explosion in shooting range

It should go without saying that you shouldn’t fire incendiary rounds indoors. Unfortunately for the people in this video, it’s apparently not that obvious to everyone.

According to a post on Red Planet Arsenal’s Facebook page the terrifying fire at the 1:25 mark took place inside a Brazilian police force’s indoor range. The officers appear to be firing Dragon’s Breath shells, an incendiary 12-gauge round. The report states that the floors in the range were coated with used engine oil to keep termites from eating them, but I suspect the conflagration was caused by decades worth of unburned powder.


AIG is in the business of insuring things. As such, they have a keen interest in ensuring nothing goes wrong at the places they insure so they don’t have to pay anything out and therefore maintain a profitable business venture. To that end, they have provided their customers with some safety tips to help keep their range fire-free. Some highlights of that document include:

Prohibit the use of tracer ammunition as it is beyond the specifications of most ranges.

Tracers use a mixture of a very finely ground metallic fuel such as magnesium or aluminum and a small amount of organic fuel to provide a visual cue for machine gunners to aid in staying on target. Dragon’s Breath shotgun ammunition uses magnesium pellets to look really cool and other uses I’m not aware of. Magnesium burns at about 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit, so it will ignite Bradbury’s books and damn near anything else that it comes in contact with.

Keep range floors clean at all times.

I can’t speculate as to the veracity of Red Planet Arsenal’s report, but I don’t believe using a flammable oil is the best way to keep the floors clean or termite free. Perhaps Murphy’s Oil Soap would have been a better choice.

Wet mop indoor shooting area(s) regularly to reduce the buildup of dangerous residue.

This is the big one. Not of all the gunpowder is always burned when a round is fired, with a tiny amount of viable powder expelled out of the end of the barrel. Of course, high-end powder and ammunition will reduce this as much as possible, but cheap ammo often burns dirty, and that’s what people tend to use at shooting ranges.

In most circumstances this nearly imperceptible amount of powder is whisked away on the wind, but in the confines of an indoor range it can and will attach itself to any surface—not just the floors. And after thousands of rounds, that adds up to the kind of flare-up we see here.

And from the smoke build-up BEFORE the fire starts, it doesn’t look like this range as very good ventilation either.

A forensic analysis of a 2009 fatal fire in a Chinese indoor shooting range in the Fire Safety Journal showed that the walls ignited quickly due to gunpowder residue, and were a leading cause of the loss of life from that blaze.

Common sense should dictate that you don’t use incendiary rounds indoors. In case it hasn’t, I’m telling you that you shouldn’t.