Though M-80s, Cherry bombs, and silver salutes are now illegal in the U.S., manufacturers of legal (1.4G) fireworks continue to name their products things such as “M-80 Firecrackers”, “M-8000s”, etc., in an attempt to lure buyers into thinking the devices are more powerful than they really are, or have some connection to real M-80s. But they don’t – the name is just a marketing gimmick. They’re not even close to being as powerful as real M-80s. You may be asking, “how can I tell if a firework is real?”.
The first step is to be aware of what they look like. M-80s are approximately and inch and a half long, a half inch in diameter, with a red casing and a stiff, short fuse coming out of the side. Silver Salutes are basically the same, except they’re silver in color. Cherry Bombs are about an inch in diameter and can easily be mistaken for a consumer “smoke ball”. Their outer surface is uneven and rough. Another key factor in determining if something is legal is whether or not it has a manufacturer’s label. M-80s and other explosive devices have absolutely no warning label, manufacturer’s name, or product number (because the manufacturers don’t want to be named). Consumer fireworks are required by federal law to have “FIREWORKS UN0336″ (the UN hazard category for consumer fireworks) printed somewhere on the device, which is proof to you that it was made in a factory and has been tested and approved for your use.
So beware of these slick folks online stating that they have m80′s.