Fact Sheet - Illegal Explosive Devices
ATF investigates the use of illegal explosive devices which, are often manufactured and used during the fireworks season.
Explosive devices commonly referred to as M-80s; M-100s, M-250s; M-1000s, and cherry bombs exceed the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's explosive weight limits for consumer fireworks and are therefore classified as illegal by ATF and many other law enforcement agencies.
Under federal explosives law, it is illegal to engage in the business of manufacturing explosives without a license; to improperly store explosives; to sell or distribute explosives to any person who does not hold an ATF license or permit.
Average Size: Five-eighth inch diameter, 1.5 inches long
Average Load: Approximately 3 grams explosive mixture
Risk Factor: Damage to fingers, hands, and eyes
M-100, Silver Salute
Average Size: 1 inch diameter, 2.5 inches long
Average Load: Approximately 9 grams explosive mixture
Risk Factor: Severe damage to face, arms and body
Average Size: 1 inch diameter, 3 inches long
Average Load: Approximately 13 grams explosive mixture
Risk Factor: Severe crippling, disfiguring injuries
M-1000, Quarter Stick
Average Size: 1 inch diameter, 6 inches long
Average Load: Approximately 25-30 grams explosive mixture
Risk Factor: Extremely severe injuries to body, has caused death.
- It consists of a red, silver, yellow, salmon or brown spiral wound cardboard tube or similar product with a green hobby fuse.
- It may be 1-6 inches long and up to an inch or more in diameter.
- It is sold in non-commercial locations, such as out of a vehicle or residence.
- Individual in possession has no evidence of receipt, commercial packaging or cannot identify a purchase location.
Each year ATF investigates explosives accidents regarding the manufacture of illegal explosive devices. These accidents often result in serious injury or death and extensive damage to property. ATF cautions the public against handling suspected illegal explosive devices and urges everyone to report the manufacture or sale of such devices to their local ATF office or by calling ATF’s toll-free hotline at 1-888-ATF-BOMB (1-888-283-2662).