The Evolution of “Non-Lethal” Weapons

Dees Illustration

Nicholas West
Activist Post

This is an update to the ongoing look at the technological evolution of supposedly non-lethal weapons.

A lot of attention has been paid recently to the massive buildup of lethal weapons purchased by DHS and the ongoing government secrecy about the stockpile. When combined with the increasing rhetoric against anyone professing a love of independence, there is rightful concern that this weapons hoard will be turned inward upon the American “Patriot.”

Many argue that, in the end, most military and police will not wage war on their own, even despite overwhelming evidence that they are training for such a scenario, i.e. using “no more hesitation” pictures of elderly men, pregnant women and even children as target practice. Add to this a letter issued from a retired U.S. Army Captain that DHS is prepping for war on Americans, as well as recent testimony from a Marine Corps Colonel stating the same, and only cognitive dissonance remains for not answering the wake-up call.

The transfer of weapons of war such as drones from foreign to domestic use should be seen as a natural expansion of any imperial government that is actively taking steps to desensitize military, police, and the domestic public to crossing paths in a very hostile manner.

So-called “non-lethal” weapons have almost been forgotten about in the wake of the far worse possibilities presented by weaponized drones and civil war. These non-lethal weapons have a history dating back to 1930s Germany, which has now extended into nearly all democratic countries as a means of intimidating protesters.

The widespread acceptance of pepper spray – a chemical weapon that is stated as such by the founder of the product – has found its way into the hands of police and military the world over. Tear gas came along in the wake of World War I and has now taken many forms. As Casey Research points out in their latest report on non-lethal weapons, while these chemical agents are thought of as reasonably harmless, much evidence shows otherwise:

CS can also cause pulmonary problems and, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association, can significantly damage the heart and liver. Pepper spray, widely considered the most “humane” alternative can, according to a report from the North Carolina Department of Health, cause responses including “burning of the throat, wheezing, dry cough, shortness of breath, gagging, gasping, inability to breathe or speak (due to laryngospasm or laryngeal paralysis), and, rarely, cyanosis, apnea, and respiratory arrest.” (Source)

The Taser – or stun gun – is another item in the non-lethal arsenal that is all but ubiquitous, but has come under intense scrutiny by researchers for its lethal results. Electrophysiologist, Dr. Douglas Zipes, published an article for the The American Heart Association which covered 8 cases where a 50,000 volt Electronic Control Device (TASER X26) was used and victims lost consciousness. His conclusion is that this non-lethal weapon can induce cardiac arrest.

In one case that received national attention, a Vermont state trooper used a Taser to kill an unarmed, 39-year-old epileptic man in June of 2012. 

With death always a possibility, one would think that Tasers would not be employed lightly. But because they are regarded as usually harmless, that has hardly proven to be the case.

Indeed, as seen in the above image, Tasers are slated to be used at longer and longer distances, with the potential even to be used by drones.

Casey Research goes on to highlight other areas of non-lethal weapons testing that occurred as far back as the 1970s:

  • Kinetic NLWs: Water cannons and projectiles (in use); nets (available, not in use)
  • Electrical: Stun guns and TASERS (in use); wireless electric weapons (proposed)
  • Chemical: Tear gases and smokes (in use); lubricants and aqueous foams (available, not in use); sticky foams and malodorants (in R&D)
  • Biological: Incapacitating bacteria, viruses, and toxins (available but banned by the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention)
  • Optical: Flash-bang grenades and high-intensity lights (in limited use); stroboscopic lights (in R&D)
  • Acoustic: Audible sound generators (in limited use); ultrasound/infrasound generators (in R&D)
  • Directed energy: Laser and microwave devices (in R&D); vortex generators (proposed).

The above have led to new developments such as the microwave cannon crowd dispersal weapon which is euphemistically called an “Active Denial System.”

The vehicle-mounted cannon combined with the power of electromagnetic radiation blasts a beam of heat that makes the target feel an intense waft of heat comparable to quickly opening an extremely hot oven, except reportedly with more pain. Unable to withstand the intensity and quickness of the heat, the beam makes people automatically run or jump out of the way. (Source)

Pesky protesters insurgents have much more that they can look forward to when they exit their homes to make their voices heard among the din of LRAD weapons “effective long range communications system used to clearly broadcast critical information, instructions and warning.” Though it would seem difficult to hear subsequent “critical information” with permanent hearing loss.

But that’s not enough apparently. A new addition to the acoustic discomfort division is
the Inferno Sound Barrier.

It doesn’t make people run from it because of loudness—although at 120 dB, it’s pretty darn loud. It repels because the sound it emits combines four frequencies spread out over 2-5 kHz. Those frequencies mixed together have a deeply disturbing effect on people, causing them to flee within seconds. 

The Inferno, a Swedish import, was originally designed to protect public buildings, retailers, and boats, but the manufacturer intends to market it to commercial vehicles like taxis, and to law enforcement for riot control. It’s almost sure to eventually find its way into private residences, as well.

Could it be that the local police, inadequately armed with conventional weapons, will be offered a solution with non-lethal tech . . . especially as they are increasingly outmatched by a gun-toting public?

A previous Extraordinary Technology report of the latest non-lethal less lethal, but potential kill tech showed trends in the growing sector of “crowd control” amid nearly global civil unrest. Of particular note is the flexibility to apply these devices to either disperse the unruly, or offensively use them in a full-out war setting. It is the type of flexibility that has made the drone market so lucrative; everything from surveillance, to terrain mapping . . . and remote-controlled death if need be. As the report states quite correctly:

First, when looking into NLWs, it might seem logical to divide them into civilian and military, but for all practical purposes there is so much overlap that the distinction barely exists. In fact, some weapons that have been banned from the battlefield are approved for law enforcement, as we shall see. And in modern-day, nonconventional warfare, soldiers are increasingly called upon to perform police duties. So there’s little point in separating the two.

And I would add that police are increasingly called upon to perform soldier duties. The militarization of police is undeniable and all but guaranteed to usher in the next-gen non-lethal tech.

  • Shock Wave Generators — Originally devised by the Israelis, it can knock people down from 100 meters but if you wind up to close to the blast source … you’re dead.
  • Vortex Ring Gun — Creates a high-energy gas vortex that can be directed toward a specific target. If pepper spray is a potentially lethal chemical weapon, then this just magnifies its potential by combining the effect with nausea-inducing chemicals … all meant to linger on the target. This is also a favorite of Israeli Defense Forces, as noted in the report. 
  • Mobility Denial System Another euphemism building off of the microwave cannon concept of Active Denial System. The report cites this as the “instant banana peel.” This is a class of weapons that were invented at Southwest Research Institute, which can disperse a slippery gel onto asphalt, concrete, wood, and even grass, making movement impossible without falling down. It can also disable vehicles in a similar manner. Self-defense would seem improbable under such circumstances, leaving your fate to be determined.
  • Pulsed Energy Projectile —  Supposedly “under development” by the military. From the report: “It involves a weapon emitting an invisible laser pulse that, upon contact with the target, ablates the surface material and creates a bit of exploding plasma on the skin. This produces a pressure wave that stuns the target, knocking him down, as well as electromagnetic radiation that irritates nerve cells, causing pain.” This is a more directed,  enhanced version of the Active Denial System noted above. 
  • Sticky Foam — Used in Somalia, possibility of suffocation if hit in the face.
  • The Stingball Grenade — Propels a cache of 100 tiny rubber balls in a circular pattern. The Modular Crowd Control Munition (MCCM) is the Stingball’s tightly directed big brother. It’s constructed like a Claymore mine but with 600 rubber balls inside that are sprayed out in a 45-degree arc. Even standard rubber bullets and “firearm rounds” have caused death
  • Underwater Pulsed Sound Wave — Under development by the Navy to deter SCUBA attacks within 150 meters.

Dazzling Weapons

Not only are new weapons constantly being created, but the range at which they can incapacitate is evolving as well. Enter the “Coherent Light” weapons.

…we now have various “dazzlers” that operate in either the red or—primarily because it works better in daylight—the green areas of the spectrum. Their purpose, according to the Department of Defense’s Non-Lethal Weapons Reference Book: “Force protection, entry control points, checkpoints, and maritime ports and security zones to warn, deny, move, and suppress (e.g., distract, disorient, and degrade) individuals on foot and those operating vehicles/vessels.” 

Dazzlers are designed to emit coherent light beams that are less tight than with conventional lasers, in order not to cause permanent eye damage. There are a large number of models; one is the PHaSR or Personnel Halting and Stimulation Response rifle, which was developed in-house by the US Department of Defense.

Another, the Glare Mout, is a green laser that spreads to a larger spot at the intended target, making aiming the device at long distances or at multiple subjects much easier. The Glare Mout’s effective range is 150 meters to 2 kilometers. Of course, you don’t want to use it at close range, i.e., within the NOHD (that’s bureaucratese for the “nominal ocular hazard distance”). That would cause permanent blindness, and the Glare Mout’s range finder thus has a precautionary, automatic shutoff at 65 meters. 

The StunRay is an optical incapacitation effector developed by Genesis Illumination that uses collimated (slightly less than laser) broad-spectrum visible and near-infrared light from a short-arc lamp to safely and temporarily impair vision, disorient, and incapacitate aggressors for 5 seconds to 3 minutes without causing physical harm. 

The Saber 203 dazzler uses a 250 mW red laser diode, mounted in a hard plastic capsule in the shape of a standard 40 mm grenade, suitable for being loaded into an M203 grenade launcher. It has an effective range of 300 meters. 

But that’s nothing compared with the long-range ocular interruption (LROI) weapon presently under development by the Navy. That one is projected to be effective up to 3,000 meters, or nearly two miles. (emphasis added)


Optical NLWs are not limited to laser devices, either. There is, for example, also a weapon called the Dazzler, a very bright, stroboscopic LED flashlight that causes nausea, dizziness, headache, flash blindness, eye pain, and sometimes vomiting. The Dazzler was developed for the Department of Homeland Security, but is expected to be made available to local law enforcement in the near future. In the meantime, plans for a DIY version can be found on the Internet.

The flashbang grenade has also gained new reach with the VENOM system (Vehicle Non-Lethal/Tube Launched Munition System):

…a 40mm, multi-shot, electrically actuated grenade launcher mounted to the Marine Corps Transparent Armored Gun Shield turret. The system consists of three banks of ten launch tubes, each at fixed angles of 10, 20, and 30 degrees from horizontal, achieving 360-degree coverage, with a range of 400 feet. Flashbangs can also be rigged to be delivered as an airburst weapon with an increased applicability zone.

One of the most dangerous aspects of non-lethal weapons is that they are far more indiscriminate than conventional weapons, especially since their evolution continues toward being deployed from a distance. Additionally, these are high-tech (expensive) weapons that have no parallel among what is available to the public, thus creating a massive imbalance in firepower.

These weapons are also becoming more intrusive, literally — aiming directly for the brain of the subjected population if need be:

Just over the horizon: Sierra Nevada Corp., working under a US Navy contract, is reportedly ready to build a microwave ray gun called the MEDUSA (Mob Excess Deterrent Using Silent Audio). The device fires short microwave pulses that penetrate the head and rapidly heat tissue, resulting in a shockwave inside the skull (emphasis added).

Finally, we shouldn’t leave this subject without a quick mention of one of the more whimsical of recent NLW inventions, the speech jammer gun developed by some Japanese tinkerers. This device is not intended to incapacitate anyone, just to shut them up. Effective at up to a hundred feet, you simply aim it at someone who won’t stop talking, and it broadcasts the speaker’s own words back at him with a 0.2-second delay, causing him to become completely tongue-tied and unable to go on. Poetic justice indeed. Hmmm… We can think of a whole lot of Washingtonians (DC denizens, not the Pacific Northwest state citizens) we’d love to try this thing out on.

There is really nothing cute, fun or whimsical about these technologies. Non-lethal weapons used against peaceful civilians is a natural extension of a war culture. Protesters are now viewed by the militarized police as terrorists, and totalitarianism has been embraced as the new normal.

Coupled with these evolving physical technologies are those centered on crippling or altering our minds, which is the subject of a recently leaked DARPA mind control project being conducted at Arizona State University.

Protesters/activists/terrorists will be fair game for the whole catalog of weaponry, both physical and psychological. This catalog will not (cannot) diminish when the profits to made by kill tech far outweigh the business model for peace. Unless we the people are willing to make the commitment to stop funding this machine, it will continue to steamroll with increasing ease and lethality. 

Note: Much of this information was reproduced via Casey Research’s Extraordinary Technology. They are currently offering a savings of up to 33% – but only until this Friday, August 16, at midnight. They’ve doubled the length of the guarantee, allowing you 6 months to decide if it’s right for you. Get plugged into the world’s most revolutionary technological breakthroughs and make exceptional gains – learn more now.

Read other articles by Nicholas West Here

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