Customers acquiring goods, technical data and/or services from LTLGlobal (or any of our subsidiaries or affiliates) shall be responsible for obtaining any necessary U.S. or other government authorization required to ensure compliance with applicable export laws

​​Legal Issues Relating to 37mm Launchers


Exporters or logistics entities or firms that provide security for offshore venues have an interest in knowing the status of 37mm launchers in the US, where they might be held prior to deployment, as well as the position of the United States government on registration and international distribution and other issues.  The purpose of this section is to help clarify the legal terrain.  Note that this information is not legal advice.  To obtain that you should talk to your corporate counsel.  We will lay out the appropriate law and rulings and then provide our summary at the end.

Domestic Issues


Firearms laws in the US are complicated and vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.  That said, we are unaware, as of the writing of this document (9/2016), of any local or Federal law that regulates 37mm launchers, per se.   The BATF has issued rulings on this matter: Section 5845(f)(3) excludes from the term "destructive device" any device which is neither designed nor redesigned for use as a weapon and any device, although originally designed for use as a weapon, which is redesigned for use as a signaling, pyrotechnic, line throwing, safety, or similar device. The definition of "destructive device" in the GCA (18 U.S.C. section 921(a)(4)) is identical to that in the NFA. 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.  ATF, therefore, does not regulate 37mm launchers in and of themselves.  What they do is regulate the launchers in conjunction with ammunition.  This is accomplished through ATF Ruling 95-3 which states:

37/38 mm gas/flare guns possessed with cartridges containing wood pellets, rubber pellets or balls, or bean bags are classified as destructive devices for purposes of the Gun Control Act, 18 U.S.C. Chapter 44, and the National Firearms Act, 26 U.S.C. Chapter 53.


Adaptors to allow the use of different caliber ammunition with 37mm launchers are widely available.  If you use any "real" ammunition (ie. lead projectile rounds or shot) you are likely violating ATF rules.

May 4, 2006 BATF Determination:  FLARE INSERT – ANY OTHER WEAPON 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.



Export Issues


37mm launchers have been removed from the ITAR list.  The Department of State (DOS), Directorate of Defense Trade Controls has provided us a determination that our launchers are not subject to the jurisdiction of the DOS and hold the Export Control Classification Number 0A985.  As such they fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Commerce and require only an export permit (obtainable in 30 days) and not even that for 31 countries.  Please contact us for documentation and further information.




-          37mm launchers are signaling devices, not firearms and as such are not subject  to any federal licensing

-          This is true, to the best of our knowledge and belief, in all states and      municipalities

-          Note well that these are NOT grenade launchers so laws making reference to  grenade launchers are not relevant

-          Possession of certain 37mm ammunition WITH a launcher makes the launcher a  Destructive Device necessitating registration

-          Possession of a launcher WITH adapters for pistol, rifle or shotgun ammunition  require registration of the launcher

-          One can freely export our launchers.  An export permit from DOC may be  required