Even the most non-lethal weapons can still inflict devastating damage, especially when aimed where people are most vulnerable. One weapons manufacturer has taken this into account and outfitted one of its latest models with some interesting technology.
FN Herstal’s new Smart ProtectoR 303-T is being positioned as a less-lethal option for use by law enforcement for crowd control, riots and day-to-day patrols when avoiding lethal force is crucial. It’s designed to be accurate enough to single out individuals and built to shoot projectiles that the company said break up on impact and deliver a “highly dissuasive impact similar to a baton strike.”
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Of course, a baton strike to the head is not a positive outcome for anyone and so Herstal has added an extra layer of safety to ensure against accidental headshots. The 303-T comes equipped with an on-board camera and image processing software that the company said is able to detect human heads in real time while blocking the trigger and issuing an alert if the weapon is pointed at one.
The weapon’s camera can also record images taken during firing, which the company said provides important material for use in after-action reviews or investigations. The battery lasts up to 12 hours depending on usage, but an external power pack can be added if needed.
In addition to functioning in the fields, the 303-T can also be used as a weapons training system. The company said the camera can record data like predicted point of impact and muzzle movement in order to provide metrics on shooter weaknesses.
It’s a smart solution that could help mitigate a serious problem. As the New York Times pointed out in a 2020 article, medical research that explored the use of non-lethal projectiles found that 15% of people hurt were permanently disabled and 3% of people hurt had later died.