SmartRounds: Non-lethal Smart Projectiles

Smart Rounds Technologies has designed non-lethal, non-impact smart shotgun projectiles called SmartRounds. These rounds are capable of detecting the proximity to the target and deploy the non-lethal payload right before the impact.

SmartRounds Technology (1)

The SmartRounds projectiles have two microchip sensors controlling their performance. One of the sensors is an acceleration sensor and is located at the tail of the projectile. It detects the acceleration of the round being fired and triggers the mechanism of the projectile. The second one is a CMOS image sensor located in the nose of the round. It detects the distance to the target and detonates the payload right before an impact could happen.

The SmartRounds have two versions: ShockRound and PepperRound. ShockRound has a payload of flash-bang and nitrogen gas. The PepperRound produces a flash-bang and pepper spray cloud near the target. Here is a video presentation of this technology:

The manufacturer claims that SmartRounds are truly a non-lethal solution. Unlike less-lethal projectiles, these never impact the target thus eliminating any lethal damage possibility. The rounds are designed to be fired from any 12 gauge shotgun. I assume they mean cylinder bore shotguns (no chokes). The SmartRounds have a muzzle velocity of 450 fps and maximum range of 100 meters. SmartRounds Technologies have all the patents for their designs and are raising funds through an IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign to start manufacturing the SmartRounds.

It would be interesting to know if the round explodes even if it is about to miss the target like some anti-aircraft projectiles do. Imagine if the shooter has missed the target by an inch or so …will the “smart round” understand that? Also, it is not clear what will happen if the round hasn’t reached or missed the target and landed somewhere. Will it self-destruct or will it remain unexploded? In both cases, it can be dangerous for others, especially in an urban environment.



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Hrachya H

Being a lifelong firearms enthusiast, Hrachya always enjoys studying design, technology and history of guns and ammunition. His knowledge of Russian allows him to translate and make Russian/Soviet/Combloc small arms related information available for the English speaking audience.
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  • Tim Pearce

    “Non-lethal,” unless the system fails and it impacts the target, anyway. Could be even worse if it impacts, and then explodes in/against the target.

    • Alex Waits

      These look incredibly light, with a large frontal surface area, traveling at 450 FPS..I doubt they would have the energy to pierce cloths/skin

      • Nathan Alred

        That’s 50% FASTER than a 12-gauge beanbag round, and made of rigid material as opposed to a shot-filled sack. Even beanbags will occasionally break the skin. And hard plastic over the optical sensor.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    “…these never impact….”

    Until they do…

    • Blake

      Except unless it malfunctions it can’t. The blast from the payload dispersion would probably even throw the shell backwards quite a bit. I want to pick a bunch up and see just how consistent they are at actually detonating.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Anything mechanical/electronic will malfunction at some point.
        But more power to them. Its an interesting idea.

        What would be more interesting is an airburst shell that can be programmed to detonate at a certain distance.

        • noob

          $200 tax stamp per destructive device? seems like a fair price for OICW capability in a semi auto shotgun.

          if it has high explosive payload with a prefragmented jacket, it could come out of the shotgun at 1,000fps, and then the detonation would fling the shrapnel out at >13,000 in all directions. This would let you kill targets behind hard cover, or be the absolute king of clay shooting.

  • John A. Smith

    Less lethal.

  • J.T.

    I don’t see how it would be possible to prevent every part of the round from impacting the target. Something will hit them, even if it is just the nose piece with the CMOS sensor.

    • Jim Slade

      I want to see the condition of a paper shotgun target after one of these detonates “milliseconds before impact” rather than a cartoon.

  • Alex Waits

    I’m not “in the know” but it seems that “less lethal” rounds are most effective when volume/rate of fire is high. So cost is a factor and these look expensive.
    And if these “explode” before hitting the target, one might be able to defeat the projectiles with a simple cardboard shield.

  • Kirk Newsted

    I’m not buying that the shock round has enough nitrogen gas to knock you down.

  • Jim Slade

    The fella’ in the video in the Kevlar helmet fighting baclava-jihadi dude sure looked like he would have benefited more from an M-4 full of M855/A1 rather than the firecracker launcher, and the “Lethal as F” flavor work an awful lot better in the home defense environment, so i’m assuming the gas and flash/bang are really meant to be sold to and used by LE….so, how is this an improvement over the “Billy-Club-In-A-Can” systems they already have?

    • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

      I agree that very few non LE people will have any interest at all. And with that assumption being made, I would find it hard to justify IndieGoGo as a suitable way to finance and market this.

  • Interesting concept, but I have a strong concern over their claimed “non-lethal” product. According to the video (0:37) these projectiles deploy “milliseconds” before impacting the target. At 450 fps, one millisecond prior to impact still places the projectile within one foot of the target. Understanding the speed will drop off at greater distances, this still does not bode well for their claimed effectiveness.

    Like others have said, where do they expect the tip of the cartridge to go upon deployment? Forward would be the most likely case, and at less than one foot away this presents a serious injury concern if it strikes a person’s face or neck.

    The “flash bang” projectile is advertised as knocking out the target. Presumably they’re using flash powder to achieve this stunning effect, but flash powder burns at incredibly hot temperatures (for short duration). This presents serious burn considerations for skin or even clothing. If the projectile is deploying “milliseconds” before impact the pepper spray will likely not have enough time to disperse in the cloud as advertised, and will more likely hit the person in a concentrated stream. A powdered OC would still have a small dispersion area at such a close deployment distance, and be less effective.

  • John E Davies

    I can see these being very valuable as the first round in a bear defense gun, for use as a deterrent when the bear is still a long way away. A flashbang going off several feet from his face might make a brown bear rethink his approach. I would be sure to have slugs next in line tho… I would like to see a version designed to be fired from standard flare guns, if they could give it at least a 50 yard range. I sure would not like to be in an enclosed space with one like in the video! JD

    • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

      I like the flare gun idea

  • Rick O’Shay

    I’d like to see a IRL demonstration of this rather than just a CGI/video game video of how it’s supposed to work.

  • GD Ajax

    It’ll die like the other less lethal ammo projects. The American gun lobby despises any real innovation and the rest of the world will just buy from somebody else. I.e. the system used by FN.

  • Dukeblue91

    They can’t be cheap.
    Would be cool to have flashbang rounds.

  • JumpIf NotZero

    There is a GREAT REASON you didn’t see a video of this working and instead were only shown 3D animations…

    • Kent

      This reminds me of the triton gill, yet another indiegogo scam. This does a good job of explanation:

      OFC, this one might actually be theoretically possible, but I would bet a large amount of money that we will never see these sold, no matter how much they fleece the gullible public for.

  • JumpIf NotZero

    Is no one going to point out that CMOS image sensors don’t detect “depth”?

    • Blake

      Doesn’t really need to. Depending on the sensor they chose, it would be enough to just sense when the view of the sensor reaches the point where it is only filled by the target. Massive shift in pixel color and density.

      • JumpIf NotZero

        So you are saying it doesn’t work at night then. Or when fired at a black wall, etc etc.

        This is stupid. The right way to do it would be pushing out IR or radio and receiving bounce. You know, like EVERY OTHER depth sensing technology uses.

        • Blake

          Yeah except, you know, all other depth sensing tech doesn’t fit inside a shotgun shell. Plus CMOS sensors do a ton of computing themselves, saving a ton of potentially external processing power and being considerably faster than alternatives. Plus, CMOS uses a rolling shutter – which I imagine could be put to good use for rapidly changing depth sensing in this application (which is funny because in most camera situations it’s a negative aspect).

          I guarantee these people didn’t build this thing with a CMOS sensor in mind. I’m sure they had the idea, and researched and tested their way into finding out that CMOS was the best option. They’re cheap, great at low-light imaging, incredibly robust, and insanely fast.

    • noob

      I guess Google Project Soli mini-radars are not yet available.

      ha I wonder if one day we will essentially be throwing explosive mobile phones at our enemies, which have quadcopter propellers and an app that lets them hunt down the correct target and then detonate the main power cell.

      • Blake

        The US military already uses kamakazi/bomb drones. I mean technically a cruise missile fits that description, but they have man operated drones that fly up and crash down and explode. Used in Afghanistan I believe.

  • Justin

    Let me get this straight, we have a company using public crowd funding for a product that likely will be unavailable to non-government individuals. That’s not even considering the validation of their marketing claims which I somewhat doubt it will work completely as advertised.

    Yep let me get out my wallet…. not.

    • VanDiemensLand

      Um yeah wtf? What is the incentive to fund this?

  • Dougscamo

    Regardless the field of human endeavor….someone’s going to figure out a way to die (or kill) doing it…

  • Rem870

    Another company trying to penetrate a crowded market. We already have a popular non-lethal round in the 9mm luger

    • noob

      oh snapcap!

    • lannd

      Germans were way ahead of the curve!

    • iksnilol

      I dunno man, your grandpappy would’a done disagreed if he survived WW2.


  • Anonymoose

    If it costs more than $2 per round I don’t see many of these getting sold.

  • MPWS

    This is phenomenal; it will make killing obsolete. If widely implemented it will alter nature of conflict and its mental/ emotional impact on participants. After all is done, they will find that “problem is solved” and can shake their hands and go home.

  • pakan

    What we need is an iphone launcher, which launches an iphone at the assailant, who is surprised at getting shot with an iphone, they then proceed to pick it up, allowing one to escape.
    Another invention is the a ‘cash shell’, this is a shell with 1 dollar bills in it, when fired at an assailant it stuns him with an explosion of flying dollar bills, surprised they begin to grasp for these bills, allowing one to escape.

    • noob

      Use a Galaxy S7. They have an incendiary effect.

    • Dan

      I’ll use the cash shell at the gentlemans club and let you know how it works

    • iksnilol

      Can… can we have a brick launcher? Like, launches an ancient Nokia telephone in the face of somebody.

  • noob

    cleaning the barrel would be fun.

  • robert57Q

    Because, God knows, we have to find some outrageously expensive way to be kinder and gentler to rampaging rioters.

    • Concerned Mother

      Less-than-lethal munitions are used in more circumstances than just riots, sometimes a subject needs to be stopped that doesn’t necessarily need to be killed or maimed.

  • Nathan Alred

    Coumadin (a really strong anticoagulant) buffer granules around buckshot.

    • Jake