Patrick O’Neill, Head of Explosives Branch, Issues Stern Warning to Target Shooters

Binary, reactive or exploding targets are exciting. Blowing things up is just plain fun. There’s no doubt about that.

These targets are also incredibly dangerous when used improperly, as dozens of YouTube videos can attest.  More than one gun owner is missing body parts after they combined gross stupidity with explosives and guns.

Binary, reactive or exploding targets, such as the Tannerite and Sure Shot brands, were made available in Canada three years ago after passing the requirements of the Explosives Branch of Natural Resources Canada.  It’s a decision Patrick O’Neill, head of the Explosives Branch, was pleased to announce at the CSSA’s Annual General Meeting in 2014.

Since that time Mr. O’Neill’s office has received numerous complaints from people who are unhappy with the way some target shooters misuse these products. In 2016 he re-issued a regulatory reminder to firearm businesses and to target shooters urging them to use exploding or reactive targets properly.

Binary kits/exploding targets are used and enjoyed by many in safe shooting environments. Binary kits include separate ingredients (e.g. ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder), that when mixed together become reactive targets that will react when hit by a projectile of sufficient velocity.

If not properly handled and used according to instructions and Regulations, there’s potential for injuries to users or harm to property. If not properly stored, they could end up in the wrong hands. Binary kits sold for use as reactive targets can lawfully be used for that purpose only.

That reminder, titled “Regulatory Reminder on the Use of Reactive Targets, (Type S.2) High Hazard Special Purpose Explosives” ended with this:

It is the responsibility of all sellers and users of these special purpose explosives to ensure compliance with the Explosives Act and Regulations and to keep these potentially dangerous materials from misuse.

At the 2017 CSSA Annual General Meeting Patrick O’Neill gave another excellent presentation on the Explosives Act and the responsibilities we, as gun owners, have under that Act.  His presentation is excellent and one I heartily recommend you set aside an hour to watch the video below in its entirety. It’s well worth the time.

Patrick O’Neill’s message to gun owners this year was clear and unequivocal.  Stop misusing these targets or he will remove them from the approved list.  Then we will have nobody to blame but ourselves, just like when the BC Government shut down target shooting in the Lower Mainland due to ignorance, stupidity and recklessness, as I wrote about in my April 6 article, BC Creates No Shooting Zones Thanks to Ignorant Shooters.

Make no mistake.  This is a clear-cut case of gun owners and target shooters being 100% in the wrong.  If we were not misusing these products Patrick O’Neill would not receive so many complaints.

We must clean up our act.  It’s that simple.

“I can’t regulate stupidity, so I really, really want people to listen. And if you’re in retail, I really want you to encourage your consumers to use it in the prescribed, lawful manner because we have removed products from the marketplace.  Sometimes the stuff that comes to our attention is too hard to debate and remember, I said I was fact-based and when you’re presented with enough facts sometimes you have to react, so… I’m welcoming the opportunity Tony’s provided because I have to give a clear message. If people keep continuing to misuse the product it will be removed from the authorized list.

It is critical to point out that Patrick O’Neill is one of the best friends Canadian gun owners have in government. He makes his decisions based on evidence and facts, not emotion. He is a great guy. He is approachable, pleasant to deal with and incredibly knowledgeable. He is also a shooter and gun owner. He is on our side, to be sure, but he has a job to do and he will do that job regardless of whether it impacts gun owners negatively or not.

Don’t blame Patrick O’Neill when he removes these products from Canada. It will be our fault for refusing to pay attention, for failing to heed his repeated warnings to use these targets safely and responsibly.

BC target shooters learned a harsh lesson earlier this year.  Don’t let Canadian gun owners learn another harsh lesson by continuing to behave irresponsibly with reactive / binary / exploding targets.

Once these products are removed from the Canadian marketplace they will never return. Patrick O’Neill’s office will already have all the evidence needed to prove we can’t use them responsibly.

Watch the video below.  Heed the warning Patrick O’Neill offers.  Educate your fellow target shooters about the safe and proper use of binary targets.

Or do nothing and we lose another round due to our own ignorance and stupidity.



Below are two videos.  The first is the excerpted portion of his presentation dealing specifically with reactive/binary/exploding targets.  The second is his complete presentation.

The first is the excerpted portion of his presentation dealing specifically with reactive / binary / exploding targets.  The second is his complete presentation which ought to be required viewing for all firearm owners.

Natural Resources Canada Patrick O’Neill on Reactive Targets and Shooters Behaving Poorly


CSSA Seminar – Patrick O’Neill on Gun Owner Responsibilities under the Explosives Act (head of Explosives Branch, Natural Resources Canada)


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