Abstract The application of infrared spectroscopy to the detection of the constituents of primers, tracers, igniters, incendiaries, boosters, and delay compositions on a microscale was investigated. It is shown that these constituents can be identified quickly and with certainty, using infrared pellet technique to detect organic and inorganic compounds and emission spjectroscopy to identify the metals. In making the pellet, 1 to 2 mg of the material is ground with 300 mg of potassium bromide; and the pellet is formed in the die press. The grinding and pressing operation has been found to be completely safe even with the most sensitive explosives. The infrared spectra of 43 of the most common ingredients of primers, tracers, igniters, incendiaries, boosters, and delay compositions are given over the range 2.5 to 5 μ. The qualitative analysis of 7 typical compositions is demonstrated.