Sept. 7, 2018 —
The United Stated Transportation Command hosted their fifth Non-lethal Weapons Familiarization event Aug. 30, 2018, at the Illinois National Guard Training Area in Sparta, Illinois.
Representatives from the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, conducted familiarizations for 45 shooters from the local police department, local Sheriff's department, 126th Air Refueling Wing, 375th Security Forces Squadron, and the 375th Logistics Readiness Squadron.
“The objective of the non-lethal weapons FAMFIRE event was to educate leadership, planners and forces regarding non-lethal weapons capabilities,” said Sloan Cox, USTRANSCOM joint non-lethal weapons program manager and Combatant Command non-lethal weapons liaison.
Representatives from companies, such as Safariland and PepperBall, demonstrated weapons and ammunitions. Once demonstrated, shooters were able to try out a variety of weaponry.
Participants fired from 12-gauge M870 shotguns, M203 40mm grenade launchers and FN303R compressed air launchers. These weapons are usually considered lethal but when the ammunition is interchanged with rubber bullets, bean bags, etc., they are used for crowd control or adherence.
They were also able to view a sting-ball grenade flash bang, TASER and a modular crowd control munitions demonstration.
“I went in knowing next to nothing about non-lethal practices and learned a lot in just a couple of hours,” said Senior Airman Luis-Jose Hernandez, 375th LRS special vehicle maintainer. “I enjoy shooting the weapons. They’re so good at what they’re designed to do.”
Non-lethal weapons provide warfighters with escalation-of-force options when lethal force is not the best first response. Non-lethal weapons are intended to have reversible effects on personnel and materiel.
“These types of munitions are an asset that could gain an aggressor’s compliance,” said Cox. “All personnel that would be in a position to utilize one of these weapons systems have been trained and certified by a certified trainer.”
The Department of Defense defines non-lethal weapons as "weapons, devices and munitions that are explicitly designed and primarily employed to incapacitate targeted personnel or materiel immediately, while minimizing fatalities, permanent injury to personnel and undesired damage to property in the target area or environment.”
“The event was a huge success, anytime you can get local police agencies mixed with local Air Force security forces together to focus on a common goal it is a win,” said Cox.