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New Less-Lethal Launchers

Over the last few years, focus in the law enforcement field has been on Electronic Control Device (ECD) development and deployment. This is rightly so. The TASER X26 and now the TASER X3 are belt-carried and highly effective. However, ECDs should not be the only less-lethal option. Kinetic energy impact munitions and chemical agents still have an important role and function in law enforcement. ECDs can fail, and you should always have backup plans.

A variety of situations exist where other less-lethal technologies might be needed: cell extraction in corrections, barricaded subjects, longer distances, subjects in vehicles, etc. Most importantly, think about any subject who is at a longer distance or is blocked by intervening cover or obstacles. These new products allow an officer, cell extraction unit or tactical team member to effectively place chemical or impact projectiles on target.

Tiberius® F4

I’ve followed the development and marketing of the Tiberius F­4 for several years. Trying to stay on top of developments in law enforcement technologies including less-lethal, I attend the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show each year. In 2008, I saw a less-lethal launcher marketed by Veritas Tactical Products, the VT-P8. The VT-P8 was a departure from traditional compressed air-impact munitions launchers in that it was designed to look, operate and fire like an M4 5.56 carbine.

The launcher was manufactured for Veritas by Tiberius (makers of high-end paintball markers for use in recreational paintball). At that time, the Veritas only fired .68 caliber balls. The available ammunition included: PAVA (Pelargonic Acid Vanillylamid), which is a synthetic pepper product; impact; rubber ball; glass breaker; impact with washable paint; and impact with indelible paint.

Two new products fielded by Veritas Tactical are along the same lines. The VT-P8 is an air-driven, .68-caliber, less-lethal semi-auto pistol that can fire PAVA rounds, glass breaker rounds, rubber impact rounds, indelible ink rounds, inert clear gel or powder training rounds. The magazine holds eight projectiles and is powered by a CO2 canister. The VT-MK-IV Non-Lethal Rifle uses the same .68 caliber rounds and has a 15-round magazine.

Designed to resemble the M4 5.56 rifle that tactical operators are familiar with, the MK-IV increases operator accuracy with an impact/irritant round. At this time, the launcher bore both the Veritas and Tiberius logos. In 2009, Tiberius Arms had a booth at SHOT featuring the launcher. As I remember, FN 303 finned rounds could be hand fed into the chamber for use, but Tiberius still used .68 caliber round balls as its fodder.

Fast forward to this year’s SHOT, and what should I happen to run into at the FNH USA booth? Well, it’s the new Tiberius F4. FNH USA, in addition to its FN 303 less-lethal launcher, is now distributing the Tiberius launcher. Now using only the FNH .68 fin- stabilized round, the F4 provides a weapons platform that American police are used to, the M-4, with all the Picatinny rail space of that design.

White lights, lasers and red-dot sights can all be easily mounted on the sides or top of the F4 by Tiberius. It is powered by commercially available 12-gram CO2 cartridges, and no special tanks, compressors or compressor fittings are needed. The CO2 cartridges take up one side of the magazines that can hold 10 or 14 of FNH USA’s rounds. Because of the fin-stabilized design of the FNH USA .68 ammunition, range is extended and more precise than a standard .68 ball round.

Zarc - Tiberius

Zarc International, the manufacturer of the Vexor line of pepper spray products (1.45 percent Capsaicinoid level), is coming out with an OC ball launcher. The liquid-filled OC balls combine an impact munition with the debilitating effects of Oleoresin Capsicum. The launcher will be made for Zarc by Tiberius. The .68 caliber OC balls should make a serious impact (literally) with suspects.

Sage International Deuce

Maybe it’s because I’m a product of too many “Wild West” movies, but I have always loved double barrel shotguns. Just the idea of those large 10 or 12 bore barrels pointing downrange like mini-howitzers has always impressed me. The Deuce® is an over-under 37mm or 40mm Deuce from Sage International.

Imagine the impact those two barrels will make when pointed at a suspect. Imagine the literal impact of two less-lethal kinetic-energy impact munitions on a suspect who’s not impressed with the looks. As soon as you can pull the trigger, you can send two large bore rounds downrange to knock a resisting suspect to the ground or contaminate his air space with OC or CS powder or liquid.

The Deuce makes tactical sense because of the number of less-lethal impact projectiles fired in a police setting. In 43 percent of the scenarios, one less-lethal projectile is fired. However, 22 percent of the time two projectiles are fired, and 18 percent of the time three projectiles are fired. More than half the time, more than one impact projectile is used.

The Deuce is a side-opening launcher which means that as soon as you can open/eject empties, you can load two and fire with two presses of the trigger. Many of the rotary drum 37mm or 40mm launchers are large and ungainly. Not so with the streamlined Deuce. The Deuce comes complete with an adjustable side-folding stock, Picatinny rails mounted on top of the barrel block, and accessory rails for lasers and white lights on either side of the barrel.

Of course, Sage International offers a full line of less-lethal munitions, including the excellent K041 baton round and the K08 “Super Soft Tip” baton round designed to minimize trauma to a suspect.

Just like law enforcement fields shotguns and carbines when the dynamics of the encounter change, less-lethal options must be available as well. Officer-carried intermediate weapons such as pepper spray, batons and ECDs are vital, but new developments in launched projectile less-lethal weapons such as the Tiberius F4 and Sage International Deuce can make more of an impact on a suspect. Both are new designs or new twists on old designs and worthy of your consideration.

Kevin Davis is a full-time police officer with 27 years experience and is assigned to his agency’s training bureau. He is a former team leader and lead instructor for his agency’s SWAT team. Kevin welcomes your comments at or visit his Web site at

Published in Tactical Response, May/Jun 2010

Rating : 6.0

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