First, to be clear, the name Tannerite is appearing in news stories attributed to unnamed law enforcement sources. Tannerite residue was reportedly found on the two bombs discovered in New York over the weekend. Other bombs linked to the suspect, Ahmad Rahami, who is now in custody, may have used different explosives. These reports may be wrong in part or whole.
The company that makes Tannerite is skeptical. Steve Yerger, an investigator for the company, says he has not been able to confirm with the FBI or other law enforcement agencies that Tannerite was in fact found in the New York bombs. What’s more, he says he doesn’t know how it could have been used.
In the company’s tests, says Yerger, Tannerite can only be detonated by the impact of a high-velocity bullet. A burning fuse, an electrical current, a hammer blow; none of those will work, according to him. There have been no reports that a gunshot was used to trigger the bomb that exploded in New York on Saturday.
I don’t believe that Tannerite can only be detonated by bullets. I would bet that a blasting cap of the correct type would detonate it just fine. Of course blasting caps are not easy to come by. But, still, I think an improvised blasting cap could be constructed that would do it.
There are a lot of people using Tannerite for recreational shooting. Certain people, mostly those afraid that someone, somewhere is having fun, have been trying to ban or put severe restrictions on Tannerite. But, prior to this, to the best of my knowledge Tannerite hasn’t been intentionally used to harm people or the property of others. People have done a lot of stupid stuff with it, but mostly they have hurt themselves and made messes they couldn’t clean up. If it was used in a terrorist attack, it could be a big deal.
But, of course, Amazon and the black market can easily supply what the free market can’t.
Those who need to know already know what this means: