Selling Pipebombs and Suicide Vests at a Gun Show in Houston

    A vendor at Texas Machine Gun & Ordnance’s gunshow in Houston had an unfinished pipebomb, claymore-esque explosive device and a suicide vest on display at his booth. Only the pipebomb was for sale, at $150 and requiring a BATFE Form 1 to complete.


    This was all a marketing stunt to drive traffic to the booth. The claymore was a tupperware container filled with ball bearings and a fake explosives, the pipebomb was a threaded pipe and the suicide vest was a tactical vest stuffed with nails.


    The local Houston Police Department at the BATFE were not impressed, but had to concede that selling these items was in fact legal. RockHard13F at Arfcom wrote

    So no shit, I just spent 90 minutes here at the gunshow with an ATF Special Agent and 3 members of the Houston Police Department’s bomb squad; explaining to them that despite their certainly that pipebombs are always illegal, they are indeed legal if registered under the NFA. Of course none of my supposed noble comrades Tom, Simon, or Matthw bothered to take a picture, thanks a lot you blue falcons.

    Aside from one HPD guy who got all worked up, and told me I’m going to jail, and said he’s going to get a warrant to search my house and business premises; everyone else gave me the dick-on-forehead look, but was pretty chill.

    After an hour of calling everyone they could, apparently they got a hold of the HMFIC at NFA branch on the weekend and he told them that yes, you can legally register a pipebomb as a Destructive Device. After they all took pictures of my pipebombs and claymore, we all laughed that it was pretty funny, shook hands, and went our separate ways.

    Texas Machine Gun & Ordnance’s first gunshow to ever be at, and we get all kinds of attention from the po-po.”

    Many gun folks apparently think this is great fun and a good way to get one over the ATF. Personally I despair when I read about stunts like this. It only serves to feed the Mainstream media narrative that gun shows are evil and that destructive devices should be made illegal.

    Update: To all the haters: I get to have an opinion. This is not Twitter where deviation from groupthink is banned. If you don’t like my opinion, you can go and  fill out a form 1, apply for a FEL, and legally buy yourself a suicide vest and a pipe bomb if you so choose.

    I never even said explosives (or anything for that matter) should be banned so put away your pitchforks. In fact TFB looked at buying some grenades recently but insurance to actually use them was far too expensive.

    Thanks to Andrew for the tip.

    Phil Note: As always when we write any article and the company or individual disagrees with TFB or just wants to respond we encourage it. The response is always verbatim with no editing whatsoever. Yesterday things were getting rather heated. While this was happening we had an open conversation with Sean owner of TXMGO. Sean was invited to respond and his response is just below (UPDATE: It is here). I have to say Sean made a very thoughtful and well written response. I for one thank him for taking the time to write this response.

    UPDATE: Sean’s response has been moved to a separate post here.

    Steve Johnson

    I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!