Shooting off fireworks can be loads of fun. When the time is right and the correct safety precautions are observed, a fancy fireworks display can really delight friends and family. It doesn't have to be a holiday or special occasion, either. 

As long as it's legal within your area, you can set off a cool fireworks show any time of the year. But choosing the right fireworks to use for your display might be a bit daunting or challenging for some, especially given the large variety of different fireworks out there in the world today. You might also want to see how they work prior to using them or find an instructional guide online. All of this can be easily accessed through the internet and specialized fireworks providers. Among the different kinds of fireworks, mortar or shell fireworks are one of the most popular and endearing for various shows. But what are they? How do they work? Are they legal in your area? And what kind of safety precautions should you take prior to using them? In this article, we'll answer all of these questions and More in our guide to mortar fireworks.

Why Are They Called Mortar Fireworks?

Among the many unique types of fireworks, mortars are probably the coolest. They sort of resemble military artillery, hence the name mortar fireworks. They consist of a tube and a series of shells that you can usually reload and shoot off into the sky. They might be a bit loud depending on the shell size. There are usually six or more shells in a given kit and there is a long fuse attached to the tube that ignites the fireworks.

How Do They Work?

Mortar fireworks are almost like a cannon. Essentially a reloadable tube, it fires different types of devices into the air. First, you load the tube with whatever type of shell you want to use. All of the shells should be the same type. Mixing them can lead to catastrophe and unexpected pyrotechnics. When the fuse is lit, it burns toward the gunpowder contained in a separate compartment of the tube. This is what ignites and propels the shell. In some professional firework shows, the firefighters in charge might bury the mortar tubes in the ground to help the tubes absorb some of the shock of the fireworks shooting off.

Buying Online

Through the magic of technology, buying  mortar fireworks online is more accessible than ever. Purchasing them online offers more than the ability to get a wide variety of fireworks. You can also see video demonstrations of how they work, select specially designed fireworks, and get them shipped straight to your home. There's also the ability to buy in bulk and some companies offer discounts or customer rewards programs to help you maximize the fun of your fireworks show. Pricing is also significantly lower than what you would find in a regular store or locally. You're basically cutting out the middleman entirely and getting the fireworks directly sent to you. 


Fireworks safety is always a bit of a hot topic. Sure, putting on a cool show and setting off fireworks can be fun, but it can also be dangerous without taking the proper precautions. Clear and open spaces are essential. Some kind of fire extinguisher or bucket of water is also necessary to have on hand in the event of a mishap. Since the mortar shells have a tube, it's crucial to stabilize it somehow, often with rocks or bricks. With reloadable tubes, you should always keep any extra shells outside of the tube until you're ready to reload. It's also prudent to only use the same types of shells (never mix and match) in a particular tube. Above all, use personal protective equipment, keep your body parts away from the tube, don't light shells outside of the tube, and always act as safely as possible when using reloadable mortar fireworks.


When one thinks about illegal fireworks, there are a few common contenders like cherry bombs and M80s. But not all fireworks are illegal and different places have totally unique laws. So the big question at the end of it all might be are mortar fireworks legal? In most states, they are legal to purchase and use. Some states allow most fireworks but strictly prohibit any aerials from being shot off. These states are: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia and Wisconsin. Ohio, Illinois, and Vermont still have pretty strict fireworks laws that disallow most times of fireworks, including mortars. Always check your city and local ordinances as well, because legality can vary by area. It's always better to double check and ensure you're not breaking the law. Once you've dotted all the I's and crossed all the T's, you can have a blast and amaze your friends with an awesome fireworks display that incorporates mortar shells.