Dragon's Breath usually refers to a zirconium-based pyrotechnic shotgun round. When the round is fired, sparks shoot out to about 5 m (20 feet).While it has few tactical uses, the visual effect it produces is impressive, similar to that of a short-ranged flamethrower.
The pyrotechnic shell is expensive compared to other shells, costing around ($5.00) per shell or (£3.06p).
Because it is a very low-power round, it cannot be used in a automatic shotgun; it does not produce enough recoil energy to cycle the next shot, causing the firearm to jam. An additional reason for use only in a manually-operated firearm is the fact that the round shoots at least a little flame for 3--5 seconds. This would cause a hazard if a shell still emitting flame were
to be ejected from an automatic shotgun.
Dragon's Breath rounds are banned in many locations, due to their inherent fire hazard. Even in areas where the round may be shipped, an extra fee for hazardous materials may be charged.
790.31 Armor-piercing or exploding ammunition or dragon's
breath shotgun shells, bolo shells, or flechette shells prohibited.—
(1)(b) "Exploding bullet" means any bullet that can be fired from
any firearm, if such bullet is designed or altered so as to detonate or
forcibly break up through the use of an explosive or deflagrant contained
wholly or partially within or attached to such bullet. The term
does not include any bullet designed to expand or break up through
the mechanical forces of impact alone or any signaling device or
pest control device not designed to impact on any target.
(2)(b) Any person who possesses an armor-piercing bullet or
exploding bullet with knowledge of its armor-piercing or exploding
capabilities loaded in a handgun, or who possesses a dragon's
breath shotgun shell, bolo shell, or flechette shell with knowledge of
its capabilities loaded in a firearm, is guilty of a felony of the third
degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s.
The law in the State of Illinois states that a Dragon's Breath round is any round that "contains exothermic pyrophoric mesh metal as the projectile and is designed for the purpose of throwing or spewing a flame or fireball to simulate a flame-thrower". This shotgun round is banned for use by anyone who is not authorized to possess, manufacture, or sell by the law. The wording is very similar for Florida as well.