LAS VEGAS — While most Army and Marine Corps initiatives have focused on increasing lethality from the sidearm all the way up to the tank, some missions still need a non-lethal touch.
For those types of jobs, whether it’s embassy security or riot control in urban areas, several companies had a few options on display this week at the annual Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor and Trade show here.
One such company does work in both lethal and non-lethal spheres. Sage Ordnance Systems Group has done work to adapt the M14 rifle to compete for the military’s compact sniper rifle program. But alongside those modified rifles sits rows of 40 mm ammunition, much of it for marking targets, dispersing crowds or even force-on-force shooting.
The Army’s Program Executive Office-Ammunition announced late last year that new 40 mm training rounds were in the works that would allow soldiers to fire then move to contact. Previous rounds were considered unsafe to be in the field near exposed troops after firing.
Sage makes a simulated munition round that can be fired and reused from a 40 mm launcher. The round spreads a wax-based paint to mark a target and is designed for force-on-force play, said Channing Will, the company’s ordnance sales manager.
The company produces dozens of 37/40 mm round variants and hand grenades that can be used for pyrotechnics, smoke and riot control.
For additional force-on-force possibilities, Pepperball Technologies showcased their pistol-sized launcher, which could help troops in an urban setting train more realistically to respond to a handgun threat.
The TCP Compact launcher looks much like a standard semiautomatic pistol but fires paintball-like projectiles for direct impact up to 60 feet. Extended range projectiles can fire up to 150 feet.
But instead of paint, the balls contain a mild irritant that aims to deter without injury.
Some of the company’s products are in use by the Coast Guard, Border Patrol and the Federal Bureau of Prisons, according to a company release.
For shotgun training, simulations and capabilities, the Amtech Less-Lethal Systems company has a range of 12 gauge rounds for penetrating doors, rubber projectiles for non-lethal missions, and bean bag-filled shotgun shells to stun individuals in a riot control scenario.
One crowd dispersal item included in their portfolio is an “aerial bang” round, which allows the shooter to fire overhead to divert crowds gathering in open spaces.
Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.