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Sheriff’s Office: Complaints about exploding targets rising

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By Sarah Bennett

The Hardin County Sheriff’s Office reports an increasing number of complaints about the use of exploding shooting targets.

Detective Sgt. Rex Allaman said exploding targets are a growing trend in the area. In many cases, he said the target user’s neighbor has filed the complaint.

According to Allaman, some residents have filed more than one complaint.

“The stuff is legal to have; it’s legal to use,” he explained. “Like anything, if it’s used like it’s intended, it’s not bad.”

Exploding targets can be purchased at local gun and ammunition stores. Allaman described the product as a binary explosive that mixes high-grade ammonium nitrate and aluminum oxide.

The target is set off by pressure and velocity as opposed to fire, he said.

“It gives you a signature, obviously, when you shoot it, which is a useable thing when you’re shooting at a distance,” Allaman said. “A lot of people in shooting sports can really only shoot at paper targets so much before you start to get bored of it.”

However, if used incorrectly, the targets create more than just a noise issue, Allaman said.

“I hear people that buy this stuff … talk about mixing it up, putting it in a washing machine or a refrigerator out there on their property and blowing it up,” he said. “(Or) putting it in a car and seeing if it will lift it off the ground.”

That kind of explosion not only is loud but also creates shrapnel and a risk for serious or even fatal injuries, he said.

An explosion of that nature could result in the user being charged with felony wanton endangerment, Allaman said.

The detective said he recommends using the product at a shooting range. If you plan to use it on your property, he said you have a responsibility to warn your neighbors.

“If you’re shooting this stuff off, it’s going to rattle their windows,” Allaman said. “If they don’t know what you’re doing ahead of time, they’re going to be very concerned and alarmed.”

Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750 or sbennett@thenewsenterprise.com.