Sample Block

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

January 9, 2009

Contact: ATF Public Affairs Division

(202) 648-8500

ATF Rule Amends Definition of ‘Propellant Actuated Device’

Rule Clarifies Status of Hobby Rocket Motors

WASHINGTON — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) published a final rule in the Federal Register today to clarify that hobby rocket motors are not propellant actuated devices, due to the nature of their design and function. Therefore, hobby rocket motors are not covered by the exemption these devices have from the requirements of Federal explosives law and regulations.

Propellant actuated devices (PADs) are exempt from the statutory definition of explosives. Prior to the amendment, the term “propellant actuated device” was defined in the regulations to mean any tool or special mechanized device or gas generator system that is actuated by a propellant or which releases and directs work through a propellant charge.

The final rule clarifies that the term “propellant actuated device” does not include hobby rocket motors or rocket-motor reload kits consisting of or containing ammonium perchlorate composite propellant (APCP), black powder, or other similar low explosives. Such motors and reload kits would be subject to all applicable federal explosives controls pursuant to federal explosives laws, the regulations, and applicable ATF policy.

The rule does not affect ATF’s longstanding policy exempting from regulation rocket motors containing 62.5 grams or less of explosive propellant. The rule may be viewed at

ATF is the federal agency with jurisdiction for regulating the explosives industry and enforcing and administering the Federal explosives laws. More information on ATF and its programs is at