Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Flexible baton round
The flexible baton round is the trademarked name for a type of non-lethal kinetic projectile; it is more widely known as a beanbag round. It is typically fired from a shotgun, and is used by civil and military forces, mainly in the United States.
The shotgun type round consists of a strong nylon fabric bag filled with around 40 grams of lead shot. This bag is then fitted within a standard 12-gauge shotgun shell. When fired, the bag is expelled at around 70-90 meters/second; it spreads out in flight and distributes its impact over about 6 centimeters² of the target. It is designed to deliver a blow that will cause minimum long-term trauma and no penetration but briefly render the target prone and immobile. The shotgun round is inaccurate over about 6 meters, has a maximum range of around 20 meters, and is unsafe to use below 3 meters.
The weapon was developed and first used in 1970. The first US fatality was in 1971; there has been around a death a year since then in the US. The round should only be fired at a target's extremities, since strikes to the chest or head can be lethal.
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