Sample Block

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

    Guidebook Title

                       Table of Contents

Previous Page Download this Section Download the Guidebook Next Page

Firearms Verification

National Firearms Act Definitions
Destructive Device

26 U.S.C. § 5845(F)

For the purposes of the National Firearms Act, the term “Destructive Device” means:

  • A missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than 1/4 oz.
  • Any type of weapon by whatever name known which will, or which may readily be converted to expel a projectile, by the action of an explosive or other propellant, the barrel or barrels of which have a bore greater than one-half inch in diameter.
  • A combination of parts designed and intended for use in converting a device into a destructive device and from which a destructive device can be readily assembled.

Various destructive devices including a M79 grenade launcher, grenades, and artillery.


  • A shotgun or shotgun shell which is determined by the Attorney General to be generally recognized as particularly suitable for sporting purposes.
  • a device which is neither designed nor redesigned for use as a weapon,
  • a device which is designed or redesigned for use as a signaling, pyrotechnic, line-throwing, safety, or similar device,
  • surplus ordnance sold, loaded, or given by the Secretary of the Army pursuant to law such as antique, obsolete bronze or iron cannon,
  • a device which the Attorney General determines is not likely to be used as a weapon.
  • An antique firearm, or
  • a rifle which the owner intended to use solely for sporting purposes.

  Go to top of page