Why the U.S. Marines Want a Very Special Bullet (A “Taser” Bullet, to Be Exact)

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May 21, 2019 | Originally published by Date Line: May 21 on

Taser bullets aren’t exactly a new concept–a bullet that zaps you with an electric jolt like a Taser.

That’s what the U.S. Marine Corps wants as a non-lethal munition that can be fired from a regular small arm. The U.S. military has been trying to develop a Taser-like bullet for 12 years but has yet to succeed. This time, the Marines hope to get it right.

The U.S. military already uses regular X-26 Tasers, pistol-like devices that fire two wired electrode darts that transmit a jolt to incapacitate a target. But not surprising for a device designed for civilian police forces, the wires limit an accurate shot to less than 25 feet, and the target is disabled for only about 5 seconds.

That’s good enough for a cop to subdue a criminal, but not for soldiers on a battlefield.

The Marines want a wireless human electro-muscular incapacitation (HEMI) round with a range of at least 100 meters (328 feet) that can incapacitate a target for a minimum of 30 seconds, and ideally more than 3 minutes. It must be able to penetrate materials, such as cloth and leather, and attach to the human body.

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