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NIJ's Less-Than-Lethal Flash-Bang Round Project

NCJ Number
Corrections Today Volume: 65 Issue: 5 Dated: August 2003 Pages: 117-119
Date Published
August 2003
3 pages

This article describes the new flash-bang technology that will allow police officers to temporarily and safely stun an uncooperative criminal suspect.


The flash-bang technology was developed by Law Enforcement Technologies (LET) through a grant from the National Institute of Justice's Less-Than-Lethal Technologies Program. It works by simultaneously exposing suspects to a flash of light so bright that it is similar to looking into the sun at the same time it blasts a bang at a painful 170 decibels. The flash of light and the bang cause no permanent damage to the suspect, but render the suspect disoriented. The goal is to provide police officers with a means of subduing uncooperative suspects without resorting to the use of lethal force. The article describes the two versions of the technology that are under development, one allows an officer to manually select the range at which the round will burst while the other more advanced version will have radar-controlled capabilities. One of the goals in development is to make the technology affordable for local jurisdictions. The cost is estimated at about $30 per live round and about $15 per training round. The article also describes additional options to be included in the flash-bang technology in the future. LET is researching irritating chemicals or paint that would either further disarm the suspect or mark the suspect indelibly. Finally, additional law enforcement technologies that could be commercially available in the near future are briefly described and include the MultiSensory Grenade and the Ring Airfoil Projectile.

Date Published: August 1, 2003