Less-lethal devices and training are valuable law enforcement tools when dealing with violent situations. Here is a sampling of what is new in this critical use-of-force area. TASER®
Over the past decade, TASER® Electronic Control Devices (ECDs) have become widely recognized as a safer, more effective response to resistance. One drawback to earlier TASER ECDs was that they had a single shot capability, which led to reloading problems in the heat of a conflict or when an operator missed or faced multiple subjects.
According to TASER, its TASER® X3™ now has multi-shot technology, providing the ability to deploy a second and third cartridge immediately and simultaneously to incapacitate up to three subjects with a single X3 unit. The TASER X3 can engage multiple targets, display Warning Arc™ while loaded, and deliver a calibrated Neuro Muscular Incapacitation (NMI) pulse, which results in improved safety.
The X3 aims to improve its accuracy with a second laser to provide the locations of the top and bottom probes. It improves accountability with the Pulse Log which stores the electric characteristics of every pulse emitted from the X3. The Pulse Log can determine if the charge was delivered to a subject, if it arced into the air as a warning, if probes missed the target, or even if the wires broke or some other factor interrupted charge delivery to the subject.
The multi-shot X3 offers enhanced firepower over existing ECDs, and its advanced features increase officer safety by allowing quick recovery from misses and/or engagement of multiple targets. A continuous press of the Warning Arc switch enables stun drive capabilities and re-energizes previously deployed probes, while a quick press rotates to the next available cartridge. The TASER X3 is also an environmentally hardened system that can withstand sea spray, rain, dust, electrostatic discharge and even short-term water submersion. ALS Technologies
ALS offers a diverse line of impact munitions designed to operate with standard 12-gauge equipment, providing a range of continuum of force options. These include 12-gauge impact, 12-gauge chemical and 12-gauge specialized munitions. ALS also markets OC aerosols, chemical grenades, diversionary devices and stun munitions.
In addition, it has a full line of less-lethal rounds designed for deployment using 37 and 40 millimeter launchers. The company’s launchers include: ALSL1 (37mm single shot), ALSGL1 (40mm single shot), ALSHL1 (37mm barrel-mounted single shot), ALSHGL1 (40mm barrel-mounted single shot), ALSL6 (37mm six shot with 6-inch tube), ALSL8 (37mm six shot with 8-inch tube), ALSPL8 (37mm pump-action six shot with 8-inch tube), and ALSGL6 (40mm six shot with 6-inch tube).
For example, the ALSGL6 37mm Six Shot Launcher uses a revolver-type, spring motor-driven magazine with mechanically operated magazine stop pins. It has a double-action trigger, trigger lock and break-open frame design that allows for quick loading and unloading operations. Standard with this launcher is an Armson day/night sight, adjustable for distance. A wide variety of other sights can be adapted to this launcher. CTS and Penn Arms
Combined Systems Inc. (CSI) develops and manufactures a wide range of products from its CTS and Penn Arms manufacturing divisions. The newest addition to the Penn Arms line of single-shot tactical launchers is the GL-1. It is lightweight and has multiple rails to make it more versatile for mounting a variety of less-lethal options and optic and illumination tools.
Its stock collapses and folds, and the vertical fore-grip even folds into a small, compact package. The double-action trigger, trigger lock push-button and hammer lock safeties are standard in all Penn Arms launcher designs. The trigger lock safety and barrel release can be operated from both sides of the launcher, and it is available in either a composite fixed stock or folding stock.
Another new product is the CTS OC-V MK-90 System. Its OC-Vapor is a non-visible, non-flammable, non-contaminating vapor system for corrections and law enforcement. It primarily affects the respiratory system, causing shortness of breath along with pain and discomfort. It is ideal for indoor tactical use and, when discharged into enclosed spaces, will help dislodge and detect hiding non-compliant subjects. The OC-V unit with its hose and wand is also ideal for forcing subjects out of small areas, such as attics and crawl spaces. CTS also offers Model 7290 and Model 7290M flash-bangs, which are built and tested to military standards; the TGL-4 40MM, a single-shot launcher that is available with a composite fixed stock or metal folding stock; and two 40MM Multi-Shot Launchers, the TGL-6 and PGL-65-40. FN Herstal
The FN 303 is a compressed air-operated, less-lethal projector constructed of polymer and made to engage multiple people. According to FN Herstal, the FN 303 fires semi-automatic from a 15-round magazine. The shock and pain caused by the impact instantly stops and neutralizes the suspect.
The FN 303 Less-Lethal Launcher with optical sights is extremely accurate and offers a very high probability of torso hits at 50 meters. It can be used at ranges up to 100 meters. Because it uses compressed air to launch projectiles, the FN 303 gives no flash, very little sound and almost no recoil.
It can be used in a large number of situations, such as stopping a hostile but unarmed individual or group, room extraction, surveillance and protection of sensitive areas. Its lightweight magazine holds 15 projectiles and features a transparent cover to allow the operator to instantly verify both projectile type loaded and number of remaining rounds.
The FN 303 projectiles have been specifically designed to reduce the risk of penetrating injuries. The primary effect of the projectiles is trauma, capable of stopping and neutralizing the aggressor immediately. Secondary effects from the projectiles can be delivered via a chemical payload, such as a marking or irritating effect, depending on mission requirements.
The 18mm (6.8-inch), 8.5g weight projectiles utilize a fin-stabilization, polystyrene body and non-toxic bismuth forward payload to provide both more accurate and greater effective range than other less-lethal systems.
There are five different types of projectiles with identical weights, identical ballistics and, consequently, identical impact. These are Impact, Impact & Indelible Paint, Impact & Inert Powder, Impact & Irritating Effect and Impact & Washable Paint. Also available from FNH is the FN 303 P, a compact, pistol-like less-lethal launcher with a seven-projectile capacity. Kimber America
According to Kimber, its less-lethal devices feature a revolutionary non-aerosol pyrotechnic delivery system. Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) is the most effective inflammatory agent available today. Derived from the cayenne pepper plant, OC has overwhelming debilitating effects that immediately stop even the most violent attackers.
Kimber less-lethal devices use patented Jet Protector Technology® to deliver multiple blasts of potent 10% OC (2.4% capsaicinoid content) solution at extremely high speeds. The effects are immediate and last for up to 45 minutes.
With a longer effective range than conventional aerosol sprays, the solution in the JPX and PepperBlaster II travels up to 13 feet in a fraction of a second, stopping threats at a safe distance. The devices also feature a non-aerosol pyrotechnic delivery system capable of accurate fire with enough force to wrap around glasses or even penetrate a face mask. Speed of delivery keeps blasts on target, reducing the risk of blowback or drift.
PepperBlaster II will not lose pressure over time like conventional sprays, fits any size hand and conforms to a right- or left-handed grip. Aiming is as easy as pointing a finger, and a reserve blast is available if necessary. The PepperBlaster II offers the added advantages of a pistol grip and sights for improved control and accuracy. It is disposable after use. MACE®
The Take Down® line of pepper sprays from Mace Personal Defense is manufactured for use by law enforcement, correctional institutions and security personnel. In addition to a complete line of pepper sprays in a variety of formulations and models, the Take Down product line includes a training kit, inert training units, Relief decontamination spray and holsters.
According to Mace, one such product is Take Down Extreme Pepper Gel. It is one of Mace’s strongest pepper sprays. It is suspended in a sticky gel which makes it ideal for use indoors, in a crowded situation or in windy conditions. The patent-pending Pepper Gel formula has several advantages over traditional pepper sprays. The hand-held canister sprays further than other pepper sprays and sticks on contact.
Regular streaming pepper sprays can contaminate the surrounding area when used indoors and can take a while to dissipate. The thick gel formula holds the active ingredients so they fully affect the targeted person with minimal contamination to the surrounding area. It also contains a UV product that invisibly stains the skin for identification and can’t be washed off (it wears off in a few days). Pepper Gel is also non-flammable and will not ignite with stun guns or similar electronic devices.
Other Take Down products include Take Down OC-5.5 Pepper Spray, Take Down OC-10 Pepper Spray and Take Down OC/CS Blend Pepper Spray. (OC means pepper spray and CS indicates tear gas.) The Take Down OC Pepper Gun delivers a targeted stream of OC Pepper Spray up to 20 feet and comes with a water practice cartridge. PepperBall Technologies
The TAC 700 Launcher is PepperBall’s new tactical carbine. According to PepperBall, the TAC700 has a full automatic capability with up to 700 PAVA rounds per minute and three adjustable automatic trigger settings. The fully automatic setting launches rounds continuously as long as the trigger is pulled, the semi-automatic setting launches one round each time the trigger is pulled, and the three-round burst setting launches three rounds for each trigger pull. These trigger settings allow officers to conform to agency policy while giving them the right capabilities to achieve all of their goals.
Some of the notable design features include impact-resistant exterior components and a unique and robust electronic trigger control group specifically designed for the TAC700. The automatic feed system links the feeder sprocket to the air system and provides positive projectile placement in the chamber every time the trigger is pulled.
Using PepperBall PAVA pepper projectiles, the TAC700 can accurately impact suspects up to 60 feet away and produce area saturation out to 150 feet. Its forward-mounted high-pressure air bottle allows for greater maneuverability and mobility in tactical situations. As with all other PepperBall launchers, the TAC700 can be used in crowd control, inmate cell extractions, domestic violence, suicide-by-cop and many other one-on-one or multi-target non-lethal situations. SAFARILAND®/ Defense Technology®
The partnership of Safariland and Defense Technology under the Safariland umbrella offers a rather complete range of trusted less-lethal products. This includes duty aerosols, specialty impact munitions, distraction devices, chemical munitions and launchers for law enforcement, corrections and military personnel. Launcher rounds include the Foam Baton in 37mm and 40mm (which is a pain compliance option), Stinger™ rubber balls, the Multiple Wood Baton and the Bean Bag. A number of Defense Technology® crowd-resistance chemical grenades and projectiles offer solutions for both indoors and outdoors.
Launchers include the 40mm single- or double-action launcher; a 37mm full-stock gas gun; a 37mm folding stock multi-shot launcher that can fire up to six 8-inch rounds in under three seconds; a 37mm composite stock multi-launcher with a revolver-type magazine; and a 40mm multi-launcher (Penn Arms).
The 40mm multi-launcher system of operation is a pump-action cylinder advance (no winding needed) with a double-action trigger, six shots, a fixed stock, an extra-long sight rail and pre-drilled and tapped holes for the inclusion of additional accessories. These multi-launchers break open to enable the operator to check the cylinder and to allow for loading and unloading. SAGE Ordnance Systems Group
The newest SAGE launcher is the Deuce Over/Under Projectile Launcher System, available in three caliber variants: 37mm Sage rifled barrels, 40mm x 46mm NATO rifled barrels and 37mm smooth bore barrels. According to SAGE, the Deuce Stock System has five-position adjustable length of pull and side folding (optional equipment) either to the left or right. Like many less-lethal launchers, the Deuce is shown in some photos with an EOTech Holographic Weapon Sight. Aimpoint and other similar sights may also be used with this product.
The Deuce has a proven break-open action with a shell latching system and steel standing breach face. The top barrel fires first, followed by the lower barrel when the second shot is taken. If the launcher is fired once and opened, the top barrel will be reset to fire first.
The Deuce has several locations for Picatinny rails. Located on and integrated into the top of the extruded monobloc is a 3.8-inch Picatinny rail. Located on either side of the front barrel band are two removable, 1-inch Picatinny rails.
The Deuce’s safety is conveniently located just above the trigger. It is a push-type safety system similar to several tactical shotguns manufactured throughout the world. Reportedly, the Deuce can achieve rather long ranges compared to other launchers. Accurately placing shots with impact munitions out to at least 80 yards is a repeatable feature.
SAGE’s other popular launchers are the GL6 (a spring-advance magazine drum launcher with six-shot capacity), the GL1 (single shot), the GL6P (six-shot pump-action) and the HGL1. All of these are available in 40mm x 46mm NATO. These are also available in 37mm SAGE caliber as the SL6, SL1, SL6P and HSL1. Jim Weiss is a retired lieutenant from the Brook Park, Ohio, Police Department and a frequent contributor to LAW and ORDER.
Mickey Davis is a California-based writer and author.