Opinion: ‘Alternative Ballistics’ needs a marketing overhaul (VIDEOS)

“What’s a life worth?”  When I first logged on to the Alternative Ballistics website, that’s what I saw.  I figured it either meant the less lethal tool the company is trying to sell is REALLY expensive, or it’s completely anti-lethal. Or both.  Or maybe neither.  Either way, it peaked my interest and I wanted to take a closer look.

Alternative Ballistic is a polymer, “less lethal”, bright orange doohickey that slips over the slide of a pistol.  Aim, squeeze, BANG!  The bullet stops inside a ping pong-sized ball at the end of the muzzle and sends said ball sailing through the air.

Having less lethal options, like less lethal 12g shotgun rounds, 40mm munitions and tools like electromagnetic shocking systems (a.k.a. Tasers) are necessary in law enforcement. But where does this fit in?

What I don’t like

Considering all the interesting anti-police, anti-lethal force rhetoric lately this invention looks to me like an anti-violence tool.  And I am anti-violence.   As Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf  once said, any soldier worth his salt should be.

But I don’t think this invention is really an anti-violence tool, despite what it’s trying to suggest.  It is violent.  Hitting someone with a club or a collapsible baton (an ‘impact tool’ in law enforcement speak) is violent and essentially that’s what this and many “less lethal” doohickies do.

Shooting a person in the chest with impact munitions could make a person’s heart stop.  Shooting them in the face or the neck could kill them.  That’s why you aim elsewhere when using impact weapons.  And, that’s why it’s termed less lethal, rather than less-than-lethal, like it used to be called.

But back to violence…

Violence isn’t always bad, and violence isn’t always evil.  Sometimes violence is necessary to save your life.

I think this doublethink that you shouldn’t use violence to protect yourself from a lethal encounter is adequately summed up in one of Alternative Ballistics marketing statement’s found on their website:

“Stop a lethal threat without the destructive internal damage of a bullet while keeping our law enforcement officers safe.”

That doesn’t make any sense.  You should stop a lethal threat with great lethality!  Greater violence wins!  That’s what police departments teach because they know it’s the only way to stop and immediate threat.

Sure, it would be nice if we could wave wands and magical fairies would appear to stop evil people, but that’s not going to happen.  The truth of the matter is, no matter how it shocks the conscious, violence of action is necessary at times.

Suffice it to say, the whole mindset behind this invention has gotten a few police officers I know a little upset.

“What hippie invented this?” asked a co-worker of mine.  In my opinion, he has a good point. What’s the angle here?  According to a news report on the company’s website, the owner ran to Ferguson after the fiasco there and jumped on the anti-lethal bandwagon… even though the cop was cleared in that case.

The thing most people don’t get is that if there is time, less lethal options are good.  If there’s time AND another officer with a lethal option available less lethal options are a welcome tool in a law enforcement departments toolbox.  Which brings me to what I find interesting about the invention.

What I like

I like that the shooter can still see the sights after installing the less lethal tool on the slide.  It’s also designed in a way that the user can put the tool on without muzzling themselves (although some people will never learn).

I like the fact that the plastic less lethal tool comes apart and falls to the ground after it’s shot (hopefully it doesn’t stick on the weapon and cause malfunctions, even once).  I also really like that after the gun is shot once, the weapon cycles and reloads, becoming a lethal option.  Gotta have lethal back-up!

I really like that there are people out there willing to invent and risk a little opposing feedback.  It’s great to have inventors.  Certainly, whatever a humble writer like me says is not intended to stifle the production of lethal and less lethal technology.  Both of these tools are needed.

Conclusion

If the company is trying to swoon cops, I don’t think they’re going about it the right way.  Of course, cops are skeptical dudes, even stuck in the past sometimes (e.g. mustaches from the 70s.  Sheesh.  Shave already).

Even so, another cop buddy of mine blew his top when speaking about this company–when it comes to marketing this product and having it accepted by the law enforcement community that speaks loudly to me. I’m sure most cops view this outsider company as a “shoot bad guys in the leg”-type mentality rather than kill them and, with their training and experience, is never going to gain acceptance.

Now, if the Alternative Ballistics company is trying to sell their tactical less lethal tool to civilians, then they just may have a market since many civilians don’t know much about less lethal tools and may be skittish to violence.  In the end, people need to remember that this is still a lethal tool…it’s just a little less lethal.  And, time will tell whether or not it will make a dent or not (no pun intended).

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.

Safety warning: Jeffrey Denning is a long time professional in the art of self-defense and any training methods or information he describes in his articles are intended to be put into practice only by serious shooters with proper training.  Please read, but do not attempt anything posted here without first seeking out proper training.