Let’s get this out of the way first. Although the headline at marketwatch.com proclaims Killer Market: Growing Demand for Non-Lethal Ammunition, the correct term is less lethal ammunition. None of the companies selling so-called “blunt impact projectiles” use the N-word, or suggest that firing one (or more) of their rounds at a human is guaranteed to be non-lethal. (Lest we forget, beanbags can kill.) But the less-lethal industry is saying that their ammo is handier than a TASER and less politically messy than firing actual bullets at actual people. Yeah, that political thing. That’s key . . .
The non-lethal weapons market is expected to grow from $5.2 billion in 2014 to $7.2 billion by 2020, according to Markets and Markets, driven by the rise in protests in emerging markets and a string of high-profile police shootings in developed markets like the United States.
The Associated Press reports that more than 20 North American cities are testing new less-lethal alternatives to bullets – called “blunt impact projectiles” – that cause excruciating pain without killing the target. For example, Security Devices International Inc. SDEV, -1.52% a defense technology company, hired Micron Products Inc. to make rubber-bullet alternatives with silicone heads that expand and flatten upon impact.
According to the report, sixteen law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and six in Canada have purchased the projectiles, including SWAT units in Los Angeles and the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department. The agencies see the new ammunition as a way to bridge the gap between TASER International Inc.’s TASR, -0.50% devices and their service weapons as a way to bring down targets without risking major injury and the ensuing legal implications.
Good luck with that whole “wait, which ammo am I firing?” challenge. The idea that less lethal ammunition somehow protects the police from excessive force lawsuits (if not wrongful death lawsuits) is also on shaky ground. Still, we’re talking investments here! Less lethal weapons don’t have to be perfect, just profitable. Besides the less lethal firearms industry knows a place where those concerns are not such a concern . . .
[Lamperd Less Lethal Inc.] has spent a lot of time drumming up interest in the launchers and its other products at international security trade shows and other events. Through these venues, the company has seen a lot of interest among large governmental customers, including several in the Middle East. Landing just one of these multi-million dollar contracts could make a big impact on the stock that trades with a market cap of less than $5 million.
In the end, non-lethal weapons and ammunition continue to grow in popularity as governments look to control protests and law enforcement looks to avoid unintentional deaths and the legal implications that follow. Companies like Lamperd Less Lethal are uniquely positioned to capitalize on both of these opportunities with their crowd control launchers and non-lethal ammunition that could create recurring revenue opportunities.