Gone Outdoors

Types of Non-Lethal Rounds for Handguns

by Jennifer Boyden

From assaults and domestic violence to burglaries and carjackings, violent attacks can occur anywhere and anytime, shattering your sense of safety and control. Many self-defense products exist to help in these situations, but handguns remain one of the more dependable means to stop an assailant. If you want the ability to protect yourself and your family but hesitate to use fatal force, non-lethal ammunition provides the power necessary to stop an attack with reduced risk of death.

Common Non-Lethal Ammunition

Regular ammunition contains a lead bullet propelled by gunpowder and primer – a design that creates tremendous force and causes extensive damage when the bullet enters a body. Non-lethal rounds – comprised of softer materials and less propellant – result in less force and consequently less damage. Common less-than-lethal ammunition for handguns includes wax, rubber and plastic rounds. Wax bullets offer the least stopping power of any of the non-lethal rounds -- meaning they may fail to incapacitate an attacker in a self-defense situation. Rubber and plastic bullets cause extensive welts on contact, making them good non-lethal alternatives for self-defense weapons. However, both rounds are prone to ricochet which increases the risk of hurting yourself or unintended targets.

New Developments in Non-Lethal Ammunition

Thanks to advances in technology, new options for non-lethal ammunition provide better stopping power. Electric rounds deliver an electrical "stun gun" shock upon impact that disrupts the nervous system. These rounds store a charge of 50,000 volts while firing as accurately as normal bullets. Pepper projectiles offer a dual approach to self-defense -- the bullets cause blunt damage on impact while dispersing a cloud of pepper spray that irritates the eyes and lungs.

About the Author

Jennifer Boyden has been writing professionally since 2007. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in creative writing from Emerson College and graduate degrees in mental health counseling and criminal justice from Suffolk University. Boyden also has experience playing and coaching collegiate softball and is a CrossFit Level 1 trainer.

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