U.S. Army Buys PepperBall guns for Non-Lethal Protection

Matthew Moss
by Matthew Moss
PepperBall’s VKS launhcer carbine (PepperBall)

PepperBall has announced that they have won a substantial contract to equip the US Army with their non-lethal Variable Kinetic System launcher. The contract is worth $650,000 and the PepperBall VKS is destined to equip troops in Afghanistan.

The PepperBall VKS uses pressurized CO2 or Nitrogen to fire a VXR projectile containing PepperBall’s proprietary powder irritant. The VKS has a dual feed and can feed from either a box magazine or a paintball-style hopper. The launcher has AR-15/M4-style controls and has an effective range of up to 50 yards.

Here’s PepperBall’s press release about the contract:

The United States Army recently announced that PepperBall has been awarded a $650,000 contract for its Variable Kinetic System (VKS) non-lethal launcher to support soldiers with non-lethal force protection measures when out in the field. This decision is in support of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A) Joint Force Protection Directorate.

The U.S.-made VKS has the same look, feel and fire control system as an AR-15/M-4 Carbine. It has been tested and recommended by members of the National Tactical Officers Association.

“We are truly honored the U.S. Army has selected PepperBall’s VKS to use as it’s non-lethal protection in its mission to defending the United States,” said Ron Johnson, CEO of United Tactical Systems. “Our VKS platform was the only non-lethal source that was capable of complying to the U.S. Army’s standards.”

The launcher offers a Dual Feed System, where a user can quickly switch between “Hopper Mode” and “Magazine Mode” during an operation for optimum versatility. A hopper has a capacity of 180 rounds, while a magazine can be loaded with either 10 or 15 rounds.

PepperBall’s VXR projectiles are compatible for the VKS launcher for high-intensity/crowd control operations. The projectiles can be effective out to 150 feet/50 yards, which is equivalent to half the distance of a football field.

PepperBall projectiles are filled with a proprietary irritant that burst upon impact, producing a strong kinetic impact and leaving a debilitating cloud that affects the eyes, nose and respiratory system.

We took a look at PepperBall’s products including the VKS at SHOT 2018, check that out here.

Press Release Source

Matthew Moss
Matthew Moss

Managing Editor: TheFirearmBlog.com & Overt Defense.com. Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written several books and for a variety of publications in both the US and UK. Matt is also runs The Armourer's Bench, a video series on historically significant small arms. Here on TFB he covers product and current military small arms news. Reach Matt at: matt@thefirearmblog.com

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  • Fred Weller Fred Weller on Jun 21, 2018

    I'm sure our adversaries world-wide are scrambling to close this arms-gap!
    Less-Than-Lethal is the biggest thing in the 21st Century! Until, real fighting starts. Then they just laugh before smoking us.
    "Cool rifle, bro. But do you even shoot?"

  • Adverse5 Adverse5 on Jul 14, 2018

    I am so glad that I was in the Military in the 60's rather than be part of it now. But, in the 60's under LBJ, what used to be the US Military became a source for low paid mercenaries to other countries. It still is.