Explosive targets raising major concerns for Arizona, federal law enforcement

Over-the-counter exploding targets used in recreational shooting are raising concerns for local and federal law enforcement officers.

The targets are commonly called Tannerite, the most popular brand. But there are many companies who manufacture similar products.

The powerful targets are unregulated and can be bought in popular sporting goods stores across the country with no questions asked.

The targets are sold as ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder that you mix together. They ignite when shot with high-velocity  ammunition.

There are thousands of internet videos of people blowing up the targets, including many in which people add explosive material or stuff the targets inside other objects.

In some cases, shooters and bystanders have been injured when the targets are improperly used.

The ABC15 Investigators have learned that the multiple federal agencies and some Arizona police agencies are worried about the products being abused or used for “nefarious” reasons.

“(Ammonium nitrate) is one of the primary explosives being used in Afghanistan against soldiers in the field,” said Sgt. Chris Rogers, commander of the Pima County Sheriff’s bomb squad.

Rogers said there is a fine line when it comes to using these explosives legally and crossing into criminal activity.

He said county attorneys could interpret adding explosive materials, like gasoline, to the targets or stuffing them inside of objects as a violation of Arizona’s improvised explosive device statute.

The ATF and FBI are also concerned about the product.

In fact, the FBI sent out a warning that exploding targets could create homemade  bombs.

To demonstrate, PCSO rigged a target to a wire and detonated it from a distance.

In an interview with ABC15’s sister station in Indianapolis , a Tannerite spokesperson said their product is completely safe if used appropriately.

The company strongly encourages people not to misuse the product.

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