Wouldn’t it be cool if we could design the perfect device for personal protection? Many might look upon this idea as un-realistic and overly idealistic but it occurs to me that well designed technology often derives from creative works of fiction decades in advance.
Right now the “perfect weapon” might seem impossible in terms of the laws of physics or thermodynamics but 20-30 years ago nobody would have imagined I’d be publishing this post to a worldwide network of machines, from a moving train, on a touch screen device more powerful that the most capable computer of that day.
Many factors would have to be overcome to build the perfect personal protective device. But I thought it would be interesting to try and list them here.
I don’t know what an acceptable range for such a device would be, but I’m guessing it would need to be something longer than the average taser. I don’t know exactly what complaints a gun owner would have about switching to such a device but I’m guessing range could be one of them.
A very quick scan of taser.com speaks of ranges between 15 to 35 feet. This chart gives a few references that seem to indicate the average handgun has a range of somewhere around 2,300 meters or ~7500 feet. Quite a difference.
If a device manufacturer wanted to build the perfect personal protective device, they would have to get to a range of something closer to a handgun.
In addition to range, I’d have to assume accuracy is also of major concern. Many tasers cast a large net or spray of small devices on wiring that I have to assume curtail accuracy.
The perfect personal protective device would have to be at least as accurate as a handgun.
To achieve such a range and accuracy, the device would have to be capable of storing and discharging a phenomenal amount of power. One can imagine that such a device, assuming it doesn’t involve the launching of a projectile meant to pierce flesh or armor, would involve some sort of incapacitating electrical, light emitting or auditory payload. For that to be possible, the device would need enough power to create such an event, multiple times at the pre-established range.
As stated, the device would have to be capable of creating such an incapacitating payload more than once. Poor aim, a disproportionate number of attackers or differences in the anticipated resiliency of a target compared to his or her actual size etc. means you may have to fire off multiple shots.
Assuming the goal of the weapon is to incapacitate, rather than kill, the device’s payload would need to be extremely effective and preferably cumulative. In other words, depending on the type of incapacitating agent being used, the target’s size, body chemistry, and armament may mean that multiple shots will be required to take him or her down. It may also have a factor in how long they stay down. If the average payload can incapacitate the average person that’s acceptable, but preferably, multiple discharges would take down above average targets.
The ideal weapon/payload would ensure that after a minimal number of discharges, any assailant would be rendered docile for more than enough time for a person to reach safety.
It is assumed that a cumulative weapon of this type would most likely, eventually, cause irreparable damage. But if death is not the default, many un-necessary deaths could be avoided.
Highly effective Safety Measures
In an effort to ensure the weapon cannot be turned on its owner and used to incapacitate them, more effective safety measures need to be developed. Perhaps “Smart gun” technologies currently being developed for traditional firearms could be employed here.
This is obviously a rather insurmountable looking list of requirements that no doubt many weapons researchers have already thought of. It would be interesting to know how much effort and how many resources are being applied to research in these areas. I’ve read a fair amount about some of the current tech being developed for military applications. One would hope those advances, like many others, are passed along to the civilian population.
This of course assumes that one believes the development of non-lethal weaponry has a place in personal protection. In the heat of an altercation or assault, one can assume that many variables could contribute to an un-wanted death. Unwanted on the part of the target certainly. But I have to believe there is a market of people out there that would also prefer not to have the death of another human being on their hands.
One can only hope.