A member of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) trains with the ARWEN 37, similar to most modern semi-auto tear gas guns that can be used to quell violent protests.

A member of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) trains with the ARWEN 37, similar to most modern semi-auto tear gas guns that can be used to quell violent protests.
Photo Credit: CBC

Canadian company: New style of “non-lethal” ammo for police


With several cases of police shooting and killing people allegedly involved in criminal situations or having threatening psychiatric problems, the electronic stun gun was seen as a good non-lethal alternative. Another non-lethal alternative, especially in crowd control situations was the bean-bag gun, along with tear gas and pepper spray.

These and other non-lethal alternatives however have limitations. Tear gas is indiscriminate, and pepper spray cans can only be used at very close range. The bean bag gun is not accurate and can cause severe damage and even kill if it hits someone in the head, while range of the stun gun is limited and effects on individuals vary from little effect, to allegedly resulting in death.

Police in Canada are now stocking up on a new alternative under the generic name of “blunt impact projectiles” or BIP.

Cutaway showing the styrofoam cap over a thick gel. As the
Cutaway showing the styrofoam cap over a thick gel. As the “bullet” strikes a person the cap breaks apart as the gel flattens and expands to create a larger impact surface. Simultaneously the central piston is pushed back against the expanding cone to further reduce energy and limit possible penetration. © Tactical Response Magazine

The new large calibre projectiles (40mm)- basically large silicon bullets- are fired from tear-gas guns. Upon impact the bullets crush, thus not penetrating but causing a great deal of pain, similar perhaps to receiving a really strong punch with a closed fist.

Another way of putting it is to imagine you were struck by a large unripe plum travelling over 300 kph..

An example of the
An example of the “bullet” removed from the shell. Left, intact, right flattened after hitting an object. © Tactical Response Magazine

Gregory Sullivan is president and CEO of Security Devices Intarnational, a Canadian company which markets a number of BIP products.

Quoted in the National Post newspaper he says, “You’re causing more pain, but you’re not getting that depth and penetration that causes injury.”

He says the variety of their BIP products provide police with non-lethal alternatives in dealing with unruly crowds or individuals, or people in threatening  emotional or psychiatric situations. The advantage of the BIP is range from about 3 to 70 metres, and especially accuracy, whereby officers training with the projectile say they can hit where they aim,

SDI markets a number of variations on its BIP range including bullets that in addition to the non-lethal impact can also mark suspects with invisible DNA markeral, visible paint, horrible smells and others.
SDI markets a number of variations on its BIP range including bullets that in addition to the non-lethal impact can also mark suspects with invisible DNA markeral, visible paint, horrible smells and others. © SDI

Police in several major Canadian cities have been buying the BIP products, including Montreal, Toronto, Regina, and Saskatoon.  Corrections Canada has also been stocking up for use in prisons and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has also purchased quantities for emergency response teams.

The several shooting deaths in recent years by police in the US and in Canada has meant a greater interest in such alternatives.

SDI says several US police forces have placed orders for their products with more expressing interest.

With files from National Post, Associated Press, Tactical Response

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3 comments on “Canadian company: New style of “non-lethal” ammo for police
  1. Avatar James Vandenblink says:

    Let’s quickly export it to the U.S. and save some lives there!

  2. Avatar neil corney says:

    Can anyone really imagine being hit by a large unripe plum travelling over 300 kph?!
    Oris that some secret Canadian sport we haven’t heard about?

    • Marc Montgomery Marc Montgomery says:

      Hi Neil. You could imagine a really hard punch, but also I used the plum analogy as the size and weight of the projectile is roughly equivalent to a large plum and the crush factor also similar to a hard plum. The velocity of the projectile is over 300 kph. I can imagine either would hurt ..a lot, but not penetrate and probably not cause permanent injury.