PSA: Respect Binary Explosives – They Can and Will (Try To) Kill You

I’ll admit it, I am completed enthralled with binary explosves like Tannerite. Having said that, I use them with extreme caution, typically on sanctioned ranges under good conditions at minimum safe distances. Those that do not heed the warnings risk life and limb.

FPSRussia’s infamous video is the most obvious reminder, but a new one cropped up a bit ago on a single rock being thrown at lethal velocity over 100 yards.

Always exersize extreme caution when having fun. It will allow you to keep having fun.

And another reminder just in case my point did not come across.

Nathan S

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • claymore

    Technically they are NOT explosives because they do NOT detonate they are consumed in deflagrations. Sorry the bomb tech in me made me do it LOL.

    However if confined in a container you will then have a mechanical explosion.

    • BattleshipGrey

      I’ve always admired your screen name and avatar, but I didn’t realize you’re an actual technician. Do you keep up to date on any attempts to regulate tannerite more heavily? I know there have been some attempts, but I don’t think they were successful. Is it just that people’s attention spans are so short that the pressure stays off of politicians? I’m not advocating that is more regulated, I just know that some want it so and I’m curious to hear from someone in “the know”.

      • claymore

        “They” the anti-gunners are still trying just because they don’t like firearms and big fireballs scare the crap out of them. But so far no results.

        But I have to say some of our people give them ammo with some of the dangerous stunts they post on the web.

    • Hokum

      Hey, bro 😉

    • bobbob

      As much as it pains me to contradict somebody with as distinguished a history as yourself, Tannerite (composed primarily of Ammonium Nitrate and Aluminium) is certainly a high explosive. The supersonic (typically >5000 m/s) exothermic decomposition of the Ammonium Nitrate present in Tannerite in the presence of a sensitiser (Aluminium) to (partially) gaseous products most certainly places it within the strict definitions of a high explosive. The confusion of it’s classification typically arises from the fact that Ammonium Nitrate is (fortunately for the blasting industry) not considered a high explosive in itself with respect to regulations of storage and transport.

      • Sulaco

        But Ammonium N is now more or less a controlled item where you used to be able to buy it in any flower shop its now a need for and permit item…

      • claymore

        But it still doesn’t detonate.

      • boostercup

        In the case of tannerite, Aluminum powder is actually the fuel. The aluminum powder will be mixed with sensitizers (total mixture ratio can be 90/10, with 90 being aluminum powder) The ammonium nitrate is the oxidizer. Depending on the amount of moisture the ammonium nitrate soaks up plus the ratio / quality of the aluminum powder (fuel) that gets mixed with it, you can certainly achieve a detonation.

        Not trying to contradict or stir the pot – but that kind of thinking is what gets people hurt. Folks put these targets on the ground, and give no thought to what the ground is made of. It’s no fun to have a piece of gravel zip through your eyeball (because everybody wants to watch) before you even hear the sound of the explosion.

        Not a bomb tech. Ordnance designer for 20+ years.

  • Tassiebush

    Gee it’s clear some people are using that stuff inappropriately. It should only really be used on pig bait stations :p
    Fantastic clips BTW!

  • MacK

    Portrait mode video shooters should die anyway 😉

    Beyond that… placing items near to or next a mechanical explosion (thx clay), not so smart. 😉

  • Canadian Vet

    I think one key term is is “danger radius”.

    All of these shooters had one thing in common: they were too damn close to the explosives. Especially the Russian. Seriously, being that close to a bomb surrounded by 3000+ pounds of shrapnel? Did he have a death wish? I think that for a second he was realizing just how close he came to becoming a poster boy for regulating reactive targets. Or getting ranges allowing tannerite shut down.

    Also, I suppose they all ought to have taken a look around their target sites and remove stuff that could have flown around. Like the second video where a piece of rock nearly brained the shooter.

    • Ripley

      “russian”. He is Kyle Myers, American with a fake accent, and he does his fun on his family farm in Georgia. I think everyone learned something from that video, especially the camera man that was even closer to death.

  • aka_mythos

    I keep seeing videos like these and all I can say is be smart. Don’t place tannerite on the slope of your berm. Explosions want to be spherical and thus the ground applies a normal force that counters the force directed towards it. That normal force is perpendicular to the ground, so putting it on a slope gives your explosion trajectory and increases the likelyhood of something flying towards you. Place your tannerite 5 ft in front of the berm and your many times safer.

    That is before you consider the safety implications of setting off a detonation into something that’s been trapping bullets and other metal in it.

  • Tim Pearce

    Common sense is the rarest resource in the world.

  • GVD

    FPSRussia’s vid is manipulated for extra drama… It’s fake. The flying bit is added post-production.
    A bit silly to use it as any kind of proof. At least do it tongue in cheek.

    • Dan

      Can you confirm that? Im lazy I don’t want to dig through the internet. Not doubting you as I can see it being possible.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    These people are all idiots.

  • iksnilol

    I am baffled by how careless people are with explosives. THEY ARE G****** EXPLOSIVES!

  • All pigs must die.

  • Tassiebush

    Thanks for that! It gets me every time. I don’t think I could ever tire of that clip!

    • Just say’n


  • Sulaco

    JHC! That guy is lucky to even be alive!!! Did you see that large door part miss him by maybe 12 inches!!! OMG

  • Sulaco

    Its safe as packaged, yes I know that but, we have it in our store and without fail every guy who picks up a bottle shakes it!!! Most people have no experience with boom stuff except for TV.

  • Oldtrader3

    Well Duh?

  • Dan

    Well we can all just look at it as natural selection. Stupid people doing stupid things won’t reproduce to pass on their stupidity. Play stupid games win stupid prizes. I can’t judge too harshly. I did some dumbass things in my younger years and the fact I am even alive is a miracle. I did not however do any of it on camera

  • Tassiebush

    That’s a pretty sad business that really illustrates the safety issue. Poor child!