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Less Lethal Weapons: Developments for the Military and Law Enforcement Now Apply to Corrections

NCJ Number
Corrections Technology & Management Volume: 3 Issue: 2 Dated: March/April 1999 Pages: 22-24
Bill Siuru
Date Published
3 pages
Because there are many instances when it is desirable to deliver a temporary incapacitating blow to bring someone under control but without causing injuries, the corrections community is looking at various new non-lethal weapons being developed jointly for law enforcement by the National Institute of Justice and for the military by the Department of Defense.
Laser flashlights use safe but high-intensity laser light to temporarily impair the eyesight of the subject. When aimed at persons, they cannot see in the direction of the beam and must look away, close their eyes, or cover their eyes. This gives police officers a chance to move in and gain control. The beam from laser flashlights is designed to be eye-safe so it will not cause lasting vision effects. Capture nets represent a non-lethal entanglement technology that can operate out to a maximum range of 100 feet. The ring airfoil projectile (RAP), a doughnut-shaped rubber projectile, is an alternative to the use of rubber bullets or shot bag projectiles. The RAP is non-lethal even when fired at the head and right at the muzzle of the firing weapon. Because of its airfoil shape, the RAP has an effective range of up to 40 meters. The electric stun projectile uses stun gun technology to temporarily incapacitate a person at a safe standoff range. This projectile is a self-contained wireless projectile fired from compressed gas or powder launcher and is accurate to a range of 32.8 feet. It incorporates a battery pack and associated electronics that generate a short burst of high-voltage pulses capable of penetrating several layers of clothing. Pepper spray is a popular non-lethal weapon in law enforcement and corrections work. It is easy to carry and rapid to fire, and the user only has to point and shoot. Because pepper spray has a limited range and can adversely affect the police officer shooting the spray and others in the vicinity, the National Institute of Justice has funded the development of an improved, less-than-lethal projection that is capable of dispersing pepper spray from a standoff position. 4 photographs