Military

"The Alternative" puts the brakes on bullets fired from police sidearms

"The Alternative" puts the bra...
The Alternative hooks onto a standard semiautomatic pistol to reduce the velocity of a fired round
The Alternative hooks onto a standard semiautomatic pistol to reduce the velocity of a fired round
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Diagram of the Alternative
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Diagram of the Alternative
The Alternative has a hollow for catching a fired round
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The Alternative has a hollow for catching a fired round
The Alternative ball and carrier
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The Alternative ball and carrier
The Alternative hooks onto a standard semiautomatic pistol to reduce the velocity of a fired round
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The Alternative hooks onto a standard semiautomatic pistol to reduce the velocity of a fired round
The Alternative in its belt pouch
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The Alternative in its belt pouch
The Alternative slows a bullet by 80 percent
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The Alternative slows a bullet by 80 percent
The Alternative installs with one hand
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The Alternative installs with one hand
Cutaway of the Alternative in action
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Cutaway of the Alternative in action
The Alternative striking a block of flesh-like jelly without penetrating
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The Alternative striking a block of flesh-like jelly without penetrating

Aiming for a leg or shooting a weapon from a criminal's hands may be an option for cops in the movies, but real police officers are trained to shoot for the center of mass, not necessarily to kill, but to stop – although the end result can often be one and the same. "The Alternative" is designed to give officers a less lethal option in the form of a clip-on "air bag" for semiautomatic pistols that reduces the velocity of a standard round to make it less lethal.

Developed by Alternative Ballistics of Poway, California, the Alternative is designed to improve the chances of imparting a stopping force on the target without penetrating or causing lethal damage.

Based in part on feedback from law enforcement and special forces, the Alternative consists of a plastic carrier that normally sits in a belt pouch. It's designed to fit over the muzzle of a semiautomatic pistol, with installation a one-handed operation that doesn't require the officer to look away from the situation. The carrier is designed not to interfere with the pistol's sights or under-barrel rail, which may carry a torch or laser sight.

Cutaway of the Alternative in action
Cutaway of the Alternative in action

At the front of the bright orange carrier is a hollow sphere made of a proprietary alloy that catches the bullet and firmly embeds it as it leaves the barrel. The ball and bullet fuse, slowing the round by 80 percent. At this speed, the ball-encased round is less likely to penetrate flesh, but it will transfer enough kinetic energy across a wide surface to knock a suspect down with less chance of a lethal outcome. Essentially, it's like a small, powerful bean-bag round, which Alternative Ballistics claims is as accurate as a standard pistol round.

After firing, the carrier is ejected as the pistol chambers another round, which allows the police officer to immediately fire a second, lethal round if needed. If the Alternative ends up not being required, it's easily removed and returned to its pouch.

Alternative Ballistics not only provides the less-lethal rounds, but also a two-day instructor course in the product, its use, history, and legal implications.

The video below introduces the Alternative.

Source: Alternative Ballistics

Alternative Ballistics Gun During a Shooting Range

61 comments
Racqia Dvorak
If you're shooting someone, that means you have reason to resort to lethal force. You need as much put-down as possible. This is literally one of the most useless inventions I've ever seen.
Robert Walther
An even better idea would be for the cop to ask the alleged offender to go to a 'time out' while the cop contacted his legal representative for written authorization to shoot.
nickyhansard
Am I the only one that thinks police should be skilled enough with such a deadly weapon to hit a persons leg? Sure if they have a ranged weapon then you gotta take them down as quick as possible but there are plenty of people that can hit a small moving target at a fairly large distance, police officers are paid professionals and I believe they should be capable of doing so or have their firearm taken away.
JweenyPwee
I don't know about shouting "LESS LETHAL" before firing. Pretty sure you want the fear of death at the top of the criminal's mind when staring down the barrel of a firearm.
fraguniop
Doesn't this transform a gun into a flashball ? Also, while we have proofs that non-letal weapon like pepperspray or tonfa are very often ineffective against agressive and/or determined person and while we have several reports of people still able to move an fight after being shot several times and even with multiple lethal wounds, do we really need less lethal guns ?
Deres
Nice idea but in fact it is a bullet-trap grenade , something that has existed since WWI. The application for pistol in a non lethal version is nonetheless interessant in particular because the police officer does not need another non-lethal side-arm. It would even be better if there was no carrier to be added as is usually the case with bullet trap grenade because the rifle has a specific end around which the grenade can go.
Bob
Just another decision the police would have to make in a tense situation. Another problem would be the possibility of the gun not properly loading the next round because the plastic add-on had slowed the slides movement.
hkmk23
First of all regarding wounding as a method stopping an assailant.....waste of time. If you have a gun and your opponent is also armed you need a lethal shot first, wounds unless in a vital spot do not always incapacitate every time, the shock of impact can nullify pain for up to 12 minutes.....not necessarily incapacitate....if you pull a gun on a law officer, expect to die.
hkmk23
Furthermore has no-one heard of a taser? For those less than lethal situations.....
englishfil
+1 for Tasers. This invention is not sane. For one, the concept of less lethal with ballistics assumes that firearms are lethal in the first place; the evidence says that for service handguns, at least on a single shot, rarely and certainly not instantly. Tier 1 SF might neatly double tap a tango in the head, but that is because they drill with hundreds of rounds a month. The rest of us will be counting ourselves lucky to hit a moving target whilst under stress. So where will that ball end up? Probably nowhere that will incapacitate a determined (or doped up) would-be assailant. Which brings me to the second point - under stress, with a semi-auto or revolver, most people will fire at least twice. They will look for their rounds to take effect, and, unlike the movies, targets don't always reel backwards on the impact of a round. So, with the less lethal round expended, one, or very likely, more lethal rounds will follow before the perpetrator behaves in a manner the shooter expects. With a taser, if it makes contact and activates (neither is guaranteed) the perpetrator goes down.