Have a less-lethal option

Don’t expect the authorities to throw you a party or pin a medal on your chest in the event that you fatally shoot a criminally inclined intruder in your house!

In the ideal world, the police should give you no hassles so long as it is readily apparent that your actions were legally justified. In fact, they should even offer you protection against possible reprisals by associates of the fatally-shot intruder.

But in the real world, you will probably be booked like any other suspect, interrogated and thoroughly investigated while all the while being detained in the precinct. Investigators will have a free run of your home, members of your family will be questioned and your weapon taken as evidence. It is not unlikely that homicide charges will be filed against you.

Due process will supposedly run its course before charges against you are eventually dropped and you are cleared of any wrongdoing. This, however, can be a long, costly and very uncomfortable process.

Should this deter you from firing that shot when it is clear that a trespasser has murderous intent on you or other members of your family? No! Ensure your survival now then deal with the legal fallout later.

Any trespasser on your residence, whether visibly armed or not, should be confronted. However, in that crucial moment, it may still be possible for you to determine the level of threat that trespasser poses. If you decide the threat level is relatively low, it may be prudent to have a less lethal option available to you.

Defense Technology (DEF TEK)

There is an increasing number of less-lethal shotgun loads available for law enforcement and civilian purchase. This is good news to the many households that keep a 12 gauge pump action shotgun for protection.

Less-lethal ammunition for shotgun or pistol is relatively new to the Philippine civilian market but the concept seems to be making headway. US-manufactured ammunition of this sort is supposedly available from select sellers but is seemingly hard to come by.

DEF-TEK less lethal shotgun ammo come in Big Ball and Baton variants.

Enter Twin Pines Incorporated, a well-established firearms retailer based in Manila. Perhaps due to its successes in the gun retail business, the company began to manufacture standard and high-performance ammunition from imported components some years ago.  More recently, the firm has sought to fill the gap in the less-lethal market segment with its product line, Defense Technology or DEF-TEK.

The company currently markets two less-lethal shotgun loads that are available to the civilian market. Both are in 12 gauge, 2 ¾ inch trim and are encased in a clear plastic shell that allows easy verification of the rubber projectiles contained within.

Big Ball. The first variant in the DEF TEK line is tagged Big Ball. Three black rubber balls of approximately .70 caliber each is encased in the see-through shell in single file. A quick examination of the spherical projectiles will reveal that they are made of very hard rubber. The shell’s overall weight, however, is noticeably lighter than those holding buckshot or birdshot. The projectiles are expected to hit the target independently.

Baton. The second variant in the DEF TEK line is called the Baton, perhaps because of its projectile’s cylindrical profile when inside the clear plastic shell. This cylindrical slug is cut in the middle to form two distinct projectiles that appear to have been designed to separate in-flight much like the sections of a rocket ship. The two .70 caliber flat projectiles are apparently intended to strike virtually the same spot one after the other.

Not for semi-autos

DEF-TEK less-lethal ammunition was not designed to function in any sort of semi-automatic or full automatic shotgun. It is understood that this includes autoloaders of the inertia, gas or piston designs. It says so in the box—please read and take heed lest you get a stoppage at a critical moment!

While no explanations are given, it is readily apparent that both the Big Ball and the Baton are very lightly loaded and thus do not have enough power to cycle autoloading shotguns.

Three black rubber balls are clearly visible inside the “Big Ball” opaque case at left. The solid-looking cylindrical projectiles distinguishes the “Baton” at the right.

Shooting impressions

An extensive firing session was not permitted by our limited supply of DEF TEK ammunition which was purchased retail. Targets were at the seven meters range because that distance seemed appropriate for the home defense scenario. All safety rules regarding backstops were in effect during our tests with the addition of a screen backstop to further prevent the rubber projectiles from bouncing around.

The experience of firing either variant of DEF TEK can best be summed up as like shooting a .22 caliber airgun. Recoil vas virtually non-existent in the 7.5 lbs. shotgun wherein it was tested. Also absent was the noisy blast associated with discharging a shotgun—all that was audible was a vigorous “pop” of air!

Big Ball. Firing at the backrest of an old, presumably brittle, mono block chair, all three projectiles punched right through! The projectiles, however, failed to penetrate the side of an old plastic trash bin (chemical container) even while this target was dented as the rubber balls glanced in separate directions. The impressions left in both targets indicate that two projectiles hit close to each other while the third struck about 5 inches lower.

Baton. Using the bead sights of the shotgun, this load shot where you aimed—much like a slug. Firing at an old shirt, we saw only one ragged hole instead of two. The first projectile seems to have gone all the way through while the second was left stuck in the exit hole of the shirt.

The visible impact on our various target mediums left no doubt that even the biggest aggressor would be floored by these less-lethal loads! We intend to do more scientific testing to look deeper into some penetration issues which we feel may be an area of concern.

The management of Twin Pines also informed us that they would grant us an interview soon in order to discuss the merits of their products. Watch out for our subsequent articles on DEF-TEK as well as other less-lethal ammunition.

Big-Ball SRP: Php 35.00 per piece or Php 175.00 per 5-round box

Baton SRP: Php 50.00 per piece or Php 250.00 per 5-round box

–MCG

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