Imagine a taser-like projectile that can be shot from any ordinary shotgun. Such a projectile could stun a target with an electric shock up to five times the distance a regular taser can.
Credit: jasonesbain – Taser: CC BY 2.0
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There is a huge hunger for non-lethal weapons nowadays. Just take the current protests and riots in the USA or anywhere else. Though, even weapons labeled as non-lethal can sometimes kill. Maybe a better name would be less-lethal weapons.
The American Navy is currently testing one such weapon. It as called SPECTER (Small arms Pulsed Electronic Tetanization at Extended Range) which brings the key benefit of being capable of hitting the target with an electric shock even if it is more than 30 meters far. Current tasers with a similar effect only have an effective range of roughly 8 meters.
SPECTER is essentially a projectile that can be shot from a common shotgun. It was developed by the company Harkind Dynamics based in Colorado. The development is being sponsored by the Pentagon.
The non-lethal projectile does have one problem though. If it was shot at such a small distance from a shotgun it would not be non-lethal. The projectile is too massive and would cause a life-threatening injury. So, the creators of SPECTER decided to give the projectile a tiny little parachute. This parachute should active right before the projectile hits its target. Based on the data provided by Harkind Dynamics the parachute should reduce the speed of the projectile by up to 50 %.
When the projectile flies close to its target (about 1 meter) it fires three dart-shaped electrodes. These electrodes will penetrate the target skin and deliver one heck of an electric shock.
Non-lethal and less-lethal weapons are currently under heavy scrutiny by experts, media, and the public. We do realize that they can still cause large injuries, cripple, or even sometimes kill. But every step that takes us closer to weapons that can only stun people is a step in the right direction.
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