Recently, a laboratory-scale method for measuring the rapid energy release from milligram quantities of energetic material has been developed based on the high-temperature plasma chemistry induced by a focused, nanosecond laser pulse. The ensuing exothermic chemical reactions result in an increase in the laser-induced shock wave velocity compared to inert materials. Laser-induced air shock from energetic materials (LASEM) provides a method for estimating the detonation performance of novel organic-based energetic materials prior to scale-up and full detonation testing. Here, the extension of LASEM to non-organic energetic materials is discussed. The laser-induced shock velocities from reactive materials such as Al/PTFE, Al/CuO, Al/Zr alloys, Al/aluminum iodate hexahydrate, and porous silicon composites have been measured; in many cases, the high sensitivity of the samples resulted in propagation of the reaction to the surrounding material, producing significantly higher shock velocities than conventional energetic materials. Methods for compensating for this effect will be discussed. Despite this limitation, the relative comparison of the shock velocities, emission spectra, and combustion behavior of each type of material provides some insight into the mechanisms for increasing the energy release of the material on a fast (μs) and/or slow (ms) timescale.