Less lethal

I’m just very curious. I read somewhere about non-lethal bullets. Is that the same as rubber bullets? And if so, would that be a good non-lethal choice?
As I said, I’m just very curious.



Welcome to the community Roger147.

I have never heard of a case involving self defence with rubber bullets/bean bags by a civilian. You would be on a new legal terrain with this, which is pretty risky.
Also rubber bullets can and do kill and maim.


What you have to keep in mind is that pulling a gun and shooting it is a self- defense measure that should only done IF you are in fear for your life.


Welcome to the Community @Roger147.


You’ll have to be more specific about what you read.

A good less-lethal choice for what?

If you want something that is definitively not lethal force, to use in situations where force/ordinary force is justified but lethal force is not, you probably don’t want any form of a firearm no matter the projectile(s)

(I am also not a fan of byrna or anything else that looks and acts like a firearm but isn’t, nor a fan of anything that relies on pain compliance)

I would take a long hard look at pepper spray

(I am not a lawyer and this is definitely not any form of legal advice)


To piggy-back on @Nathan57, there’s a reason the term “non-lethal” has fallen out of favor. People have died from TASERs, pepper spray, batons, rocks, hockey pucks, etc.

I think non-lethal (oops, I mean “less lethal”) has a place, but you have to be prepared for them to fail. Just like real bullets, right? That’s why we carry full magazines.

@Roger147 you’re asking interesting questions. The less lethal rounds I’ve used often require some sort of modification to the firearm, like a different barrel. The exception is when I’ve used less lethal rounds in shotguns, which can basically shoot anything.


Here’s a thought for you to consider, being as you’ve mentioned it upon this thread: “malice aforethought.”


Thank you everyone for your input. I was just curious. Seems to me that real bullets are truly the way to go. I’ll just hope and pray I’ll never have to use them for self-defense. I’ll hope and pray the same for all of you as well.

Merry Christmas everyone.



Using your firearm is always a last measure. Pulling a firearm means that there are no non-lethal options remaining, or that the assessed threat level is too high for a non-lethal option. Let’s say, the first couple rounds are less-lethal rounds. By the time you have decided that lethal force is your only remaining/only option, you have to expend those less-lethal cartridges before you are able to respond accordingly.


I’d like to add on that rubber bullets may cause a malfunction, compared to traditional bullets.


Hello and welcome @Roger147


Welcome to the Community @Roger147

In self defense situations we don’t use “non-lethal” option other than avoidance, retreat, escape.
Everything else is “less-lethal” or “less than lethal”. These would be - “OC Sprays” and “ERDs” (Electronic Restraint Devices).
Rubber bullets, batons, clubs, bottles, rocks, knives and any impact items will be treated as “lethal”.

It always sounds weird… but the same is when we speak about “warning shots”.
You are either in imminent danger of death or bodily harm, or not.


It gets tricky.

Those less lethal things are generally not lethal force. Pepper spray for example is a far lower level of force than a firearm, because it’s not lethal force. It’s not intended to or likely to cause serious bodily harm or death.

I do not yet know of a single instance of defensive pepper spray killing somebody. The only “pepper spray death” I was ever made aware of was cops or CO’s hog tying somebody with a known breathing condition on their chest after pepper spraying them and then leaving them like that…hardly the pepper spray that caused that IMO

*I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, check your local listings


My oh my do you see the comment section on that video?

“Well not all of us want to kill somebody”

“3 rubber bullets should be enough to stop a knife attacker.”

“You are making this too complicated…… some of us don’t want to kill anyone…… even a knife attacker…… we just want to stop them”

“I’d rather give my attacker the chance to run and live, then automatically taking his life”

“Sorry I feel that after 2 rounds of rubber bullets, the attacker could come to his senses and stop the attack, and run for his life. Remember on a bad day, there are instances when everyone, -judge, jury, prosecutor, lawyer, politician, media -will take the sides of the criminal“

“Deadly force is not always the answer especially if you can stop the person with pain”


Laughable on a few levels! First, no one wants to kill someone. If it happens, it’s because we have no other option. Second, I’m not betting my life on “Should be”. Third, what if he takes your life with the knife? Fourth, clearly these people have never seen a meth head in action…


Nerf bullets, so they won’t hurt the knife wielding murderers feelings​:roll_eyes::grin:


Members of the Shoot’em-in-the-Leg Society. :crazy_face:


In some states, I’m sure that qualifies for a civil case and an assault charge…


Member of the Accidental Center Mass Club, due to muscle memory* :rofl:


I will admit that for 90% of the people who aren’t high on drugs, a few simunition rounds will make them re-evaluate their life choices, and the threat of more will probably cause them to withdraw. Plus, they’ll be painted in pretty colors for the police to identify, later.

But for those 10% who refuse to back down, or those who are high and can’t feel the pain, you’re just going to piss them off. It’d be like shooting a bear with a 22LR.

That’s the problem with less lethal rounds.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of less lethal, but you have to have a backup plan in case it goes sideways. If someone invented a concealed firearm that could quickly and easily switch between the two, I’d buy one. I’m not aware that this exists, though.