Are Tracer Rounds Legal? and 4 More Tracer Questions Answered

Tracer Ammo

This articles answers important questions about tracer ammunition. These questions include legal, fire, and concerns about barrel damage.

Are Tracer Rounds Illegal or Legal?

Tracer ammunition is legal for personal use according to federal law. Some states prohibit tracer rounds from being sold and possessed by the general public. For example, Connecticut law bans “knowingly distributing, transporting, importing into the state, keeping, offering, or exposing for sale” tracer ammunition. California law is has a similar law with an exception for shotgun tracers.

Can Tracers Start a Fire?

Yes, tracers burn very hot. They can quickly ignite anything combustible such as gasoline, and dry plant material. Civilian shooting ranges normally prohibit tracer ammunition use because of the risk of starting a fire.

Range fires in Dallas and Lake Christine occurred as a result of tracer ammunition.

Will Tracer Rounds Ignite Gasoline?

Gasoline vapors will ignite with oxygen and heat as low as 495 degrees Fahrenheit. Tracer compound can burn hotter than 3000 degrees. If a gasoline container is shot by a tracer round, then gasoline vapor will be exposed to oxygen and the heat from the tracer. Consequently, shooting a gasoline container with tracers can cause a gasoline fire.

Can Tracer Ammunition be Used Safely?

Shooting tracer ammunition can be done safely. The tracer bullets should land in an easily seen area with no combustible material such as dry grass. This will allow the shooter to look for a tracer fire. Also, non-incendiary tracer ammunition provide safe, illuminated shots that do not produce heat or fires.

This cold tracer ammunition can safely be shot indoors

Can Tracers Damage a Barrel?

Tracer rounds will not damage a barrel under normal use. However, tracers shoot hotter than standard ammunition. Therefore, heavy use of tracers with fully automatic or fast semi-automatic fire can cause a barrel and other parts to warp or melt. Barrel thickness effects heat dissipation. Thinner barrels will damage faster from tracer heat.

Also, tracer residue may cause malfunctions with gas operated firearms.

Andrew Jordan

I’m a lifelong native of Memphis, TN. Shooting drills especially with 22LR are one of my passions. My concealed carry permit application was submitted on my 21st birthday. The P10C is my EDC pistol. I invented the patented 15 round 5.56 stripper clip. You can also find me on the “Concealed Carry Andrew” Youtube channel.

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