It is not uncommon to hear of a citizen being killed by a police officer. More often than not, the lethal force the officer employed is considered justified, but is that good enough? What if there was another device that the officer could have used to subdue the subject that would not have killed them? Many departments issue chemical sprays, Taser weapons, batons, and a number of other less lethal devices to do just that, yet there are still shootings involving police that appear to be a result of the officer not having enough choices available. Because of this, the search for better tools is ongoing, but not all results are good for the officer, or the person on the receiving end.
One of the new options on the market that appears good at first, but in my opinion falls short under the microscope is The Alternative by Alternative Ballistics. Marketed as a “less lethal” device, The Alternative is plastic box that is placed over a live weapon with a large, brightly colored ball at the muzzle’s end.
The idea is that, when the officer places the device on the service weapon and fires a live round, the round will be trapped inside the ball, which will go down range and strike the subject with a projectile similar to a bean bag round or rubber bullet. Alternative Ballistics claims that the device is best used when lethal force is justified, but the officer wants to mitigate the chance of the subject being killed. This is, on one hand, a good idea. If an officer confronted with a violent person can keep from killing a subject and avoid calls of brutality, what’s not to be happy about?
However, I see a few potential problems with this device. It is supposed to dislodge from the weapon’s slide once the gun is fired, but attaching anything to the slide of a gun has the real potential to lead to a malfunction. If a malfunction were to occur, the officer now has his only means of lethal force taken out of the fight. Additionally, if lethal force is justified, an officer is likely to be under stress and trying to move quickly. If the device is not properly placed, it will not function as intended and the officer will have, at best, wasted time and still have shot a subject with a potentially lethal round. Worse, case, the officer will waste time placing the device and miss the target because the bullet is deflected by the device.
It is possible that this tool is headed in the right direction for less lethal options, but it is also possible that this is not the right tool for the job. When all the chips are down and one millisecond is all of the time in the world, The Alternative seems to fall short of the goal of providing officer safety and a less lethal response. I would like to see this company refine the idea and perhaps, provide a few more options of employment for the device. Perhaps then, it will be a true alternative.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.