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Ammunition for 37mm launchers can come in a variety of calibers and loadings. Bates & Dittus LLC Launchers are chambered to handle any manufacturer’s 37mm ammunition. With the optional 12ga and 26.5mm adapters (see products page), ammunition in the corresponding calibers can be safely used to expand the variety of loads available or to allow the user to engage in low cost practice. The Ordnance Group LLC distributes these adapters (seen under "Accessories" in this catalog).  Ammunition loads that cover a variety of requirements are available for this launcher. Ammunition is divided into two classes, that which is available to civilians and that which is restricted to law enforcement/military and others who have the appropriate federal licenses.

Civilian ammunition includes flares, smoke and other pyrotechnic rounds.

- Flares and Comets
Travel 400+ feet. Available in White, Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, Silver and Gold.

- Aerial Bombs (AKA Breakers, Bird Bombs and mortars)
Travel 100+ feet and then explode with a bright flash and loud report.

- Smoke Loads
Produce hundreds of cubic feet of dense smoke in vibrant colors.

Military/Law Enforcement
rounds include ammunition loaded with rubber projectiles and various noxious gasses. These rounds are strictly controlled and are not available on the civilian market without special license.


Not all 37mm ammunition is alike. The is no SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute) standard for 37mm ammunition as used in launchers. That being the case, ammunition manufactured by ALS, CTS, Chemring and other suppliers can differ in terms of rim diameter, rim profile and other measurements. B&D has worked diligently to make sure that their launchers are compatible with all major domestic brands of 37mm ammunition and that reliable function is assured and therefore guaranteed.

Some ammunition (that made by SAGE Manufacturing, for example) is purposely constructed to only work in their launcher products. If the ammunition that you have does not follow the general profile of a standard 37mm round (as shown in the photo), do not attempt to chamber it. Please contact your dealer if you have any questions.

During both WW1 and WW2 37mm was a standard artillery caliber. Such casings and deactivated rounds are widely available to collectors. They will not chamber in B&D launchers and no modification to any 37mm launcher should ever be attempted to accommodate such ammunition. Firing 37mm artillery ammunition from a launcher would doubtless result in the death and dismemberment of the shooter.

Only use commercially loaded ammunition designed for use in 37mm launchers. Anything else might not work and could be very, very dangerous.

Smoke and other rounds are either pyrotechnic or contain pyrotechnic components. That means that they burn HOT! Please exercise caution when using such ammunition. Flares can reach 3000 degrees and present a fire risk if used carelessly. Be aware of what is downrange and use common sense when using our products.

That said, Bates and Dittus launchers will handle standard 37mm ammunition made by any manufacturer. Available ammunition includes flares, smoke and other pyrotechnic rounds for civilian use. If you are a member of law enforcement or the military you can have a variety of “Less Than Lethal” rounds at your disposal. These include Batons, CS Gas, Wildlife Management (Bird Control) and crowd dispersing Rubber Pellets. B&D launchers are ideal for use by SWAT Teams and others with critical tactical requirements as well as hobbyists and re-enactors.


ATF Ruling 95-3 specifically states:
ATF has previously held that devices designed for expelling tear gas or pyrotechnic signals are not weapons and are exempt from the destructive device definition. However, ammunition designed to be used against individuals is available for these 37/38 mm devices. This "anti-personnel" ammunition consists of cartridges containing wood pellets, rubber pellets or balls, and bean bags.

When a gas/flare gun is possessed with "anti-personnel" type ammunition, it clearly becomes an instrument of offensive or defensive combat and is capable of use as a weapon. Since these gas/flare guns have a bore diameter of greater than one-half inch, fire a projectile by the means of an explosive, and, when possessed with "anti-personnel" ammunition, are capable of use as weapons, the combination of the gas/flare gun and "anti-personnel" ammunition is a destructive device as defined in the GCA and NFA. As a result, registration as a destructive device is required.

Any person possessing a gas/flare gun with which "anti-personnel" ammunition will be used must register the making of a destructive device prior to the acquisition of any "anti-personnel" ammunition. In addition, the gas/flare guns are classified as firearms as defined by the GCA when possessed with "anti-personnel" type ammunition.

Be aware of and observe local and federal laws when purchasing and using ammunition for your launcher.

The information contained on our Federal and Local Laws section may also prove useful and of value.

Note that the use of 12 gauge loads that contain shot might subject the user to federal penalties.

May 4, 2006
ATF’s Firearms Technology Branch (FTB) is aware of an insert/sleeve designed to be installed in an Orion 25mm/12 gauge flare launcher that allows the use of conventional ammunition in these flare launchers. FTB was contacted by Orion, who indicated that these flare launchers are not designed to accept standard ammunition, and that the use of an adapter in conjunction with conventional ammunition would likely result in a catastrophic failure of the flare launcher.

There are two sizes of inserts available; one size for a 12 gauge flare launcher and one for a 25mm launcher. These insets are smooth bore and capable of accepting a variety of different types of conventional ammunition.

It is the determination of FTB that if these inserts are installed in a flare launcher or are possessed with a flare launcher they would be classified as an “Any Other Weapon,” which is a firearm subject to the provisions of the National Firearms Act (NFA).

26 U.S.C. § 5861(d) states that it is unlawful to receive or possess an NFA firearm which is not registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. Violation of the cited section by an individual is a felony subject to a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $250,000. In the case of a violation by an organization, the maximum penalty is a $500,000 fine. In addition, 18 U.S.C. § 2 provides that a person who knowingly aids and abets another person in the commission of an offense is also responsible for the offense. Thus, the sale of components in violation of § 5861(d) may place the seller in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2, as well.

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