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View Full Version : PepperBall Gun

06-08-03, 08:35 PM
Wondering if any department is using the pepperball gun? Our agency just got one and we had training with it the other day.

It is typically aimed at the center of the chest, the projectiles have a one-two punch that cause intense pain and psychological shock.

The third incapacitating effect comes from release of pepper spray powder that envelops the upper body and causes extreme irritation of the eyes and lungs. We are trained to aim for the chest, because a shot to someone's head could cause serious injury.

It was not a requirement, but I actually volunteered to get shot with it. I took 5 shots to the chest, and belive me it hurts a lot. I welted up instantly and after a few hours I had bruises. Two days later I am still pretty sore.

06-08-03, 09:49 PM
Why 5 shots??? Wouldn't one just be enough?
Is that how many they plan on firing when using it? I know the crackheads etc, take more to get them down, but 5 shots for the average criminal?

06-08-03, 09:53 PM
Well the company recommends 4-10 shots on a bad-guy. I had a simulated knife in my hand, and I dropped it to comply with the impact pain and pepper spray when I had enough. 1 shot would not do it alone, 5 was enough for me.

06-08-03, 10:41 PM
Do NOT use a pepperball gun against a BG with a knife! It will not stop a "motivated" BG.

The ones we use are the modified (i.e. repackaged) Tippmanns. Some genius paid double or triple what the guns (with 250 round hopper and small air bottle) are actually worth.

They could cause serious injury if a round hits an eye but otherwise, they just leave welts (can cause lacerations if impacting against naked skin).

06-09-03, 12:09 AM
DepDog--My agency has purchased the PepperBall "Launcher" as well and I have also taken the hits to the upper body too. Man, it does hurt a lot and I too think it is a pretty effective "tool" under the right cir***stances. Course, the user should also receive the appropriate training to utilize this device properly and under teh appropriate cir***stances.

Without a doubt, like anything else, the pepperball launcher is NOT appropriate for all cir***stances. AND, it is also NOT deployed or used simply to shoot someone in every cir***stance. One can also shoot the pepperballs at a wall above the targets head and the resulting pepperball's contents are dispersed. Believe me, the powder, (I can't think of the exact name of this type of new powder) is VERY effective!:eek: I only got exposed to a small amount of the newer powder and it had me chocking, crying, gagging, etc. I was in bad shape!

To me, an officer should have about any "tool" they can get available to them to effectively do the job. I think the pepperball launcher is a good one to have in most any PD's ****nal.

Just my opinion.....

06-09-03, 02:00 AM
I just can't see how a gun that you *must* fire an average of 5 times to be very effective. Granted, having a pepperball gun is better than nothing, but Dep, you weren't even a crazed criminal... those guys typically need more to get them to comply.
Is the pepperball gun less painful than, say, a beanbag gun?

06-09-03, 03:36 AM
If I am going to have to shoot someone with my .40 Glock, I might just put 5 rounds into them instead of thinking " one shot one kill". If I would have the pepperball gun, I would do the same. Last time I pepper foamed someone, I used almost half of a can on them. I wanted to be sure that it was effective. Any department is looking for less than lethal weapons so they don't have to go through the press and legal headache of even a justified shooting. I am assuming that the pepperball gun is semi auto. I am not going to shoot one ball and than evauate, shoot a second ball and evaluate etc. Just give em a good healthy dose to insure a take down is ALL THAT MATTERS.

06-09-03, 11:33 AM
I don't know about the beanbag gun Stump. But the idea behind the pepperball gun is to get a subject to comply with your commands if at first a verbal command does not work. It is considered an impact weapon, such as a baton. I would rather be 30 feet away with a man with a knife with a pepperball gun, than 10 feet with a baton. Our gun is a semi-auto, but the company does make automatics.

They are an alternative to lethal force. They are safe at point-blank range. Provide increased officer safety. Allow suspect targeting ranges up to 30 feet and can be used to saturate areas at distances up to 150 feet. They offer multiple types of projectiles for training and tactical operations.

Here is a list of the type of scenario's that you may use it:

Controlling Uncooperative or Violent Suspects
Troop Withdrawal
Standoff/Barricade Situations
Riot Control
Domestic Violence
Prison Cell Extraction

There have been reported fatalities with the beanbag gun, and none with pepperball gun.

The company recommends shooting 4-10 times if suspect does not comply, reevaluate and shoot another 4-10 times. If suspect has not complied by then, then use alternative means. Of course less-lethal weapons do not work on all suspects, you just have to go to next level on use of force.

06-10-03, 01:41 AM
The plain and simple answer is that as with a firearm you shoot to stop the threat. And you keep shooting until the threat is over.

However, if I shoot somebody carrying a knife with 5-10 pepper balls and he/she is still coming there will be an immediate transition to my firearm.

06-10-03, 02:02 AM
Originally posted by resqr1
The plain and simple answer is that as with a firearm you shoot to stop the threat. And you keep shooting until the threat is over.
However, if I shoot somebody carrying a knife with 5-10 pepper balls and he/she is still coming there will be an immediate transition to my firearm.
I understand about stopping the threat, shoot to live, blah, blah... my confusion was about the fact that you HAVE to fire at least 4 times to have an effect on anyone. It is a non-lethal response which I think is wonderful, but it seems to be wasting seconds by having to pump 4 shots into this person before evaluating.
That is interesting to hear that there have been fatalities with the beanbag gun, dep. I haven't heard that.
Those circ-umstances you mentioned could also use the taser or beanbag too. What makes the pepperball so great?
Alright, I won't beat a dead horse anymore. I won't ask anything else.

06-10-03, 03:22 AM
I am sure 1 shot with pepperball could stop the threat in some situations. Our department does not use the beanbag gun yet, and we just got a Taser, but we are in the process of getting everyone trained in it. The pepperball gun is very accurate at 30 feet, there is no recoil to it at all.

Pepperball can be used at point blank range, where you cannot with a beanbag gun. With the enhanced effect of the burning of the eyes, mouth and nose, the pepperball gun is better than a beanbag gun because of the extra effects.

06-10-03, 11:16 AM
Ok, I lied. I have one more question. (And y'all can't tell me you are suprised - I AM a woman, after all :D )
With the OC spray you carry on your duty belt, what is the range/accuracy on that comparatively? I have been unfortunate enough to have been in the cloud when it has gone off, so I would think that the spray would encompass a little more than the ball. True/false?
*You can smack me anytime for asking all the questions*

06-10-03, 12:45 PM
We exclusively carry pepper foam. Range is about 10 ft and it shoots a STREAM of fluid that is non-vaporizing. It looks like shaving cream upon impact and runs down. Wporks great on someone with glasses as it will run down from their forehead into their eyes. This is the 10% stuff and having had some on me, it surley BURNS like crazy. After being sprayed , they can be placed in a cruiser without any effects to me up front. The 10% formulas takes a good 45 min to wear off. In the mean time they are unable to open their eyes and wherever they got a blast , they feel like they are on fire.

"Dr. Pepper" will always have a place on my belt.

06-10-03, 12:52 PM
The pepperball explodes on impact to the suspect, there is pepper powder (5% OC) inside of the ball. With pepper spray in outdoor situations with wind etc... it is not as accurate, about 10 ft in ideal situations. When shooting the pepperball gun the elements dont have that much of an effect on accuracy, but the powder can disperse differently as well with high wind.

In my experience with using OC spray I carry on my belt, I would say I would use the pepperball gun first as an alternative, if I had it available, then the OC spray can.

06-10-03, 08:08 PM

To me, there are pro's and con's using a pepperball launcher, pepper foam, (we also carry pepper foam too and IT is some bad stuff!!), and impact weapons along with our firearms.

Obviously, the pepperball launcher is NOT going to be used in each and every situation. Depending on the cir***stances, pepper foam may be the better option depending on the situation. At the same time, a pepperball launcher may be better utilized for, as an example, an EDP where keeping some distance might be in the better interest of the responding officers and civilians. The pepperball launcher may be fired several times at the target/EDP and you get two effects: The "shock" or stunning effect of the impacting pepperballs and, the pepper powder effects. If you shoot it multiple times....what's the big deal? I mean, when you spray someone with pepper foam, do they ONLY get a 1 second burst OR, a 5-10 second burst? I don't see the issue with this.....

Is a pepper ball launcher what you use for EVERY situation? Of course not. But again, if you receive the training and review the training materials, it's potential usefulness is quite apparent in some situations. AND, depending on the cir***stances, it could be yet another means an officer could utilize to gain control of a suspect or EDP before resorting to perhaps deadly force.

It's not fool-proof or the best "tool" for every situation. Again, I feel it is a very useful tool to have on hand.


06-10-03, 10:43 PM
I am a certified instructor for the pepperball. I love the thing! It, like all the other less-lethal weapons with which I am familiar, is just another tool for the toolbox.

I'd have no concerns regarding the pepperball because you train with multiple rounds with each deployment. Heck, I do the same thing with my firearm. Nearly all of our handgun training is in 3 shot groups! Does that make my handgun less effective? Hardly. As anyone who has been hit with a pepperball will tell you (which I have), you start feeling the pain at about the time the 3-4 round is hitting you. It's very intense and very effective!

No, there is no garuntee that it will stop a determined subject or one that is high on drugs. The same can be said for handguns.

Yes, the rounds can (do) cause some serious welts and may break the skin. Yes, you can lose an eye. They should not, however, be lethal. There are do***ented incidents of deployments on a subjects head (temple area). The subject was knocked unconscious, with no permanent injuries. It was a lethal force situation and the officer made due. The guns are marketed by the company as NON-LETHAL. I do not like that term and tend to stick with the term "less-lethal" as with our batons, pepper, tasers, etc. Why tempt fate! :)

BTW, this is not just a paintball gun on steroids! The accuracy was phenomenal. We were hitting soda cans at 30 feet with no problem. The pepper was surprisingly potent, even outside.

There are liquid rounds for pain compliance, pepper rounds that add pepper to the mix, dye rounds to mark individuals, as well as solid, nylon rounds to break glass!

It's another great tool for the toolbox!

06-11-03, 09:51 PM
I could not find a link but this was in the DALLAS MORNING NEWS - Wednesday, June 11, 2003 on page 2B of the "Metropolitan" section of the paper under the NEWS BRIEFS (Photo of cops and "nut job" included!)

"Police arrest a homeless man near Lubben Plaza in downtown Dallas. The man, who wasn't identified, reportedly brandished a knife at officers Tuesday then slashed his own arms. Police responded about 12:30 p.m. to reports of a man trying to break into vehicles in a lot near the 700 blockof Young Street. The man was subdued by a device that shoots pepper balls and was taken to have his cuts treated. He was charged with aggravated assault of a public servant."


06-11-03, 10:24 PM
As an avid paintballer I can see this kind of device would be very effective. How many rounds does the "hopper" (if it has a hopper) have?

If it's anything as fast as my Tippmann pro/carbine 5 shots would take 1 second or less to fire.

And the range of paintguns in general is pretty good. Crowd dispersal would probably be very effective.

06-12-03, 07:02 AM
Our's does have a hopper and holds about 200!!!

06-12-03, 01:19 PM
(rubs hands in evil manner) so umm...where can I get these pepperballs? :D

What kind of liability issues would police forces have if you hit someone in the face? I've shot paint into the 320-340 fps range (during target shooting) and I can tell you that, at that speed, the paint is pretty powerful. I'd hate to get caught in the throat!

Are the guns (or markers) capped at very low fps? What kind of air system are you using? I could imagine desposible co2 would be easiest to handle (my hand-gun / marker using 12 oz co2 is enough for 21 - or so shots).

06-12-03, 11:21 PM
The pepperball gun is a modified paintball gun, so the fps are the same about 320-360, yes they do sting. The company will stand behind their product, but only if you do not use the pepperball gun for shooting paintballs and do not make any modifications to it, they have an armorer school just for the pepperball gun.

There is always a risk of liability in everything we do, people are always looking for ways to get into our pocketbooks, or departments. As long as you can justify you were aiming for center mass, and they happen to duck and get dotted between the eyes, oh well. We use a 3000psi air tank and fill it with a regular scuba tank with an adapter you get from company.

06-13-03, 12:25 PM

What you've posted is generally the same set up we have. We too utilize the scuba tank and generally do the same thing. I am also in agreement with your overall comments as well.


06-23-03, 06:31 PM
So how many department use less than leathal devices? and what kind? I was at the DPS last week and one trooper had a M-SERIES Tazer on his belt behind his pistol but no OC/CS.

06-23-03, 06:57 PM
We, like numerous agencies, use 12 gauge Super Sock rounds in some shotguns.

We also have an abundance of stuff for 37mm launchers. We have rifled and smooth-bore launchers. We a variety of impact and gas munitions in the 37s, to include K01s, K03s, wood batons, barricade rounds, etc. We have a ton of ammo for the 37s!

We also have the M26 Air Taser.

Then there is the OC and expandable batons, too.

I think that covers it.

06-24-03, 02:22 PM
There is no problem using a less-lethal device in a lethal situation as long as it is safe to do so. Safety can be achieved by having lethal cover standing right next to you.

Portland uses the sage gun, bean bag gun, and taser. All require less lethal cover to be present during deployment.

We had a case where a crazed mental patient fought with police. They tried hands on, then pepper spray, then asp batons. Those all failed, so they went up to the bean bag gun and struck the man several times.

He finally grabbed a metal bar off of a door and charged the officers. The ban bag officer was just beginning to transition to handgun, and was concerned he wasn't going to have enough time to make the transition and fire before he was to be struck by the bar. Lethal cover was able to take the shots and nuetralize the threat.