Explosions rattling residents countywide

Tannerite explosions have been rocking the county.

Medina County Sheriff Randy Brown says they have received numerous complaints from residents rattled by people using Tannerite or similar products irresponsibly. Just this past December, several Devine area residents commented on social media about hearing a shocking big boom, which some said shook the walls of their homes, or at least seemed like it. One of those residents posted a picture of an old truck which was blown up in the area apparently using 15 lbs of Tannerite during that time frame.
Tannerite is really just one brand of binary exploding targets which are only meant for target practice per the manufacturer’s guidelines.
According to ATF.gov, “binary explosives” are packaged products consisting of two separate components. These components do not meet the definition of explosives separately. Therefore, ATF does not regulate the sale and distribution of these component chemicals even when sold together in binary kits. However, when the binary components are combined, the resulting mixture is an explosive material subject to much more regulation.
By mixing the products, binary rifle targets become an explosive. Tannerite, for example, explodes when it is struck with ammunition from a high-powered rifle. It is only legal to be mixed and used for non-commercial purposes as a shot indicator, and cannot be transported in its mixed form without proper endorsements. However, it is prohibited in some areas, and manufacturers warn users to check with state, county and local laws and regulations.
Sheriff Brown says he is looking into ordinances regarding use of these products.
“These explosives are being set off in populated areas, with no regard to their neighbors, causing windows to rattle and it’s scaring them,” said Sheriff Brown. “It happens about twice a month. The last one we dealt with was west of Devine out past the airport. Then the dispatch phones start lighting up and we start running all over the place trying to find what blew up. It’s definitely a problem, and it’s often mixed with people that have drank too much. It has led to deaths and injuries across the nation.”
Because it is sold in an unmixed form, it can be sold and used without the legal restrictions that might otherwise apply to explosives. These “reactive rifle targets” become explosives once they are mixed together.
How far the tremors travel depends on how many pounds of these “reactive rifle targets” are used, but some news outlets have reported that when it explodes it can be heard and or felt from a mile away. Tannerite, and similar products, are sold in small quantities between ¼ and 2 pounds (with 2 lb targets being sold to professionals only, according to their website), but even on their website it outlines how small targets can be combined for a bigger blast, though it’s not really recommended that more than 2 lbs be mixed.
The manufacturer recommends being 200 yards away before setting off a 2 lb target, so one can imagine how big of a blast a 15lb explosion makes.
To their credit, on tannerite.com it states that the “The legal use of the product is as a shot indicator only.” In addition it states, “Common sense and local noise regulations dictate how much you can use without getting cited for disturbing the peace.” It also states that users should “Never place these targets inside, on top of, or under any metal, rock, or other surface that could produce flying debris or sparks, or within another object. This is dangerous and constitutes improper use of the product.”
However, in many cases as with the truck mentioned earlier, that is exactly what many are using the explosive targets for.
“I think that setting off any amount of Tannerite near a neighboring residence is inconsiderate,” Sheriff Brown said. “There’s no place in the county that a home/neighbors are not affected by the noise and shock of an explosion.”