This section did not appear in the original book.
FM31-210 Improvised Munitions
In 1969 the CorpGov US Army subsidiary had their special forces instructors and engineers write a book that soldiers deep behind enemy lines could use to make a vast array of simple and effective weapons from common objects and substances. This work was paid for by USA tax dollars and is thus in the public domain.
A word of caution and reflection: This information is knowledge which is power; nothing you read here could not be learned by visiting a high school or university library. All of the devastation that could be caused by these designs and mixtures are to be used only in a defensive manner. We are not in a civil war yet and we don't want to have to hurt anyone, demonstration and protest are our medium and we wish to keep it that way striving and winning with marches and signs not rifles and bombs. The Governments and corrupt leadership of most of the world have been taking another darker direction and we are in real fear for our very lives and freedoms. You will have to live with the decision you make, taking the path of destruction must only be the last resort. All humans are one family but you have a responsibility that family to preserve freedom at all costs.
That said destruction of objects where you can ensure no loss of life is a major but acceptable escalation if all free forms of expression are closed up by a government using emergency powers. Don't expect any escalation to be met by anything short of deadly violence. This book external to Steal This Book/Wiki is another boost to those who fear being oppressed to death.
DIY Explosives Myths
Myth - Microwaving aerosol cans will blow the room up when the timer hits zero.
Truth - the microwave will probably not even pop the cans, however it may cause damage to the microwave.
Myth - Military explosives can be detonated with a nine volt battery.
Truth - C-4 and other standard explosives are safe and insensitive, and require explosive initiation (i.e. detonator cap.) Not to say a 9v battery can't set off a blasting cap...
Myth - Smokeless gun powder will detonate like dynamite if confined in a can or tennis ball and ignited with a fuse.
Truth - Most of the time, it will only pop the container and burn. Even a pipe bomb will usually just expel a jet of gas/debris without exploding.
Myth - All explosives detonate if dropped.
Truth - Most commercial and military explosives are fairly stable. Even most dynamite is now made with a more stable mix that does not regular turning due to nitroglycerine leakage.
Myth - Explosives can be made in an airplane restroom with safe non-toxic chemicals.
Truth - There are no common liquid binary explosives that can be safely mixed in an airplane lavatory. All known liquid binary explosives require chemicals that would be rather dangerous to handle and mix except under laboratory conditions. see acetone peroxide
Myth - Acetone Peroxide AKA "Mother of Satan" is a useful explosive.
Truth - Made from reasonably easy to obtain ingredients acetone, concentrated hydrogen peroxide, and sulphuric acid, it is highly unstable to shock and friction. If you know of someone planning to manufacture acetone peroxide in quantity beyond a few grams get away and stay very far away, they are likely to blow themselves up and anyone nearby. It's ONLY redeeming value is ease of manufacture.
Myth - Letting a gas stove run unlit with a candle burning in the next room can blow up a house.
Truth - Gas can be used to destroy a house, but it would likely need to be liquefied and pressurized in a container like liquid propane, and ignited with a timed igniter. You're more likely to burn the house down than blow it up.
Myth - A stick of dynamite is deadly many meters away.
Truth - A bare stick of dynamite is not the nuclear bomb most people think of. Small explosive charges lose much of their power in open spaces (hence why the military uses fragmentation bombs to damage a wide area). Inside a room or closed space, however, many explosives can cause severe injury or death.
Simple Explosive Formulation
If at all possible obtain commercial or military explosives for your blasting needs, they are made to strict quality control laws and standards and if employed by a trained person can very safely be used for engineering related tasks. Training and proper source material is exceedingly important, the best sources available to most people are military engineering manuals which describe the charges and emplacement of explosives as well as ways to economize on your blasting charges. Detonators/caps must be kept in a cap box away from your explosives, try to stick with electrical detonators, keep electrical detonator leads twisted/shorted so static electricity cant fire them accidentally.
If you need simple explosives for engineering or demolition purposes here is some basic information if you are unable to get the 31-210 manual. There are two basic types of common improvised explosives, nitrated chemicals and fuel/oxidizer mixes. Most nitrated chemicals like nitroglycerin, TNT, RDX, and nitrocellulose are produced by introducing glycerin, toluene, hexamine, and cellulose to concentrated nitric acid while monitoring the acid temperature so the reaction doesn't get out of control. Fuel/oxidizer mixes are well known as things like black powder (6pts potassium nitrate, 4pts charcoal, and a 1pt sulfur), ANFO-16pts ammonium nitrate,finely ground(High AN fertilizer, instant cold packs)/1p diesel fuel(keep the AN sealed and dry as exposure to airborne humidity will reduce its explosive power), Sugar-Shock 1pt sugar/2pt pool chlorine shock treatment. All of these work best using a blasting cap, to jump start the explosive reaction but commercial caps can be difficult to obtain. Below are the two easiest to obtain formulas from the improvised munitions book one for an initiating explosive and one for a booster explosive used in improvised blasting caps.
Redundancy with quality commercial or military explosives and initiators is required, this means redundant detonators, two sets of wires to different blasting caps, or two sets of time fuse, this rule is even more important for improvised explosives and initiators since a hang fire is one of the most dangerous situations possible. With improvised blasting solutions four, six, even eight sets of redundant caps and wires or caps and fuses make sense and can save lives since you don't have to send anyone up to disassemble or recap a hang fire. Rarely is it advisable to use time fuse since once lit there is no safe way to approach the explosive, especially if improvised fuse is employed. You must short out all redundant blasting wires so as to prevent static electricity from firing your charge, always twist unused detonator leads so they stay shorted out too.
Several sticks of dynamite or other normal explosive initiated by a blasting cap will be needed to set off insensitive ammonium nitrate/diesel fuel engineering charges. Most explosives work best if covered with mud and sandbags or confined inside a container to increase the amount of energy delivered to the target.
If several detonators are needed for a job make one batch as shown at a time and load into detonators, do not store this explosive!!
You will need
- Hexamine (crushed esbit stove tablets)
- Hydrogen Peroxide (hair bleach, some wood bleaching solutions, 6% concentration minimum)
- Citric Acid (sour salt, spice section at grocery store)
- Measure 9 Tablespoons of Hydrogen Peroxide into a metal cup, place this cup into a bowl of iced water to keep the reaction cool.
- In 3 portions dissolve 2 1/2 teaspoons of crushed hexamine into the peroxide and let cool for 30 minutes.
- In 5 portions dissolve 4 1/2 teaspoons crushed citric acid.
- Remove cup form cold water and allow to sit for 8-24 hours when crystals collect at the bottom of the cup.
This Is Now A Sensitive HIGH EXPLOSIVE! Exercise EXTREME CAUTION!
- Pour contents through a filter or paper towel and save the crystals.
- Pour 6 teaspoons of water over the collected HMTD crystals and then allow to dry.
You need a real high explosive to use as a booster charge in detonators especially of use with questionable improvised explosives. This explosive is safe to store in non-metallic containers.
You will need
- Aspirin tablets.
- Alcohol, 95% strength (Liquor store, Fuel line Antifreeze)
- Sulphuric acid (concentrated car battery acid [low boiled until temp is over 100C], some drain unclog solutions)
- Ammonium Nitrite (Instant Cold packs, Fertilizer [Although buying large quantities can get you on a certain watch-list])
- Crush 15 aspirin tablets and 1 teaspoon water.
- Add 1/3 to 1/2 (100ml) alcohol and mix for several minutes.
- Filter solution and discard the solids keep the liquid.
- Evaporate the alcohol mix by heating in a bowl sitting in a pan of hot water 160-180 F (not boiling)on a hotplate. Collect dry powder.
- Pour 1/3(80ml) cup concentrated sulphuric acid into a glass jar and add powder from above.
- Place jar in pan of simmering water for 15 min, it will turn yellow-orange color.
- Add 4 level teaspoons (25 grams) of potassium nitrate in three portions to the yellow-orange solution, it will turn red and then back to C.
- Allow solution to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally with a plastic or glass rod.
- Slowly pour the solution into a container of 1 1/4 cup (300ml) cold water while stirring and allow to cool.
- Pour the yellow-orange solution through a coffee filter over a glass container.
- Wash the light yellow-orange crystals in the filter with 2 Tbs (25ml) water and save the crystals in the filter. Discard the liquid.
- Dry the crystals on a plate in a bath of hot(not boiling) water
Safe Blasting Cap Assembly
If you want to use a fired rifle bullet casing drill out the primer pocket and insert improvised fuse with one end knotted. Use the press shown below from the 31-210 manual to compress 0.75 gram of HMTD crystals into a fired bullet case followed by 2 grams of picric acid booster charge.
Be sure that you are wearing goggles and have the guards in place. If you are using a design different from the 31-210 improvised detonator keep in mind that the fuse or squib must be touching the primary explosive, most often this means compressing the booster charge into the tube first and then the primary explosive, sometimes a layer of black powder is added and compressed against the sensitive primary explosive so there is a layer of easily ignited flammable substance on top that is not sensitive to easy detonation from scratching or inserting a fuse or electrical squib. If real blasting time fuse is available attempt to obtain tube which is easily crimped to the fuse for making your blasting caps.
Compressing primary explosive will occasionally cause several of the caps to detonate during production, this is normal. Keeping this in mind work in a safe area, the plywood shielding will prevent fragments of the case from injuring you, wear eye and ear protection. Uncompressed primary explosive is highly sensitive and must not be transported after it is produced until it is packed into detonators or destroyed.
An electrical squib made from model rocket igniters or a loop of nichrome wire covered in match head compound and sealed with nail polish can be used to fire your initiators if you prefer command or timer detonation to time fuse.