Because of the specialized nature of manufacturing smokeless and black powders, all facilities that manufacture these powders also possess testing laboratories. These laboratories are used to confirm that the products meet the proper specifications. The required tests include quality (chemical and physical analyses, and thermal stability/compatibility) tests and ballistics (gun performance) testing. Few laboratories outside powder manufacturers have this same broad array of capabilities. Some may be able to carry out only the quality testing, which is chemically straightforward, while others, such as ammunition or gun producers, may have the facilities for just the ballistics tests.

Representative Laboratories

Outside of the laboratories managed or supported by the producers and major commercial users of black and smokeless powders, most of the facilities with the relevant expertise are government owned or operated. The following list of laboratories capable of testing the effects of markers and/or taggants on propellants is representative, but not necessarily complete. The laboratories are listed for their capabilities related to quality and ballistics testing of powders.

U.S. Department of Defense

U.S. Army Research Laboratory (Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD)

U.S. Army Armament Research Development and Engineering Center (Picatinny Arsenal, Dover, NJ)

Naval Surface Warfare Center (Indian Head, MD)3

Naval Air Warfare Center (China Lake, CA)

Radford Army Ammunition Plant (contractor is Alliant; Radford, VA)

Lake City Army Ammunition Plant (contractor is Winchester; Independence, MO)

U.S. Department of Energy4

Los Alamos National Laboratory (Los Alamos, NM)5

Sandia National Laboratory (Albuquerque, NM)

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore, CA)

Canadian Government

Canadian Explosives Research Laboratory, Natural Resources Canada (Ottawa)6


Committee member Ronald Simmons is affiliated with this organization.


These organizations are capable of quality testing, and possibly ballistics testing.


Committee member Judith Snow is affiliated with this organization.


Committee member Ronald Vandebeek is affiliated with this organization.

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