Automotive

Grappler drags bad guys' cars to a halt and makes a mess of tires

The Grappler ruins tires and brings bad guys to a complete stop
The Grappler ruins tires and brings bad guys to a complete stop
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The Grappler causes instant rear tire trauma
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The Grappler causes instant rear tire trauma
The Grappler: unfurls on the go to grab the bad guys
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The Grappler: unfurls on the go to grab the bad guys
The Grappler: tethered stops completely disable front wheel drive cars
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The Grappler: tethered stops completely disable front wheel drive cars
The Grappler: running up and over the rear tire, the net quickly wraps tightly around the wheel and grabs
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The Grappler: running up and over the rear tire, the net quickly wraps tightly around the wheel and grabs
The Grappler: the police pursuit vehicle needs to get very close to deploy the grappler - but not quite as close as for a PIT manoeuver
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The Grappler: the police pursuit vehicle needs to get very close to deploy the grappler - but not quite as close as for a PIT manoeuver
The Grappler: looks like a jumbo bull bar when not deployed
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The Grappler: looks like a jumbo bull bar when not deployed
The Grappler: can be disguised as a bike rack
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The Grappler: can be disguised as a bike rack
The Grappler: grabs hard
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The Grappler: grabs hard
The Grappler ruins tires and brings bad guys to a complete stop
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The Grappler ruins tires and brings bad guys to a complete stop

Police Bumper's Grappler is a nasty little device that mounts to the front of police pursuit cars and stops a car chase right in its tracks, safely and securely. It shoots out a net that grabs onto the target's rear wheel, wraps around it and completely drags the axle to a stop while destroying the tire.

Earlier this year, I went to my first rodeo in Nevada. We got there late, and it was just kids having sack and boot races. Later that day, I went to my second rodeo, where we watched teams of two riders on horseback roping cows on the move. One would lasso the horns, which seemed to be the easy part, then the second would try to get a lasso around one or both rear legs, which would totally bring the beast to a halt.

And that second part is exactly what the Grappler does, but to a car. Mounting to the front of a standard police truck such as a Tahoe, it's specifically designed to disable the rear wheel of a vehicle in a police chase, bringing them to a quick and safe stop without the use of the PIT manoeuvre that involves nudging the fleeing car so it spins around.

When you're coming up behind the bad guy, you hit a button to deploy the Grappler, then more or less run into the back of his car with the center of your car in line with one of the fleeing car's rear wheels.

The Grappler: the police pursuit vehicle needs to get very close to deploy the grappler - but not quite as close as for a PIT manoeuver
The Grappler: the police pursuit vehicle needs to get very close to deploy the grappler - but not quite as close as for a PIT manoeuver

A large yellow net is hung between two extending posts, and it quickly gets grabbed by the tire and hauled up and over, where it wraps itself around the axle, brings the wheel to an abrupt stop (and the other rear wheel too, if it's got certain types of rear differential). It often grabs with such force that it rips the tire right off the rim.

On a rear wheel drive vehicle, that's often enough to drag the car to a stop by itself, but with front wheel drive cars, once the rear wheel is locked up, the police driver can keep a tether connected to the wheel, create some separation between the two vehicles, and then drag it to a halt using the tether line and his own brakes. It's very effective, and stops the car in a straight line so it can be used even in heavy traffic.

The Grappler: tethered stops completely disable front wheel drive cars
The Grappler: tethered stops completely disable front wheel drive cars

The Grappler can be disguised as a bicycle rack for unmarked vehicles or tactical operations, but otherwise looks like a pair of horns on the front of the car.

The Grappler: looks like a jumbo bull bar when not deployed
The Grappler: looks like a jumbo bull bar when not deployed

Police Bumper is hoping to get the Grappler out in the field with police operations around the US, touting the fact that it brings cars to a much safer and more controlled stop than spinning them around with the PIT technique – and it keeps the officer at a safer distance from a potentially dangerous crook when the vehicles come to rest.

On the other hand, it's also a pretty bulky system that may not work on all police vehicles, and it's questionable how valuable they'd be if they were only on a few select vehicles in a given jurisdiction. I'm not sure how many police chases there are per day in the United States, but you'd want a lot to justify the as-yet-undisclosed cost of fitting one of these things.

So we'll wait and see if it takes off, but it sure makes for some cool video, as you can see below.

Source: Police Bumper

Vehicle Arresting System

10 comments
Martin Winlow
Surely if the rear wheels lock there is potential for the bandit car driver to lose control and crash? - cue civil lawsuit...
Harley Dave
What sort of loss of control are you thinking about? The back of the target car is attached to the pursuit vehicle - so a spin out is unlikely. Anyway, the bad guys surely give up their "rights" when they refuse to stop.
BuffordGordon
This will be fun to see on the news.
Deane
Anyone intending to defeat this device just needs to bolt a knife edge bar across the bottom of the rear of the wheel wells. This would prevent the webbing from going up over the tire and cut it if it tried to.
Milton
very impressed after watching that video.
flylowguy
That's a very useful invention. Now if we could have something like that for police to use on people not in a vehicle, they might not need to shoot them to neutralize them.
Grunchy
Hmm, I wonder if you can sue police for arresting you? I guess there's no harm in trying.
kmccune
Very unimpressive,a lot of pursuits dont even need to happen ,too many of our finest get killed in the line of duty in unecessary pursuits ,never been a vehicle produced that could outrun a radio .Besides watching this hyped up video ,,it looks like its most effective against slow subcompact vehicles,that a Tahoe can catch.Just more wastage of taxpayer money ,it apparently wont work on a big commercial vehicle It never ceased to amaze me the length some people will go to to prolong a chase,you see the pictures of heroic police trying to shoot the tires out on 18 wheeler( the chase goes on for miles and miles ,when all they would have to do is put a hole in the radiator (most new trucks will shut down on their own in a couple of miles) So please think smarter and try to eliminate high speed chases our Officers are too valuable to waste ,maybe we should mandate a top speed on new vehicles produced ,do we really need vehicles that that are capable of over 130 mph ,when the top speed on any highway is closer to 80 mph ,we need to think smarter not more physical .
SergeEcoiffier
How about just allowing police to take remote control of the pursued vehicle's onboard computers, play a warning to stop or be stopped and then stop their engine off ? This is possible on a growing number of vehicle (since at least 2014 models ?) Google "hack car to control remotely" to read more about this. Then, of course, police could always bring back the Finnish Harpoon Police car
Paul Stregevsky
The pursuit vehicle needs to get VERY close to the target. If the target slams on his brakes, Grappler is damaged. And so is cop car. Cops are leery about mounting additional stuff onto their cars, and being tethered to something they were trying to stop. Both the NightHawk and ArrestNet systems work from a safe stand-off distance and fit the current "stop stick" CONOP that cops are trained for.
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