Self-piercing riveting (SPR) has become an important alternative joining technique for the automotive applications of aluminum sheets. Most existing SPR machines use electrical motors to drive a rivet into the sheets. A significant amount of research has been conducted to improve an SPR joint’s strength by increasing the mechanical interlock. In this paper, a new process is presented using gunpowder to drive the riveting process. A joint formed using the new process has different geometric characteristics from one created using a conventional system. The tensile-shear, cross-tension, fatigue, and impact performances of self-piercing riveted joints using the new device are compared to those of spot-welded joints on aluminum sheets. The experiment has proven that the new SPR joints have provided a similar or higher strength than resistance spot welds.