Airport "Puffers"

Airport "Puffers"

This is a discussion on Airport "Puffers" within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; So I just recently went through Denver International Airport on the way to Alaska. While going through security random people were directed to a security ...

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Array BlackPR's Avatar
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    Nov 2007
    Lakewood Colorado

    Airport "Puffers"

    So I just recently went through Denver International Airport on the way to Alaska. While going through security random people were directed to a security line which contained a "Puffer"... These are nift little devices that you walk into, the blast you with a bunch of air and then analyze things that come off of you and your clothes.

    Naturally, since I had been carrying all morning before going to the airport, my whole family got selected to go through the puffer. I was immediately worried that it would pick up traces of gunpowder and there would be a long security delay. I mentioned to my wife, "I hope it doesn't alarm on me..." So I go through without a hitch. It did not pick up anything. Fine by me, but left me wondering about this super expensive equipment and how sensitive it really was.

    Then my wife went through. She had been gardening all morning. And lo and behold, it alarmed on her. The suspected cause? Fertilizer from her gardening activities.

    Has anyone on here got a "false positive" from one of these machines because of their carrying habits?
    The facts are indisputable. There is more data supporting the benefits of Conceal Carry than there is supporting global warming. If you choose ignorance, in light of all the evidence, in order to bolster your irrational fear of guns, you are a greater threat to society than any gun owner.

  2. #2
    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    Feb 2008
    Wonder what happens if you emit a little methane gas while it's "puffing" you,the bomb squad get called out
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    --Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .

  3. #3
    Member Array buzzgum's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
    Ah...the 'puffer' machine. Yes, I had to go through that once at DIA and I had to hold my 2 young boys in my arms to boot. It scared them when the air puffed but they were fine after that. The only good thing about it is that we got through security much faster than those who didn't go through the puffer...and no. No false positive.

  4. #4
    VIP Member Array Paco's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
    McKinney, TX
    I think the fact that she had her hands in the fertilizer is what set it off. Simply carrying shouldn't transfer, I think. Now if you had been reloading shells all morning I bet you would have then been taken for the body cavity search .
    "Don't hit a man if you can possibly avoid it; but if you do hit him, put him to sleep." - Theodore Roosevelt


  5. #5
    Member Array Eirerogue's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
    Pasadena, CA
    The machine is basically a nitrate sniffer (Ion scanner), just like the machine they use to run the baggage swabs through. The puff of air is designed to release any explosive-related nitrates on your body (which are many if you've touched or been around explosives) and the Ion scanner (above) reads any nitrates.

    Anyone handling fertilizer will test positive as it has an ANFO (ammonium nitrate/fuel oil) response. Hope this helps clear up the 'puffer".

  6. #6
    Member Array dogrunner's Avatar
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    Jun 2006
    E/Cntl Fla.
    That STILL begs the question about an odiferous emmission at the critical moment!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  7. #7
    Array GBS's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
    Central California
    Quote Originally Posted by dukalmighty View Post
    Wonder what happens if you emit a little methane gas while it's "puffing" you,the bomb squad get called out
    Don't give them any ideas...
    We'll get a warning sign reading:
    Flatulent free zone...

  8. #8
    Array RETSUPT99's Avatar
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    Jul 2006
    Central Florida
    Quote Originally Posted by dukalmighty View Post
    Wonder what happens if you emit a little methane gas while it's "puffing" you,the bomb squad get called out
    Great, now my wife can't get through.
    The last Blood Moon Tetrad for this millennium starts in April 2014 and ends in September 2015...according to NASA.

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  9. #9
    Member Array DarinD's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
    Franklin County, PA
    Quote Originally Posted by retsupt99 View Post
    Great, now my wife can't get through.
    Life is too short, stop to smell the roses and don't let anyone take it away from you!

  10. #10
    Member Array Hawker's Avatar
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    Dec 2007
    Went through one of those machines (at West Palm Beach) after shooting 200 shells during a sporting clays event that day. Same clothes, no problem.
    225th SAC "Phantom Hawk" - US Army - Vietnam 1969-70

  11. #11
    Member Array Logan5's Avatar
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    Jan 2008
    Near Area 57
    You can get an alarm with the swabs if you use products with glisorides(not sure on spelling) in them.
    Things like some hand lotion, sun blocks and the like.
    Found out while trying to get some digital video tapes on a flight.
    The tapes set off the detector.
    The TSA guy asked if I have been in contact with any type of lotion.
    I said yes some sunscreen – TSA said all is good and passed it back to the ticket counter. But, the ticket counter would not allow it on the flight.
    The young lady thought it could be an “explosive or a sharp weapon” < her own words.
    I tried to reason with the counter until a guard with a MP5 showed up.

  12. #12
    Distinguished Member Array Chooie's Avatar
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    Oct 2006
    I go through these things all the time - sometimes 3-4 times a day when working on the road. I've never set one off at work, even with the same hat/shoes/jacket I took to the range. It's nice to see they are incorporating them. As far as I'm concerned, they're non-invasive, and if set properly, would only add about 10 seconds per person as processing time... and if that means I can keep my shoes on, fine by me! The airport security lines might slow down a bunch if they throw portal monitors (gamma radiation detection) in the lines, but thankfully we're not there... yet.

  13. #13
    Member Array wagglebee's Avatar
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    May 2008
    Fertilizer was used to make the 1995 bomb in Oklahoma City.

    A bad guy can do a whole lot more destruction with fertilizer than he can with a gun.

  14. #14
    Array buckeye .45's Avatar
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    Nov 2006
    Can do a lot with the right chemicals.

    I've never even seen one of these "puffers" (I thought you were talkin about the guy at the airport bar who has to talk to everyone and never shuts up). And I've flown like a dozen times in the last year, I'll have to look for em.

    My last flight I had to put my CRKT knife in my checked luggage, but carried a M-16A4 as carry-on.
    Fortes Fortuna Juvat

    Former, USMC 0311, OIF/OEF vet
    NRA Pistol/Rifle/Shotgun/Reloading Instructor, RSO, Ohio CHL Instructor

  15. #15
    VIP Member Array JimmyC4's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
    The swabbing would alert on the hard case for my golf clubs. Apparently traces of fertilizer from a course would show up. It didn't slow me down much, but the TSA folks did dig around in the bag, which I then had to neatly rearrange as it had been when packed.

    If I rinsed it out well and cleaned up my bag and clubs before packing, all went well, so the process must not be overly sensitive.
    "It's a big gun when I carry it, it is also a big gun when I take it out” – Clint Smith

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