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The Evolution of Non-Lethal Enforcement Tools

Through the years, law enforcement from police officers all the way to the FBI have been searching for a non-lethal way to handle rioters, combative detainees, and cell extractions. See how the evolution of non-lethal modalities have changed and thankfully begun to evolve for both law enforcement and citizens.

Pepper Spray (OC)

In 1960, two researchers from the University of Georgia created a spray using oleoresin capsicum (OC) from chili peppers as the main ingredient. It caused burning, excessing tearing, temporary blindness, gagging, copious mucous flow, and restricted breathing. Their formula was turned into a dog repellent in 1963 and purchased by the U.S. Postal Service. In 1977, a Florida businessman started Luckey Police Products selling an OC spray named Cap-Stun intended to be used on humans. It became mainstream in 1989 when the FBI approved its use for their agents. Police departments around the country followed suit. OC dominates the less-lethal spray field for use on humans.

CN and CS

CN (chloroacetophenone) tear gas was originally developed in 1918 at the end of WWI. Although not used during that war, it was subsequently utilized by the military and law enforcement. A decade later in 1928 a more potent and less toxic tear gas – CS (2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile) – was synthesized at Middlebury College and named after its creators, Ben Corson and Roger Stoughton. The British Army first used CS in the late 1950s, and the U.S. Army and Marines followed suit in the early 1960s, replacing CN. CS is solid at room temperature, but when dissolved in an organic solvent, becomes usable as an aerosol. It is most often dispersed as an aerosol with pyrotechnic mixtures (“tear gas” grenades and canisters). CS tear gas is used as a crowd control agent today.

In the early 1960s, Pittsburgh physicist Alan Lee Litman designed a hand-held aerosol can that deployed CN and called it “Chemical Mace”. Law enforcement found Mace effective for crowd control and it gave officers a non-lethal way to protect themselves. Sales to the public started in the 1980s. Eventually Mace® and other companies turned away from CN and toward organic pepper sprays as the best available option for the next generation of non-lethal sprays.


Tasers and other electric control devices (ECD) such as stun guns represent a higher-level response option. In some jurisdictions the same conditions that support the use of a Taser support use of deadly force. Tasers require considerable training in their use and are for law enforcement only. They use electricity to cause loss of bodily control through shock. A completed electrical circuit is required to work effectively; both barbed wires must stay embedded in the subject’s skin. This contact can be lost or never achieved due to heavy clothing. An ongoing electrical current is needed to maintain effectiveness. Once the operator stops the electrical current the subject can once again continue violence. Repeated shocks may be required to ensure effectiveness. With this modality there are direct risks to the subject through the embedded barbs. Repeated electrical shock from ECDs has also been associated with long-term injury or death of subjects. Indirect risks include harm from loss of balance, falling, and through

involuntary movements.

Batons and other clubs are considered non-lethal measures but are highly likely to result in injury. Death has also been reported with their use. Like Tasers they constitute a higher level use of force response.

Reflex Protect Presidia Gel® and Reflex Remove

Reflex Protect addresses the longstanding limitations of traditional less-lethal options, such as pepper spray and tear gas, from a completely new perspective. The result is a superior defensive tool that is an innovative and novel solution.

Reflex Protect Presidia Gel offers a defense product with the unique combination of target specificity, high accuracy, rapid onset, complete incapacitation, non-aerosolizing and readily reversible. This collection of features has never before been available. Created for hospital and medical caregivers yet powerful enough for police use, Reflex Protect offers a best-in-class solution to less-lethal use of force for professionals and citizens.


Why Reflex Protect Tactical?

We are a safety preparedness company rewriting the rules about what’s possible with less-lethal defense. Reflex Protect® Tactical has taken a fresh look at active defense sprays and created an insanely effective and game changing defense spray and decontaminant that law enforcement is calling “a game changer.”

Our products are the fastest acting on the market and vetted by law enforcement. Certified training is also available.

Contact us today!


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