Just in time for the continued post Michael Brown second guessing extravaganza, San Diego-based Alternative Ballistics is out with the latest iteration of something they’ve apparently been working on for a while, a “less lethal” option for beat cops. They call it, oddly enough, The Alternative. It’s a two-piece agglomeration consisting of a “docking station” that – get this – fits over the muzzle of an officer’s standard duty gun, and a ping pong ball-sized projectile. The idea is that an officer who decides he might be able to de-fuse a situation without ventilating a suspect can slip the docking station over the end of his GLOCK along with an orange ball. Anyone see a problem yet? . . .
That orange orb is designed to encapsulate the live round fired from the gun, turning it, in effect, into a big rubber bullet. As Alternative Ballistics describes it,
Once THE ALTERNATIVE™ is fired; the bullet welds itself inside the projectile, simultaneously transferring its kinetic energy propelling it at the target. Once the bullet is fired from the gun into the projectile they permanently become one unit.
A kinetic knock-out punch, as it were. The docking station flies off with the shot, leaving the gun ready for real live follow-up shots if necessary.
Never mind the time it may take for an officer to pull this contraption from his belt and jam it on the end of his pistol. And for the sake of argument, let’s assume 100% reliability in the encapsulation process, so the dood the cop is trying to stop always ends up with a bad bruise rather than shredded internal organs.
But in the heat of a tense situation, while the cop is trying to keep an eye on the guy who’s holding the knife, club…whatever and just may charge him at any minute, attempting to quickly slip this thing over the muzzle of his live M&P is more than a little problematic. Consider for a moment: Officer Friendly has his right index digit on or near the trigger while he’s jamming something over the business end of his heater with his support hand. As I gaze into my crystal ball, I see misty visions of newly-relegated administrative officers slowly hunting and pecking out shift reports on their keyboards with their one good hand.
But maybe that’s just me. And maybe the backup cop who’s just arrived on the scene and is outside the door won’t take the BANG of a live round being fired (as opposed to, say, a TASER’s soft electronic tick-ticking) as an indication that his fellow officer is in mortal danger and engaged in a gun fight in the next room. Sure, that could work.