A widely available product called Tannerite, used by gun enthusiasts for target practice, is under scrutiny because its explosive qualities have put people at risk of sustaining serious injuries. Most recently, a Monroe man lost his leg when shrapnel from a Tannerite explosion severed his limb below the knee.
Tannerite is a caustic substance contained in exploding targets used by shooters during target practice, and was recently the subject of an exposé by NBC’s Today show. According to the news program, a main issue with the substance is that its active ingredient is ammonium nitrate, an additive used in the explosives behind the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and in improvised explosive devices (IEDs) used by Afghani guerrilla forces when attacking American soliders.
David Pressley, 32, of Monroe, experienced the serious risks associated with the product in late March, when shrapnel from a Tannerite blast cost him half his leg, according to U.S. News and World Report. He was firing close-range at a lawnmower filled with three pounds of the substance, when the explosion triggered the shrapnel blast.
Jennifer Plank-Greer, the subject in the Today piece, nearly lost her hand as a result of a nearby explosion of a refrigerator laced with two-pounds of combustible targets being used for target practice.
Tannerite Sports responded to the Today show report by saying that no additional regulations are needed for their product because Tannerite is inherently safe when used correctly and is not a “bomb” as the Today exposé suggests.
On its website, Tannerite Sports warns users to refrain from using Tennerite in conjunction with metal objects and advises that no more than one pound of the product be used at a time except in the case of long-range shooting competitions. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) continues to allow exploding targets to be sold on shelves and over the Internet, even in light of several recent incidents regarding its flagrant misuse.
Tannerite isn’t the only exploding target on the market. A similar product, H2 Targets, is produced by The Kentucky Gun Co. based in Bardstown, KY. There are other legal products on the market, gasoline for instance, that are flammable, caustic, and have a known use in explosions. The problem with Tannerite and other exploding targets are that, unlike gasoline, its function is not multi-faceted — they are designed to create an explosion and are marketed for that task.
Tannerite is merely the latest product being sold that could put consumers at risk.