Austin AFTE 23 Less Lethal Workshop

In May 2023, we assisted the Association of Firearm and Tool mark Examiners (AFTE) with some live fire demonstrations of common less lethal platforms.

Pepperball, FN303, ARWEN, 12 gauge and CTS 40mm systems were fired by students into static targets and ballistic media to simulate flight and impact characteristics. As scientists, we must also determine what evidence may remain after an incident for collection and analysis.

Less Lethal Rounds
.68 caliber pneumatics: FN303, Pepperball VKS
Impacts into Synthetic Ballistic Gel

NFDD- Bangs and Balls

Check out our April 2020 overview of these Noise Flash Distraction Devices (NFDD): flash bangs and blast balls, on YouTube.

Our testing of these devices included the evaluation of flammability potential when used in a tactical environment with CS (tear gas). This testing was featured on Washington’s Most Wanted in 2015.

Also see our article on this topic in the Tactical Edge magazine.

The Axon Taser 7

Our firm has extensive experience analyzing evidence and data related to TASER incidents (see our article). We strive to stay up to date with emerging technology and Leroy and Tom with Seattle PD were kind enough to allow us to test fire the new TASER 7 that they are testing and evaluating.Taser 7 unit and cartridges There are significant differences from other Axon-TASER models, including new cartridges and probes. Taser 7 expertThe T7 cartridges are available in 3.5 and 12 degree configurations to provide user options for range/probe spread.Taser 7 Cartridge  Taser 7

Taser 7 Cartridge Cutaway

T7 Cutaway cartridge

impacts of T7 probes

Taser 7 deployed cartridge

The probes now contain the wire which unspools as they travel down range. The probe head will detach at tangential impacts. Forensically, the probes can analyzed where the wire is crimped to the probe head!Taser 7 probe forensics

Taser Probe types

X2 probe vs. T7 probe (bottom)


Law Enforcement Technology-Cover

In the August 2018 issue of Law Enforcement Technology, we grabbed the cover with an article on Less Lethal Weapon Integration for police and corrections. The piece discusses selection, implementation and post event considerations that can deescalate volatile situations and reduce liability. We hope it can serve as an initial guide for departments looking to start or improve their less lethal program. The fantastic photos were provided by Jessamy Lennon Photography. Thanks Jess!

less lethal bean bag VKS

Pepperball TCP

drones UAS 3D modeling photogrammetry pepperball FN303 trajectory  reconstruction forensics less lethal 40mmThe TCP model is latest release in the Pepperball line. A compact version of the old Tiberius, this is a little CO2 driven, magazine fed six shooter that fires the VXR shaped round. It’s a nice, accurate device with a rifled barrel and variable velocity with the same impact qualities as their big brothers.

drones UAS 3D modeling photogrammetry pepperball FN303 trajectory  reconstruction forensics less lethal 40mm

drones UAS 3D modeling photogrammetry pepperball FN303 trajectory  reconstruction forensics less lethal 40mm

Pepperball VXR Glass Breaker

pepperball FN303 trajectory reconstruction forensics less lethal 40mm 68 caliberSchiesse dem Fenster!  Pepperball recently released a glass breaker VXR round (middle). The payload for the standard powder (livex left, inert right) and liquid rounds is replaced by an aluminum disk in the nose to facilitate energy transfer required to shatter glass.  These projectiles are designed for specific tactical applications and it is crucial for operators to know the incident angle which will consistently break glass. On a ridiculously rainy day, we shot some tempered side windows from a couple cars to test for critical angle estimations. Learn more about these rounds on an upcoming segment on our Youtube channel. Special thanks to Gundies Auto Recyclers in Bellingham, Wa for the doors of science!

pepperball FN303 trajectory reconstruction forensics less lethal 40mm 68 caliber
pepperball FN303 trajectory reconstruction forensics less lethal 40mm 68 caliber

labradar 68 caliber less-lethal non-lethal testing forensics

Pepperball VKR Velocity vs. Distance

Critical Angle Project

During a shooting incident reconstruction class instructed by Forensic Science Consultants, we gathered some data on the critical angles of less lethal munitions versus automobile glass. These weapons are often used to break windows during critical incidents. What some operators do not know is that success in defeating the glass is heavily dependent on the attack angle. We found that automotive tempered glass resists 40mm less lethal projectiles at angles shallower than 70 degrees. pepperball FN303 trajectory reconstruction forensics less lethal 40mm

Some of our critical angle data was presented at the AAFS meeting in Seattle, and the AFTE training conference in Nashville.

SHOT Show 2016

The show in Vegas this year was as exciting as usual with new less lethal products and firearms including a single 40mm launcher from ALS, a quad-launcher from Safariland. Safariland is now offering a variable speed 40mm impact munition that the user can manually change in the field. Also released this week was a new civilian TASER.

ALS-launcher ALS2 safariland2



One of the most exciting new products is a 16 shot full/semi automatic shotgun from SRM Arms, offering a less-lethal platform as well.

SRM-1 srm-2 srm-3

Contact us for more information on these or any other less lethal product