"You can Google all day long and the first thing that will be popping up, people will be misusing our product and other products, other brands of binary exploding targets. It's a misuse," said Dena Woerner, a publicist for Tannerite Sports.
"Our produce was created to be used as a shot indicator. With Tannerite, you can see if you actually hit your target without having to walk down the range. And when you misuse a product, you could potentially be breaking the law."
The rampant misuse of exploding targets is a "threat to our business," Woerner concedes, so much so that the company is now soliciting videos of people using the product as intended.
"If people get hurt they're going to be more regulations and restrictions. We want people to be able to have fun with the product ... if they keep misusing it, people may not have that liberty anymore."
But federal officials take issue with Tannerite's claims that their product cannot result in fires.
At a press conference announcing the ban on exploding targets in certain national forests, it released a video showing a bale of hay catching fire after an exploding target was shot. The target was Tannerite, said Forest Service spokesman Lawrence Lujan.
Lujan said other brands also cause fires, and the Forest Service is likely to extend its ban to other regions.
A big bang
At a farm on Maryland's Eastern Shore, bomb squad member Matt Wrenn takes aims a Winchester rifle at targets at a range bounded by soybean fields, woods and an earthen berm.
He flawlessly shoots at a series of targets set up to demonstrate the fire marshal's concerns about exploding targets.
First, a one-pound binary target sitting on a stump, as intended by the manufacturer. Then he flawlessly shoots at targets in front of a human silhouette, a watermelon, and finally, an old bomb squad protective suit. It shreds part of the suit, dislodging one of the protective plates.
Looking at the damaged bomb suit, Flanagan says he has no reservations about restricting access to the targets. He believes the targets are dangerous, even when used as intended.
"It (the explosive ingredients) are all in a kit. It's already made for me. I have instructions on how to do it. It's an explosive kit for dummies, and it's pretty easy to make."
Says his bomb squad commander, Jack Waldner, "The fact of the matter is, this is recreational use of explosives by people who have not been trained."