Guns are part of the American culture and heritage as well as an indispensable part of the nation’s political debates. There are about a third of U.S. adults behaving by theSecond Amendment of the United States Constitution which provides the right to bear arms.

Without a doubt, the gun (short or long-barreled) is a critical defensive tool to have in your home. Even comfortable firearm owners know that the use of firearms is only legally justified if the attacker poses a credible, imminent threat of death or grievous bodily harm to you or your loved ones.

Though we’re not suffering from a lack of ethical behavior or morality, there are several reasons why many of us will choose the less lethal options. First, many situations don’t justify lethal force, when you won’t necessarily want to kill everyone who poses a threat to you. Additionally, most people aren’t prepared to kill someone with a firearm or can’t legally own one.

No Ammo, No Problem

Speaking of a survival situation, a firearm might be your first defensive option, and having an ample supply of ammunition can be crucial. However, you should take into account the possibility of ammunition shortages during a crisis and your ammunition stockpile could quickly run out.

Scenarios like these might be another reason why you should rely on a wide variety of non-firearm alternatives available on the market.

As an alternative to deadly force, nonlethal weapons, or less-than-lethal weapons are designed to change attackers’ behavior through force and chemistry quickly.

The less-lethal weapons can use different firing platforms ranging from a traditional firearm to dedicated devices designed to launch non-lethal projectiles, spray chemical agents, and even generate weaponized sound waves.

While these less lethal guns are developed and often used by law enforcement and military personnel for riot control, civilians have many similar but more affordable protective means at their disposal.

Best Gun Alternatives

In this short overview, we will introduce you to some of the best types of non-lethal weapons and ammo to use instead of a deadly firearm.

Standard Firearm – Nonstandard Ammo

For home protection, you can also use a standard firearm loaded with less lethal ammunition which is not designed to put a hole in someone. That less lethal ammo turns your trusted pump gun or six-shooter into a chemical or blunt-force weapon.

Non-Lethal Shotgun Rounds

Tear Gas and Flash or Thunder Grenade Rounds


Since the shotgun is arguably the best home defense weapon, you can use anything from beanbag rounds or flash bangs to a paintball filled with tear gas to load your trusty pump action.

Rubber Bullets

Many experts recommend 12-gauge shotgun shells loaded with several rubber-coated pellets. The rubber rounds are also available for defensive handguns.

Cayenne Pepper Rounds

Other less lethal ammo you can use in your conventional weapons are tear gas rounds combined with flash-bang specs designed to launch “lachrymatory agents” and mimic the sound of a real firearm. These non-lethal alternatives to a lethal firearm propel a cloud of cayenne pepper particles at close range (2-3 yards), causing respiratory distress and temporary blindness.

Besides standard firearms, the market is offering dedicated less lethal weapons engineered to shoot pepper spray/tear gas balls, baton rounds, and rubber bullets. The main advantage of these launchers is the price label and the fact that you don’t need a firearm or concealed carry permit in most states.

Beyond impact and chemical rounds, there is a specific group comprised of electro-shockers that provide a complete neurological override of an attacker. A well-known handheld Taser and stun guns generate electric shocks that can incapacity two- or four-legged assailants for up to 30 seconds.

Non-Lethal Handgun Rounds

The Alternative bullet


One of the latest innovation in the non-lethal self-defense industry is a new handgun accessory called the Alternative. This bright orange attachment features an alloy ball on top of a pistol. The device will “catch” a bullet creating a “less lethal” projectile with around a fifth of the original velocity.

The Alternative has a maximum range of 30 feet and will incapacitate a person but not pierce the skin. After this first round, the plastic clip ejects off of the pistol, leaving the follow-up shots to be fully lethal.

Electroshock Devices

Unlike rubber bullets, baton rounds, and pepper balls, electroshock devices like Tasers have much shorter shooting distances of up to 15 feet or stun guns which require close proximity to the attacker.

Along with these less lethal devices, you can opt for a few alternatives for urban survival classified as projectile and handheld weapons.
These include slingshots, air-powered pellet guns, and paintball pistol markers as projectile weapons. The other group comprises knives, expandable batons, a club, a mace, and a chain whip.

Law Enforcement And Military Non-Lethal Weapons

For military and police departments are available some specialized technologies such as a Pulsed Energy Projectile, Plasma shields, and the Active Denial System or pain lasers. While some create a flashbang effect to disorient and incapacitate rioters, pain rays heat water under an attacker’s skin using millimeter waves giving a sensation of burning.

Extreme Riot control tactics

In many situations, worldwide militaries and police have employed these less-lethal weapons with a history of causing lasting injury and even deaths. However, one striking example of a “humane” pacification technique was the firing of .22LR rounds at the legs of protesters by the Israeli security forces.

Final Thoughts

Remember, the goal of these non-lethal weapons and ammunition is a deterrent, not a solution, but the typical less lethal weapons will give you a good head start and help you get away from the incapacitated attacker.

Although non-lethal weapons’ purpose is to incapacitate threats without causing severe injury, they should still be used with great care and caution, as they can still cause injury or harm if used improperly.
On the other hand, police officers prefer shooting blunt objects and chemical weapons at people to discourage protests and disperse crowds.