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37mm Pyrotechnic Launcher Rounds: Less Lethal, More Noise

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Some of the more dangerous improvised items in regular use by violent protestors are commercial fireworks — particularly Roman Candles and various exploding mortars. These devices have been fired at police stations and police officers and have been used to ignite various fires in attempts to burn buildings down. One incident involved multiple mortar rounds fired at a county prosecutor’s home. As I recall, it was a wood-frame home that could have been burned to the ground. And it got me thinking: Is there an additional way for civilians to disperse a violent group without having to resort to deadly force?

Ordnance Group Tac-D Pivot Underbarrel Launcher

In November 2018, I reviewed the Ordnance Group Tac-D Pivot Underbarrel Launcher. It is civilian-legal as long as non-impact “law-enforcement only” rounds are used. The Tac-D Pivot Expansion Pack was included with the sample Tac-D Pivot. This converted the launcher from an underbarrel to a free-standing 37mm with M4 stock and pistol grip. With its 6-inch barrel, the Tac-D Pivot is more easily maneuvered than a launcher with a 9- or 12-inch barrel, and the side-loading feature is very easy to operate.

After the fireworks attacks and riots began, I decided to remove the expansion pack and mount the Tac-D Pivot in its original underbarrel configuration on an M4 carbine. Now I have the ability to switch to a potentially lethal response if less-lethal action fails. But what 37mm rounds could I use? For that I turned to Exotic Ammo, the company that handles the Ordnance Group launchers.

Available Rounds

I want to explain carefully about the application of various loads before I describe the samples that I tested. These 37mm rounds are an emergency “stop gap” measure. They are to be used as an alternative to deadly force to disperse a dangerous crowd when there is no law enforcement present to assist. If the launcher is attached to an M4 carbine, care should be taken that the carbine is not fully loaded or ready to fire.

One such scenario where 37mm rounds could be launched would be when rioters are shooting commercial fireworks at your home in an attempt to ignite it. In Ohio, this is considered aggravated arson — a felony of the first degree. In such a scenario, getting people to stop without the use of potentially lethal force is a top priority. Using the Tac-D Pivot properly may be a show of resistance that will preclude the need for lethal force.

I obtained a sample of some of the 37mm civilian loads that were available (currently, smoke loads are out of stock). The company sent four loads — two of which would perhaps be ideal in a situation such as that described above:

  1. Flash Banger: This nose-cone-capped round explodes with a loud bang, but no pyrotechnic display. Range seems to be about 40 yards.
  2. Concussion: The Concussion round is the newest and loudest round Exotic Ammo makes. Range is also about 40 yards. It also has no pyrotechnic display.

The 37mm Concussion might be just the attention-getter needed to disperse a crowd of rioters threatening your home. It would serve notice that you are going to seriously defend your home, hopefully taking it off the target list. When smoke rounds become available again, those may be useful too. A six-round tactical 37mm ammo carrier, along with other related accessories, is available on the Exotic Ammo website.

Note that none of these rounds are direct-fire loads (i.e. they are not used to directly strike the human body). The Concussion or Flash Banger rounds fired at the ground serve to say, “Go someplace else!” The gaping maws of an Ordnance Group 37mm Tac-D Pivot, Tac-D Underbarrel or the Tac M-203 mounted in the underbarrel position are extremely intimidating and may preclude ever having to fire a shot — less-lethal or lethal. Check local laws before using.

Sources:

Exotic Ammo: ExoticAmmo.com


About Scott W. Wagner

Scott W. Wagner has been a law enforcement officer since 1980, working undercover in liquor and narcotics investigations and as a member, sniper and assistant team leader of a SWAT team. He currently works as a patrol sergeant. He is a police firearms instructor, certified to train revolver, semi-automatic pistol, shotgun, semi- and fully automatic patrol rifle, and submachine gun. Scott also works as a criminal justice professor and police academy commander.

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