Open Access Journal Article

The Value of Less-Lethal Weapons

by Johnathan Mun a,* orcid Seth McAnally a Jayden Mun a  and  Emma Mun a
Information Sciences Department, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
JEA  2024, 73; 3(3), 73;
Received: 15 August 2023 / Accepted: 8 September 2023 / Published Online: 15 September 2024


Less-Lethal Weapons, including electric Tasers, velocity-reduction bullet-capture projectiles, rubber bullets, beanbag rounds, and other less-lethal projectiles used in police departments, federal and local law enforcement agencies, and military policing operations, as well as for private use, are topics of significant debate in recent years. These weapons can reduce collateral damage, reputational risk, and legal exposure while preventing wrongful and unnecessary deaths caused by conventional bullet wounds. Yet, opponents have highlighted concerns regarding the safety and effectiveness of these weapons, as well as their potential to cause injury or even death. While the primary duty of law enforcement officials is to preserve order and execute the law while protecting individual rights, they ultimately achieve these goals by exercising their coercive authority. Society expects police officers to rely on their professional training and judgment when using physical force to defend citizens and themselves or to apprehend criminal suspects. Because police officers must occasionally participate in physical acts of coercion, it is unavoidable that some of these interactions may result in bodily injuries to individuals, including the officers themselves. These injuries have real costs, such as medical treatment, lost wages, municipal liability, court claims and settlements, riots, and legal or even criminal exposure, as well as less-tangible collateral costs, such as the erosion of police legitimacy and public trust, which are more difficult to quantify but arguably more influential in shaping long-term public perceptions than personal injuries alone. Less lethal technology eliminates some of the concerns raised by lethal weaponry. This study reviews the advantages and disadvantages of these less-lethal weapon technologies versus traditional firearms for use by the police force, federal agencies, and military police while also performing advanced analytics to model the valuation and return on investment for a law enforcement organization implementing such technologies.

Copyright: © 2024 by Mun, McAnally, Mun and Mun. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

Share and Cite

ACS Style
Mun, J.; McAnally, S.; Mun, J.; Mun, E. The Value of Less-Lethal Weapons. Journal of Economic Analysis, 2024, 3, 73.
AMA Style
Mun J, McAnally S, Mun J, Mun E. The Value of Less-Lethal Weapons. Journal of Economic Analysis; 2024, 3(3):73.
Chicago/Turabian Style
Mun, Johnathan; McAnally, Seth; Mun, Jayden; Mun, Emma 2024. "The Value of Less-Lethal Weapons" Journal of Economic Analysis 3, no.3:73.
APA style
Mun, J., McAnally, S., Mun, J., & Mun, E. (2024). The Value of Less-Lethal Weapons. Journal of Economic Analysis, 3(3), 73.

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics


  1. ACLU Massachusetts (2015). LESS LETHAL FORCE: Proposed Standards for Massachusetts Law Enforcement Agencies.
  2. Alternative Ballistics (2023). Alternative Ballistics Corporation. Available at
  3. Ammunition Depot (2023).
  4. Amnesty International (2014). USA: The State of the World’s Human Rights.
  5. Archbold, C. A. (2005). Managing the Bottom Line: Risk Management in Policing. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, 28(1), 30-48.
  6. Bostic, M. J. (1994). California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, and United States of America. New Law Enforcement Challenge: Limiting Use of Force to Solely Nonlethal Weapons.
  7. Bulman, P. (2011). Police Use of Force: The Impact of Less-Lethal Weapons and Tactics. National Institute of Justice, Research in Brief, 267, 1-10.
  8. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (2018). Pepper Spray Used by Police Raises Questions. Available at
  9. Cox, T. (2005). Less Lethal Weapons.
  10. Dempsey, J. X., and Forst, B. (2016). An Introduction to Policing. Cengage Learning.
  11. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) (2021). FBI Releases Statistics for Law Enforcement Officers Assaulted and Killed in the Line of Duty.
  12. Geis, G., and Binder, A. (1990). Non-Lethal Weapons: The Potential and the Pitfalls. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 6(1), 1-7.
  13. Grocholski, K. R., Savitz, S., Wong, J. P., Litterer, S., Khan, R., & Cooper, M. (2022). How To Effectively Assess the Impact of Non-lethal Weapons As Intermediate Force Capabilities. RAND Corporation. Violence Archive (2023). The gun violence archive.
  14. Hickman, M. J., Strote, J. N., Scales, R. M., Parkin, W. S., and Collins, P. A. (2021). Police Use of Force and Injury: Multilevel Predictors of Physical Harm to Subjects and Officers. Police Quarterly, 24(3), 267-297.
  15. Hougland, S., Mesloh, C., and Henych, M. (2005). Use of Force, Civil Litigation, and the Taser: One Agency’s Experience. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, 74, 24.
  16. Jackson, B. (2015). Respect and Legitimacy: A two-way street; strengthening trust between police and the public in an era of increasing transparency. RAND Corporation.
  17. Kaminski, R. J., Edwards, T. J., Johnson, M., and Bock, B. (2009). The effect of a Conducted Energy Weapon on Human Skeletal Muscle Tissue. The Journal of Forensic Sciences, 54(4), 888-892.
  18. Kjellman, T. R. (2016). Less Lethal Weapons: An Effectiveness Analysis.
  19. Mapping Police Violence (2023). Mapping Police Violence. Available at
  20. National Police Funding Database, Thurgood Marshall Institute.
  21. Peeples, Lynne. (2019). What the Data Say About Police Shootings. Nature, 573 (7772), 24-26.
  22. Riehl, J. T., Peltzer, J. T., and Edwards, J. D. (2014). PERF’s Use of Force Project: Final Report. Police Executive Research Forum.
  23. Sheppard, K. G., and Welsh, B. C. (2022). Can Police Use of Less-Than-Lethal Weapons Reduce Harm During Violent Police-Citizen Encounters? A Systematic Review and Directions for Future Research. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 64,101748.
  24. Statista (2020). The Number of Nonfederal Police Officers Arrested for Murder Who Have Been Convicted Between 2005 and 2020 by Charge. Available at
  25. Stinson, P. M. (2020). Criminology Explains Police Violence. University of California Press.
  26. Sydor Technologies (2022). Analysis of Results from Testing at Wayne State University (Proprietary).
  27. Terrill, W., & Paoline, E. A. (2017). Police Use of Less Lethal Force: Does Administrative Policy Matter? Justice Quarterly, 34(2), 193–216.