Posted on Jan. 12, 2023 by Niki Nelson

Impact rounds are a less lethal option used to stop and subdue a subject. The type of munition varies – standard impact rounds, foam, or impact/gas combination. The impact rounds are often fired by launcher or shotgun type weapons. Most law enforcement agencies around the country use some type of less lethal impact projectile.

You may have heard the controversies around shotgun beanbag rounds – their velocity has caused much more harm than intended in a few situations. This has caused some departments to question or even eliminate the use of beanbag shotguns as a less lethal tool.

In 2022, multiple police agencies in Arizona announced that they would be discontinuing the use of beanbag rounds after subjects had significant injuries well beyond what is intended. Reportedly, the velocity of shotgun beanbag rounds was tested and determined to be too high, causing a likely risk of serious bodily harm.

Impact Launcher Rounds for Simulation Training

The 37MM and 40MM impact launcher munitions are an alternative to beanbag rounds that are supported in VirTra’s simulators. Laser-based simulation impact rounds are placed into the user’s 37MM or 40MM and can be used to stop a noncompliant subject. On-screen characters will react realistically depending on how and where they are hit.

The risk of death from using an impact round is statistically low, but there are ways to make it lower. Proper shot placement is crucial to avoid hitting a person in the chest, ribs, or throat. Knowing the areas not to target and developing the targeting skills need by putting in simulated practice hours is key. Keeping in mind shot placement, hitting an arm, leg, or the lower abdomen would certainly hurt – but not likely cause significant injury.

Try training in scenarios such as “Protest Trouble” where you must control an unruly crowd that refuses to calm down.  The deployment can be replicated to provide the repetitions necessary inside a rich context to make the training stick.


To learn more about the accessories and less lethal options VirTra can provide, contact a specialist.

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