popsci.com reports that Lund Technologies has made the jump from the Tickle Me Elmo doll to the Lund Variable Velocity Weapons System (LVVWS). In other words, a rifle that varies the velocity of the projectile. Why bother? To create a rifle that can fire less-lethal rounds with less, uh, lethality. “Most rounds being billed as non-lethal – like rubber bullets for instance – are actually quite fatal at close range,” posci explains. “Too keep less-lethal intentions from turning into lethal actions, the LVVWS is equipped with a range finder that locates the target and calculates distance; if the shooter is working in less-lethal mode, the rifle ratchets down the muzzle velocity of the round, maintaining its less-lethal status even in close quarters.” And then Posci poops the party . . .
Gunpowder is a time-tested portable, combustible that, if kept dry, has reliably served infantrymen for centuries; we’re not so sure the same can be said for compressed gas cartridges. But more importantly, while range is usually a big factor when less-lethal rounds turn deadly, it’s certainly not the only one. The mass of the target, the placement of the shot and the physical condition of the target invite more variables into the equation that the LVVWS can’t address.