Introducing the next-gen less-lethal impact round
Less-lethal munitions can be minutes away from a critical scene, but this alternative is readily available to deploy within seconds
Content provided by Alternative Ballistics Corporation
Law enforcement officers have one of the toughest jobs on the planet, and in our modern era of heightened tensions, the job is getting more difficult and dangerous, where violence directed at officers is escalating, and nearly every action is closely watched, scrutinized and politicized by advocacy groups, media outlets and politicians.
One of the primary sources of tension between law enforcement, the public and the communities they protect and serve are fatalities, mostly related to officer-involved shootings. Since the court of public opinion has become quick to judge, often before facts are revealed, one way to resolve tensions would be to provide officers with options to reduce fatalities, but those options should optimize officer safety as well.
Current options and the need for emerging technologies
Today more than ever, emerging less-lethal technologies are providing options for officers to reduce fatalities when possible.
Departments currently use and carry a wide variety of less-lethal devices, including electronic control weapons, remote restraint devices, batons and pepper spray, on its officers’ duty belts.
Shotguns for bean bag rounds/rubber bullets and 40mm less-lethal impact munitions are also available in many departments; however, these options are not carried on an officer’s person but rather stored in the trunk of a patrol car or deployed by tactical teams when called upon.
Although effective when used, these latter options are not always available to officers on the scene once they decide to deploy a less-lethal option. This creates a critical safety gap in a standoff situation between a subject in crisis and officers waiting for the proper tool to arrive.
This "gap" is where many fatalities occur, such as when an individual might make a sudden move to draw, or is perceived to draw, a weapon, or if the individual decides to charge, causing the officers to fire, which could result in critical injury to the suspects or, depending on their mental state, "suicide by cop."
If officers were equipped with a proper tool, the number of fatalities and number of officers forced to take lives could be reduced dramatically to mitigate the impact of tragedy on all sides.
For these situations, where a noncompliant individual is presenting a potential lethal threat (with a weapon other than a gun), responding officers must decide on the proper tool to use. If they have the proper time and distance, this tool is usually going to be a less-lethal impact round. However, accessibility is key when every second matters.
A new tool for efficient deployment and officer safety
Alternative Ballistics Corporation (ABC), a Las Vegas-based company, believes it has successfully developed a game-changing product that will be effective in these types of scenarios.
The product is a compact and lightweight unit that is carried in a holster on a duty belt, MOLLE vest or thigh strap to provide the officer with a readily available option that can be deployed within seconds after making a "less-lethal" use-of-force determination.
ABC’s product, known as The Alternative, is a patented next-generation single-fire less-lethal impact munition, which is the result of technology perfected through years of R&D and is now available exclusively to law enforcement.
Extensive rounds of ballistics testing have confirmed The Alternative is safe and effective to use in targeting an individual’s torso or lower extremities in situations where an officer needs to gain compliance from a safe distance to safely affect an arrest.
The device uses an officer’s firearm as its deployment platform, and it is a single unit consisting of two components: an alloy projectile that is pressure-fit to a bright orange docking unit, which attaches to the slide and muzzle of an officer’s firearm.
The device's current projectile is a single universal unit that is compatible with standard ammunition, both 9mm and .40 caliber. The company also has a design for .45 caliber ammunition, which is not yet available, but the company plans to begin production on this unit soon.
The custom dock is designed to fit on commonly used firearms, and it is currently compatible with the Glock 17/19/45 and "pre-Gen 5" series of 22/23 Smith & Wesson M&P, CZ-P10 and Sig Sauer P-229. It can also be made to fit on just about any handgun apart from revolvers, and the company is working on molds for the FN-509, Sig Sauer P-320, Walther P-99 and Beretta APX.
The projectile was designed to capture a bullet, and the bright color of the docking unit was chosen for visibility to accentuate the officer’s intent to deploy a less-lethal option.
Once fired, the docking unit ejects from the slide as the bullet embeds into the projectile with immense pressure, forming a new munition that is sent downrange with kinetic energy while reducing velocity by approximately 80% to impact a targeted individual with incapacitating energy while posing little risk of death or critical injury.
The Alternative is extremely accurate at distances up to 30 feet, and it is unique in that it’s the only readily available technology that can instantly convert an officer’s service weapon to a less-lethal device and then allow the weapon to immediately revert to its lethal capability once it’s deployed, should lethal follow-up be necessary.
This prevents an officer from having to transition to a different platform during an encounter, which allows them to maintain control of the situation for the greatest chance of safely affecting an arrest and optimizing their own protection.
Backed by law enforcement professionals
The ABC Training and Certification Program is as important as the technology itself and was designed by a team of law enforcement professionals, headed up by (Ret.) Chief of Police Alex Perez, ABC’s strategic law enforcement consultant, and (Ret.) Detective Tony Lettieri, ABC’s director of training, who both served with the North Las Vegas Police Department.
ABC’s Training Program is a two-part certification "train the trainer" course that includes a classroom session with a written exam and a range session for live-fire qualification that focuses on:
- Situational deployment factors
- Safe handling procedures and proper attachment
- Developing muscle memory for efficient deployment
- Procedures to eliminate the risk of sympathetic fire and double-tap bursts
Any officer carrying The Alternative is required to pass the Training and Certification Program and is expected to follow all training protocols and their department’s "Use of Force" policies when determining if/when to deploy as an appropriate option.
The ABC team is currently traveling to provide demonstrations for departments throughout the U.S. and entertaining high interest with multiple law enforcement agencies in Brazil.