Developed by Jaycor Tactical Systems
, the PepperBall line of products gives law enforcement
and military personnel
means of neutralizing hostile agent
s. When circumstance
s do not justify
the use of lethal force
(such as in riot
s or domestic violence
incidents), or when qualified end-user
s would like to specifically avoid fatalities
missions or suicide-by-police
situations), the PepperBall system can be an effective means
ing uncooperative suspect
As the name implies, Pepperball works not unlike paintball; the caliber of the projectile is the same (at .68), and uses a CO2 cartridge. The similarities end there, however. The PepperBall projectile is not made of gelatin, for instance; it's made of a hard, frangible substance intended to withstand greater temperature ranges and hold quantities of oleoresin capsicum (OC, better known as pepper spray). PepperBall projectiles can also contain an indelible liquid dye, or they can be solid rounds intended to break glass (JTS does not recommend using this last type of projectile against people).
When struck with a live oleoresin capasicum projectile, suspects typically will react as if having been shot with a traditional firearm. If the kinetic impact and psychological impression of being shot does not subdue the suspect, the burst of pepper spray from the projectile likely will. The powdered OC will produce strong irritation in the nose and lungs, and can induce coughing, shortness of breath, and occasionally vomiting. Depending on the saturation of OC powder, the effects can last five to ten minutes, giving the end-user enough time to fully subdue and restrain the suspect. OC projectiles can also provide area saturation up to 100 feet (30.5 meters) from the end-user.
As with any chemical weapon, end-users must be careful to take environmental conditions into consideration when using PepperBall. For example, the end-user should remember to deploy PepperBall upwind of the intended target, or wear appropriate protective clothing. Also, end-users should also be mindful of colleagues, noncombatants or innocent bystanders; although PepperBall is non-lethal, end-users will want to avoid unintended injuries.
Law enforcement agents used the PepperBall system with considerable success in the World Trade Organization riots in Seattle, Washington, in 1999. In situations like that or any other where non-lethal force would work better than lethal force, PepperBall is an effective means of subduing, but not killing, uncooperative suspects.