Most firearms are designed with lethal intent by their makers. However, there exists an arsenal of guns whose projectiles are meant to be non-lethal. These non-lethal guns include the Taser Gun, bean bag rounds, rubber bullets and blank cartridges which can be fired at close range without causing fatal injuries. These non-lethal guns differ in terms of the type of ammunition used, size and power of firing mechanism (manual or electronic) or delivery system (firearm).
The acronym ‘TASER’ stands for ‘Thomas A. Swift Electric Rifle’. It is a series of electroshock weapons sold by Taser International Inc. The original Taser was developed in 1974 by Jack Cover. This device was capable of projecting two small dart-like electrodes up to a distance of 15 feet and deliver electric shocks for about 5 seconds. In 1983, Taser International Inc. got its first contract from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. The modern day Taser gun works on compressed air cylinders instead of cartridges as in a firearm.
Bean Bag Rounds
The Bean Bag round is a weapon that has been used by police since 1970s. It consists of a small cloth pouch filled with lead shot weighing less than half an ounce attached to a non-metallic flexible fabric zip strip which is 12 inches long. For loading into the gun, the Bean Bag round is stored flat but expands to its bean bag shape when fired from the gun impacting with a force of 80-100 kg.
Rubber bullets are used as substitute for lead bullets which would cause more fatal injuries when fired from firearms. It is gaining momentum as an excellent substitute to the metal bullet especially after the Malaya incident where during riots, rubber bullets were fired at rioters resulting in fatalities. The original rubber bullet was designed by Capt Roy Jessop of British Army in the 1950s. This has evolved into modern day rubber bullets that can be shot using shotguns or rifles using blank cartridges instead of regular ammunition which causes injury on impact if not properly handled. Rubber bullets are either single solid projectiles made from compressed natural latex powder or hollow projectiles made from synthetic materials plastic with three fletchings at the tail which is directed forward when fired from a gun.
Blank cartridge guns are used as a substitute to firearms in military training drills and for signalling, rescue operations and celebrations. Blank cartridges resemble small shotgun shells that contain either propellant powder or cold smokeless powder sealed inside a crimped-on heavy paper end with one open end. The top of the blanks has a small hole through which some amount of hot gases escape as the propellant powder is ignited during firing. This results in a loud sound simulating real gunshot noise without any projectile being discharged from the barrel. Thus, removing risk of injury caused due to bullet discharge from the weapon. Before blank ammunition was developed, metal balls were used in place of bullets which caused severe injuries when fired.