COMMODITY: Small arms ammunition (shotshell, rimfire and centerfire) as 1.4S; 25 kg net maximum per package; 50 caliber / 8 gauge or less, inert bullets or tracer only; or above 50 Cal/8 gauge with an EX approval.



PROPER SHIPPING NAME:Cartridges, small armsLABEL:1.4S



Unlike other modes of transport, small arms ammunition is forbidden to ship as a limited quantity by international air. Industry is not pursuing the ability to ship ammo as LQ by international air because:

  • Unlike other modes where LQ has significant cost savings, the only exception by air is from package testing; there is no exception from shipping papers or labeling.
  • Unlike other modes where the 5 kg limitation applies to each inner package, the 5kg limit in international air applies to the entire shipping case. A majority of ammunition packages would not qualify.
  • Many airlines have filed variations prohibiting LQ shipments.

As a consequence, industry got the LQ surface mark approved for LQ air transport domestically in the USA, and obtained an example in IATA that the LQ surface mark may remain on the package and be ignored in international air. This eliminates the labor to remove it, and allows the package to be LQ during the international journey on the surface leg subsequent to air transport.

Therefore the LQ-Y mark should never be used.

Citations: IATA (operator restrictions); Dangerous Goods List Columns G & H (LQ is forbidden); and Figure 7.2.A (the ground LQ mark is allowed and ignored)


The USA (and no other country) has a special 25 kg net limitation on the amount of hazardous materials allowed on an aircraft. The requirement is applied into international air shipments by US Variation 13 for shipments to, from, or transiting the US.

The requirement is triggered when the hazmat is not accessible to the crew, e.g. the compartments in the belly of a passenger aircraft. Theoretically it is helpful if a crew member could access the freight during flight to mitigate a burning or leaking package, e.g. use a fire extinguisher.

While the accessibility requirement applies to all aircraft, the requirement is only difficult or impossible to meet for  passenger aircraft, while pallet shipments on cargo aircraft are not impeded. The USA has a strong cargo aircraft network, but this is not true of the world in general. Passenger aircraft is normally the only way to get to commercially remote destinations, via the national passenger airline, e.g. Malaysia Airlines to get to Malaysia, or Turkish Airlines to get to Turkey. It is often difficult to switch airlines once outside the USA due to chain-of-custody requirements of the USA export regulations. Therefore the accessibility requirement prohibits significant trade with remote locations.

Certain hazardous materials are excepted from this requirement, including LQ shipments of ammo (UN 0012), blank ammo (UN 0014) and empty primed cartridges (UN 0055). To qualify, the packages must have the LQ mark in accordance with 173.63(b)(1)(i), even if the shipment is being sent as 1.4S. Packages not meeting 173.63(b)(2) packaging requirements are not eligible and should not have the LQ mark.

The LQ-Y mark is prohibited for international air shipments of ammo, because ammo is not allowed as LQ by air outside the USA. The LQ surface mark is allowed for air transport in the USA, and is allowed and ignored for international air. Therefore, the surface LQ mark should always appear on LQ ammo, and the LQ-Y mark should never appear for any reason. This also allows the ammo to be shipped by ground as LQ before and after the air leg of multi-modal journeys. For these ground legs, enforcement in some jurisdictions may not allow voluntary application of the 1.4S label on LQ packages, so text was introduced into the UN and ADR specifically allowing LQ transport of packages marked with both the LQ mark and the 1.4S label (UN Model Regulations, ADR

Citations: 173.63(b)(1)(i)173.63(b)(2)49 CFR §175.75(c)49 CFR §175.75(d)(1)49 CFR §175.75(e)(1)49 CFR §175.75(f)(Note 1)(e)


Cartridges, small arms 50 cal or less with inert bullets (including tracers but no incendiary or exploding bullets) may be self-classified by the manufacturer (without an EX approval) as UN 0012, Cartridges, small arms, Division 1.4S explosive and packaged without written government approval, as follows :

  • The package must be tested, and bear the specification package mark.
  • The maximum gross weight is typically 400 kg (882 pounds) per package (bearing in mind the maximum net weight is 25 kg for passenger aircraft or 100 kg for cargo-aircraft-only).
  • Ammunition must be packed per Packing Instruction 130; inner and intermediate packaging is allowed but not required. These outer packagings are allowed:
  • The packaging codes are specifications with minimum standards of construction and maximum gross weights.

Citation: IATA marking, 6.2 specifications, 6.3 testing


International air transport is subject to the requirements of IATA, the International Air Transport Association. A special document is required called a Dangerous Goods Declaration (DGD) in addition to any standard bill of lading. Fill out the DGD as follows in four sequences:

Sequence 1 – Dangerous Goods Identification

The sequence is: “UN 0012, Cartridges, small arms, 1.4S”. There is no packing group.

For multiple products, each change to Sequence 1 must be on a new line.

Sequence 2 – Quantity and Type of Packing

The sequence is “QUANTITY PACKAGING:MATERIAL-TYPE X NET-QUANTITY, NEQ”, e.g. “5 fibreboard boxes X 11 kg, 1 kg NEQ”. Quantity is the number of shipping cases (packages). The degree of rounding is not specified, but may be to the nearest kilogram, and should be consistent between the DGD, package and overpack markings. Packaging type is material and type, e.g. “fibreboard boxes” or “steel drums”. Metric units must be used, which for solids is “kg”, not capitalized. For ammunition, NEQ is the powder and primer mix; however the amount of primer mix is often only 1/100th of the powder and may be lost in the rounding.

For multiple products, each change to Sequence 2 must be on a different line, e.g. different net weight, but Sequence 1 does not have to be repeated if together. See IATA DGR Figure 8.1.K.

When overpacks are used:

  • Packaging in overpacks must be listed first.
  • The wording “Overpack Used” must be inserted on the declaration form immediately after all the entries in the overpack.
  • When a consignment consists of multiple overpacks each overpack must have an identification marking any alpha-numeric format) and be marked with the total quantity of dangerous goods within the overpack including the unit of measurement.
  • The total quantity(ies) shown on the Shipper’s Declaration must match the total quantity(ies) shown on the overpack.
  • Multiple overpacks with identical contents must be identified as follows: “Overpack Used X (number of identical overpacks)”, (see IATA Figure 8.1.L and Figure 8.1.N, examples 8 and 10). Multiple overpacks with different contents must be identified by listing them separately

Sequence 3 –Packing Instruction

Write the number of the applicable packing instruction, “130”.

Sequence 4 – Authorizations

Normally the EX number should be provided and attached. This UN number does not require EX approvals for 50 caliber / 8 gauge and below. Instead, make a statement and cite USG-05, a US government variation stating that they require EX numbers, but that small arms ammunition is excepted per 49 173.56(h), e.g. “These articles are of the kind described in 49 CFR 173.56(h), and are authorized by USG-05 without documentation”.

Citation: IATA


Packages containing small arms ammunition must display the following markings and at least 6mm (1/4”) high, or an appropriate size for packages which are ≤5 kg net, as follows:

  • Proper shipping name – “Cartridges, small arms”
  • UN# – “UN 0012”
  • the full name and address of the shipper and the consignee, located on the same package surtace and near the proper shipping name, if the package dimensions are adequate;
  • the net quantity, in kilogram units abbreviated “kg” in lower case letters, e.g. “15.2 kg”. This quantity must be marked adjacent to the UN number and proper shipping name. It may be rounded to the nearest kilogram, or to a desired level of decimals for better accuracy and alignment with the overpack weight. The net quantity should be identical to that shown on the Dangerous Goods Declaration document.
  • the specification package marking, placed in a location and of such size relative to the package as to be readily visible. Must be pre-printed or affixed, and not handwritten. For packages with a gross weight exceeding 30 kg the marking, or a duplicate thereof, must appear on the top or on the side of the package. For example:

The 1.4S hazard label must be applied as follows:

  • When the package dimensions are adequate, labels must be located on the same surface of the package near the proper shipping name marking.
  • Labels should be affixed adjacent to the shipper’s or consignee’s address appearing on the package.
  • Unless the package dimensions are inadequate, the label(s) must be affixed at an angle of 45 degrees (diamond shaped) to the surrounding markings.

The LQ mark is not valid on ammo in international air transport, but may remain on the package and be ignored in air transport, and be valid for further surface transport when the air journey is over.

Citation: IATA, 7.1.4, 7.1.5,


Examples of overpacks include pallets and specification packages placed in another packaging. International air transport is subject to the requirements of IATA, the International Air Transport Association, which requires unique pallet markings.

Unless all markings and labels representative of all dangerous goods in the overpack are clearly visible, the overpack must be marked with:

  • the word “OVERPACK” in letters at least 12 mm (1/2”) high;
  • UN number
  • proper shipping name
  • full names and addresses of the consignor and consignee

The following requirements apply even if all markings are visible:

  • If there is more than one UN number in an overpack, write each UN number and the total quantity of dangerous goods for each UN number.
  • If there are two or more overpacks, name and mark each pallet with a unique identification mark (which may be in any alpha-numeric format) and the total quantity of dangerous goods, as indicated on the Dangerous Goods Declaration.

Normally we would use this OVERPACK sticker for domestic shipments:

However since there is so much information required, we print it on a piece of paper instead, with OVERPACK and the UN number in 1/2″ print, and affix it to the pallet:

The completed pallet looks like this:

Citation: IATA 7.1.7