Pogojet: Semiautomatic Less-lethal Weapon with Long Distance Capabilities

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(Editor’s note: This article was submitted by freelance writer Mike Doran.)

A new less-lethal weapon could revolutionize law enforcement. It’s called the Pogojet, and unlike other less-lethal weapons that require close proximity, this pistol can hit a target at a hundred meters.

Designed by Jeffrey Widder, a senior research scientist at Battelle Memorial Institute in Ohio, the Pogojet (the official name is the less-interesting, “Caseless Telescoping Less-lethal System”) works by having the propellant burn inside the round and push on a piston that propels it. When the piston is extended, the gasses can be vented sideways, so the round continues at the same velocity, or through holes at the base of the projectile so that it fires off like a rocket.

The variable speed is what really separates this from other systems that fire kinetic less-lethal projectiles like bean bags or rubber bullets. The low velocities of these systems severely limit their range; the farther you are from the target, the less effective the round. Bean-bag guns are only effective up to twenty meters, and Tasers also require close proximity and cartridges can only be fired once.

Widder’s design allows the .50 caliber weapon to fire its projectile at an optimal velocity, between 77 and 87 meters per second, regardless of whether the target is at close range or out a hundred meters.

“Once the gas comes out it can be throttled,” Widder told PopularMechanics.com. “The technical challenge turned out to be remarkably simple. Once I’d figured it out I didn’t know why I found it so difficult.”

The key to the Pogojet’s variable velocity system will be a rangefinder that will automatically select the correct muzzle velocity without any manual input by the user. Building the interface will be Widder’s next hurdle in the project. He also plans to replace the metal components with plastic.

The Pogojet also has another tactical advantage to other less-lethal devices: it is semiautomatic, allowing for a higher rate of fire. And in high-stress situations where the Pogojet is going to be used, the ability to re-fire, either to hit multiple targets or one target that was missed, is invaluable. Because the round is spin stabilized and has a flat trajectory, operators will be able to aim for center mass just as they would with a normal firearm.

The pogojet, a less-lethal weapon that can neutralize targets at long distances.  Would ever consider letting it replace your every day carry sidearm?  (Photo: Daily Mail)

The pogojet, a less-lethal weapon that can neutralize targets at long distances. Would you ever consider letting it replace your every day carry sidearm? (Photo: Daily Mail)

“The greatest risk of severe injury or death occurs from impacts to the head, face, or neck of the intended target or a bystander,” Widder says. “The use of more accurate weapons with disciplined fire can substantially reduce the likelihood of this unintended consequence.”

The projectile does not deform on impact, allowing the smaller round to deliver a strong sting.

“It’s like a bee sting,” Widder says. “It’s only over a small area, but it is intense enough to be effective.”

The piston setup also allows for a very short barrel. While originally envisioned as an under-barrel attachment to an M4 carbine, the Pogojet could also be used separately as a pistol.

Before the Pogojet can go out into the hands of law enforcement it must first go through Human Effects Testing to make sure it is safe. If proven effective, we may see this new technology in action soon.

Do you think the Pogojet will be a slam dunk or a dud? Let us know in the comments.

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Dtuck March 14, 2016, 7:21 am

    Ok, so we add this to a police officers already loaded belt along with cuffs, radio, pistol, extra mags, taser and other stuff. How the hells he going to get in and out of his car? In a situation where the adrenaline is flowing he’s going to have to decide which item to reach for then figure out where it’s at and by then he’s screwed because some punk wannabe gangster just shot him.
    Wouldn’t it be better if the bad guy just gave up and quit fighting or running or whatever the officer is trying to stop him from doing before the officer needs to discharge a 40 cal lead bullet into him? People need to understand that the officer might end your day if you are acting badly. Don’t give him a reason to shoot you.

  • Bill Smith January 19, 2016, 8:10 pm

    Like shooting bottle rockets at each other through a pipe,,that was always fun until someone got set on fire. What happens when this thing hits someone,, does the flame go out. If I use it inside a dwelling and miss my target did I just set the curtains on fire??

  • iRev January 15, 2016, 11:22 am

    Like anything else that is new, the potential applicability will become apparent as it becomes apparent.
    You just never know at the start (who would have thought ((in the beginning) that underwear would become so popular)

  • Poo Poo January 15, 2016, 9:25 am

    I’m sorry to see all these negative comments. I, for one, am glad to see someone is working on less than lethal technology. It’s a good thing for police and other authorities to have the option (think stupid kids with pellet guns). Even though I believe that it is completely mis-informed, the perception among many is that police are too quick to pull the trigger on their 9’s and 40’s. Look where that has put all us non-criminal, law-abiders. More undeserved restrictions, more undeserved scrutiny. I say spend millions on LTL/NL. Build a gun that knocks the holy shit out of someone but doesn’t kill them.

  • Kev January 15, 2016, 9:24 am

    Israeli enforcement folk use non-lethal ROUNDS, not guns; i.e. rubber bullets, etc.
    If a police department wants to study their effectiveness, let ’em fly to Israel and talk to the powers that be. I’m 110% for innovation, but the Pogojet is a dud – unless their primary outlet is Toys-R-Us.

  • Lance Revell January 15, 2016, 8:07 am

    Gosh, what an abominally stupid idea. First – “less lethal/nonlethal” is a flawed concept. If you feel the need to fire your weapon, you need to STOP the threat immediately. LL/NL cannot do that.
    Second, it gives a “bee sting” impact….? See point one. Nuff said.
    Third, I have some thirtyfive years experience working professionally in the electronics and computer fields – hardware and software. My old Navy Seniorchief taught me a very important thing. “Electronics will fail, often at the worst possible time.”
    This device is an electronic device. Would you trust the lives of yourself, your family and friends to a fallible device that MUST work every time despite weather conditions and your stress level? I cannot trust it. No police officer should trust it. This device will get people killed.

    • Daddio7 January 15, 2016, 4:30 pm

      How many people do the police kill who are RUNNING AWAY? The police feel that a person who runs from them has to be a threat so they use the only long range weapon available they are carrying to stop them, a 9mm or .40. Having a non lethal long range weapon will give them a choice in those situations.

      • toddbuh January 17, 2016, 3:14 pm

        Good Guys don’t run from Police.

  • Allen Dean Benge January 15, 2016, 7:36 am

    Before I start, allow me to give you some idea of my qualifications for my opinion. I have been a prison officer , an armed security officer and a deputy sheriff. While I worked at the Arizona State Prison, I worked in the armory, maintaining and repairing prison weapons. I am certified as a Range Master, a Range Safety officer, and a Basic Marksmanship Instructor. During my time as a deputy, I was on the department pistol team and competed in combat shoots and one SWAT shoot. In 1988, I won a bronze, a silver and a gold medal in the Police Olympics in Casa Grande, in the Small Bore Rifle events. I have reloaded and am an amateur gunsmith.
    This device, (I won’t call it a weapon,) reminds me of the Gyrojet pistol, made by Daisy, the BB gun people. It was seen in the Jay Leno/ Pat Morita movie, ‘Collision Course.’ It’s claim to fame was a type of rocket ammo, an ammo that was caseless and had the propellant formed around the rear of the round. Unlike a firearm, in which the bullet is moving as fast as it ever will upon leaving the barrel. With a Gyrojet, you could put your hand in front of the muzzle, and knock the projectile to the ground. As with most rockets, the round starts off at a low speed, and reaches maximum velocity down range. I have seen nothing on this device, but I hesitate to call it less lethal, as that is reserved for truly less lethal weapons, such as pepper spray, TASERs, rubber bullets and beanbag rounds. Don’t get me wrong, all of these can kill, under certain circumstances, but these are less likely to kill. The idea, when an officer fires his weapon, is to stop an imminent threat, and that is the ONLY acceptable reason for shooting. If you have a person who represents a deadly threat to you or someone else, you shoot to stop them. If it kills them, that is not your problem. legally, ethically or morally. If the weapon will not stop a threat, then it is not a good shoot, as called in police parlance. If you shoot someone with this device,and it does not stop them, someone gets and Inspector’s funeral. I have the same objection to this item as I do the so-called ‘smart’ guns. I depend on my sidearm to fire every time I pull the trigger. There is an old saying among officers, that ‘the loudest sound in the world is a click when you expect a bang. Modern firearms are simple machines, but incredibly reliable, and I will have nothing less to defend my life. The first rule of police work is to go home at end of shift.

    • The goat January 15, 2016, 3:03 pm

      From an ex-military basis, id dump this accessory off my rifle as dead weight. Applause does go out to those
      that work the less lethal technology though they need to talk to appropriate authority before going to the
      drawing board. I think that L.E. could use a hand-held semi-auto, perhaps modified current weaponry, giving them
      the response option of either non-lethal or lethal within the same device. Today, they have no other option.
      We’ll see if the NIJ’s Gun Safety Technology Challenge brings this about … but I don’t think the Pogo will stick.

  • ADGeorge January 15, 2016, 7:29 am

    It will be a DUD compared to the real thing. It is like listening to Obama babble at his televised town hall meeting about smart guns/DUDS. Police officers have a hard job, that proven means of defense is what they need in the field, not some fuzzy headed Liberal professor/scientist politically correct Obozo stick.

  • Uhhhh...No January 15, 2016, 6:56 am

    All the downfalls of a gyrojet, with none of the benefits of a taser? This is a loser, and will never be adopted by LE because even if it were ever perfect, it still relies upon PAIN COMPLIANCE, as opposed to the pain AND manual compliance of a taser. Too big, expensive, and complicated to ever replace OC spray with this thing.

    • Dan P January 15, 2016, 1:30 pm

      I have seen so many people straight up “defeat” the taser, it is a joke.

      I think this weapon actually may be far more effective, as it is said to emulate bee stings.

      Have you ever been attacked by hornets/wasps? That is the sort of pain that makes you run away it hurts so bad, they do not lose their stinger so unless you can kill them all right then and there, running is about your only option.

      I think if a person gets hit twice in rapid succession with this weapon, and the officer says “I can do that 20 more times”, they would be pretty quick to get on the ground.

      As I said, you can taser me, and I can swipe those stupid barbs right out of my body, stand up, and your taser is worthless.

      Better off with a Tonfa than a Taser.

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