet the federal definition of an explosive, so “their purchase is not regulated to the same degree as ammonium nitrate-containing fertilizers.” Tannerite, for instance, is sold in an inert, binary form, so it can’t explode before you want it to. Shooting-sports enthusiasts simply mix up a canister of the stuff, place it on a firing range, and let off a round — the energy from a rifle shot causes a big explosion, verifying that a shooter successfully hit his or her target.

“Currently, anyone can purchase ETs without an FEL [federal explosives license] and have them shipped without expensive hazardous materials shipping fees or placards,” states the March bulletin

Which brings me again to the future, I expect and I think you will see that we WILL see new regulation probably by executive order restricting the sales of not only exploding targets but also black powder, smokeless powder, rocket motors and who know what else..

Additional Reading Material: WIRED: FBI Warned in March That ‘Exploding Targets’ Could Fuel Homemade Bombs

WIRED: Smoke Color Is Key Clue to Analyzing Boston Marathon Bombs


Anteros Oberon
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