Firearms and other statistically lethal weapons will always be a necessary component in any law enforcement officer’s arsenal, but the increased scrutiny that modern cops face merits the proper use of less-lethal products. As education, training and on-the-job performance expectations of officers have significantly evolved in the last 20 years, so have the weapons at your disposal. A new crop of products like Tasers, pepper sprayers, projectiles and stun guns aim to help you keep the peace, whether dealing with an individual or crowd, while mitigating the chance of causing serious bodily harm when use of force is required. Here are some of the best products out there to invest in.
Developed to meet the needs of tactical teams, the Multiple Grenade Less-Lethal Tactical Launcher (MGL-LTL) from Vltor Weapon Systems offers users the maximum amount of flexibility by accepting a variety of 40 and 37/38 mm ammo, with a KeyMod rail system that accommodates grips, lights, lasers and other accessories. An adjustable stock system allows the operator to fine-tune the correct cheek weld and length of pull. Proudly made in the U.S.A., the MGL-LTL system comes with the launcher, SPARC II red dot sight, weapon sling, carry bag and cleaning kit. MSRP $3,950.
SOFTEN THE BLOW
Unlike most available less-than-lethal ammunition, which has a 20 to 50 meter range, SDI’s next generation of 40 mm blunt impact projectiles (BIPs) have an operational range of 2 to 80 meters. A cushioning mechanism for close range helps the standard BIP avoid impact injury to the target, while the aerodynamic characteristics provide greater accuracy over long distance and prevent accidental injuries caused by “tumbling” of the projectile. In addition to standard, OC, marking and marking rounds, SDI produces a unique malodorant round that can be used to safely disperse crowds and for identification purposes. MSRP $23.99 and up.
Thwart an individual oncoming attacker with the PepperBlaster II from Kimber. Don’t let its pint size put you off — a single hit to the face will disable an attacker for 45 minutes or more. This hand-held device packs a powerful pepper punch with a solution of 10% OC (2.4% capsaicinoid content) with benzyl alcohol for viscosity. Clocking in with a delivery speed of 112 miles per hour, it can reach out to 13 feet, reducing risk of blowback or drift. Featuring the same revolutionary nonaerosol pyrotechnic delivery system as the original PepperBlaster, the PepperBlaster II adds an ergonomic grip and sights for increased accuracy and weighs just 4.2 ounces. Also available in red. MSRP $39.95.
From PepperBall comes the latest evolution in launchers, the VKS. The orange and black VKS is striking not only for its vibrant color combination, but its safe and effective firing power. Projectile deployment has a variable kinetic impact of 10 to 30 joules with an extended range and precision accuracy. The dual-feed system lets an officer choose and switch between hopper mode, with a capacity of 180 rounds, and magazine mode, with a capacity of 10 or 15 rounds. The VKS also has unmatched air source capability. Officers can use the HPA stock, which functions as a stock with a tank, or use the remote air line, which connects to any tank. PepperBall states that it has never experienced a fatality from the use of one its products. MSRP $900.
DAZE AND CONFUSE
Nearly every special tactical unit has a hoard of flashbangs at the ready, but if you don’t have the CTS-9 Bang by Combined Systems, Inc. then you’re missing out. This nonbursting, non-fragmenting multibang device puts out a pulse of intense bright light and thunderous noise that will disorient and confuse suspects and allow your team to penetrate and subdue them. The flashbang provides nine nonrhythmic actions (about 0.8 seconds apart) with a single pull of the pin. CTS flashbangs are built and tested to military ammunition standards, making them the leading brand in noise flash diversion devices (NFDDs). MSRP $54.
NEXT GENERATION NOW
The most compact of the Taser family of electrical weapons, the X26P is the next generation of smart weaponry. It has everything you like and rely on from Taser, but ups the production value with a more ergonomically designed handle, extended performance power magazine and smaller size for easier carrying capacity. Like all of Taser’s Smart Weapons, the X26P is built on an all-digital platform and has the ability to regulate charge output, perform health checks, update firmware over the web and provide analytics displaying how and when you use the less-lethal weapon. MSRP: $931.
When you need to take control of a situation quickly and don’t have immediate contact with the suspects (for example, they’ve locked themselves in a car or are barricaded in a house), the Pepper Enforcement Aerosol Fog Grenade from Personal Safety Corporation can come in handy. Simply roll in one of these tiny portable canisters, and it will immediately disperse a pungent 10% OC delivering 1.33% major capsaicinoids. Sold only to law enforcement, this superior pepper spray fog grenade is also safe to use with Tasers. Now you’ll be able to clear a room in the safest way possible. MSRP $5.99 and up.
SPLIT THE DARK
When only the most powerful light will do to help protect yourself in a potentially dangerous situation, turn to the ZAP 1200 Lumen Flashlight. This incredibly handy flashlight features the advanced technology SST-550 LED bulb which can shine more than 1500 feet. Shockproof and waterproof, the body is made of areospace grade aluminum with a hard anodized finish and secure grip handle. The ZAP 1200 Lumen Flashlight has three programmable modes (high, low and strobe) and includes 2 rechargeable 18650 lithium batteries, wall charger and wrist strap. It also operates using four standard CR123A batteries. MSRP: $258.00
Almost anytime you use a chemical less-lethal agent, you’re at risk for contamination. Officers obviously want to avoid it, but exposure can does happen. SABRE’s collection of decontamination washes and sprays can help minimize the effects of chemical agents and prevent reactivation. The SABRE Decon Cleanse & Soothe 4 oz. duo is the ideal size for officers who’ve used chemical agents in a contained area like a squad car or intake room. The cleanse washes away leftover particulates and the soothing wash moistens the affected skin area. The SABRE Decon 1.8 ounce Aerosol Spray is an aerosol mist containing saline solution. The spray helps remove particulate matter and irritating chemicals from the eyes. It may be used as a wash to reduce irritation from tear gas, OC pepper spray and other chemicals. MSRP: Decon Cleanse & Soothe 4 ounce combo $20.
See this story in the Summer 2016 FOP Journal issue.