Thinking About Deadly Force

This may not be the answer, but it is an alternative.
This may not be the answer, but it is an alternative. SEE BELOW.

The recent presidential task force report on policing had some important things to recommend; actions, if sincerely taken, would do much to help restore trust in our nation’s police.

It is about changing the “warrior culture,” developing and applying new less-than-lethal force technology (and I will include “method/instrumentality”) in order to reduce deaths in police encounters, and the importance of having police who are effective conflict managers, who can de-escalate tense situations, and use other alternatives to custodial arrest like a summons.

From the Task Force:

  • Police culture should embrace a guardian mindset [as opposed to a “warrior” mindset] to guide their interactions with the citizens they serve (Recommendation 1.1).
  • Support the development of new “less than lethal” technology to help control combative suspects (Recommendation 3.6)
  • Police department policies and training on use of force should emphasize de-escalation and alternatives to arrest or summons. (Recommendation 2.2.1).



Alternative Ballistics has developed an innovative new firearm attachment that could give officers the ability to dampen their bullets and make them less lethal, potentially preventing unnecessary deaths during the apprehension of suspects.

The device, dubbed The Alternative, is a small plastic clip that can quickly be attached to the business end of an officer’s handgun. When the officer fires a bullet, it buries itself inside a metal ball, which detaches from the clip and is propelled forward at about one fifth of the bullet’s original velocity. Due to the secondary projectile’s larger surface area and lower speed, it can deliver a blow to a person without penetrating their body.

That’s not to say it doesn’t cause any damage. Speaking to CNN, Alternative Ballistics CEO Christian Ellis stressed that getting hit with The Alternative isn’t exactly a walk in the park. “It’s gonna feel like you had a professional baseball player hit you in the chest with a hammer,” he explained, “so it is going to hurt.” The thinking is that this should be enough to suppress a dangerous person, without putting holes in them.

If this non-lethal projectile isn’t enough to stop an assailant, however, the Alternative is designed to immediately give officers the ability to fire regular bullets again. Each clip is single-use and will completely detach from an officer’s firearm after the first shot.