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What is tannerite gender reveal?

Gender reveal parties have become increasingly popular in recent years as a way for expectant parents to share the sex of their baby with family and friends. Some parents choose to incorporate explosives, such as Tannerite, into these events to create a dramatic reveal moment.

What is Tannerite?

Tannerite is a brand name for a patented binary explosive target used primarily for firearms practice. It consists of two inert powder components – ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder – that are sold separately. When mixed together in the proper ratios, these components form an explosive when shot by a high-velocity bullet.

Tannerite explodes when hit by a bullet traveling at least 2,000 feet per second. It creates a loud noise and vaporizes into a cloud of water vapor and fine particles when detonated. The brand states that it is legal to own and transport Tannerite as the components are not classified as explosives by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives until mixed.

How is Tannerite Used in Gender Reveals?

Some parents incorporate Tannerite into elaborate gender reveal announcements. They may pack the binary explosive into a target container filled with either pink or blue powder. When shot, the target explodes in a flash of color indicating whether the baby is a boy or girl.

The amount of Tannerite used can vary. Some gender reveal events utilize less than a pound placed in a small target. However, there are documented cases of expectant parents using over 80 pounds of the explosive material to create enormous explosions.

Dangers and Concerns

While novel, utilizing Tannerite and other explosives for a gender reveal poses serious risks.

  • The shockwave from the explosion can injure people nearby if the correct safety protocols are not followed.
  • Flying debris and shrapnel from the target container can seriously harm unintended targets.
  • The explosive cloud can ignite if exposed to an open flame, creating a dangerous fire hazard.
  • Tannerite explosions have triggered unintended fires that burned thousands of acres.

Authorities generally advise against using any explosive materials for a gender reveal, even small amounts of Tannerite. The potential dangers substantially outweigh the entertainment value for spectators.

Notable Tannerite Gender Reveal Incidents

Several high-profile incidents highlight the potential hazards of using explosives like Tannerite for gender reveal parties:

Date Location Details
October 2019 Kingman, Arizona An explosion from 80 pounds of Tannerite sparked a 10-acre brush fire.
April 2017 Green Valley, Arizona An explosion from Tannerite caused an estimated $8 million in damage, starting the Sawmill Fire which burned 47,000 acres.
February 2021 New Hampshire An explosion killed a 28-year-old man who was building a gender reveal device.

These examples demonstrate the potential for life-threatening injuries and massive property damage when using explosive gender reveal devices. Even experienced explosives handlers can make deadly miscalculations.

Alternative Gender Reveal Ideas

Parents looking for unique gender reveal concepts without dangerous explosives have many safer options to consider:

  • Pop a balloon filled with colored powder or confetti
  • Open a sealed box with pink or blue balloons inside
  • Have a baker make a color-filled cake
  • Use silly string cans to spray pink or blue
  • Reveal colored smoke from a canister
  • Have guests vote boy or girl and graph results
  • Do a scavenger hunt with gender-themed clues
  • Paint handprints on a canvas with pink or blue paint
  • Have a friend fly a remote control plane that drops pink or blue streamers
  • Release pink or blue pigeons trained to fly home

These and many other creative ideas avoid the noise, debris, and danger associated with explosives like Tannerite. A fun gender reveal need not carry the risk of starting an uncontrolled blaze or injuring spectators.

Legal Consequences

Law enforcement agencies take a dim view of explosive gender reveal stunts, particularly those that cause injuries or damage. Violators can face serious criminal charges and civil liability.

Charges may include:

  • Reckless endangerment
  • Arson
  • Criminal mischief
  • Trespassing
  • Discharging firearms within city limits
  • Property damage
  • Public nuisance

Authorities in Arizona recommended charging the couple responsible for the 2017 Sawmill Fire with millions of dollars in restitution. The guilty parties ultimately agreed to pay $220,000 and complete a period of probation to settle a civil case.


Ultimately, tannerite and other explosives have no place in a gender reveal event. The intention is celebrating new life, not endangering party guests and putting property at risk. Any parents considering this idea should abandon plans that involve dangerous or flammable materials.

A baby’s sex does not necessitate a mushroom cloud or sonic boom to share the news with loved ones. There are countless creative ways to have fun and make memories without compromising safety. Parents should focus on bringing everyone together in joy rather than detonating destructive explosions.

The best gender reveal is having a happy mother and healthy baby.