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A new compact, lightweight weapon will stop a target in their tracks from a hundred meters away without harming them. Introducing the Pogojet.
Most non-lethal kinetic rounds are designed to flatten on impact and spread the blow over a large area. This improves safety by minimizing the risk of a penetrating injury. This also explains why such rounds tend to be large caliber. The Pogojet bullet does not deform on impact but delivers all its energy over a smaller area but rather produces a high level of pain with less kinetic energy than the traditional approach.
The Pogojet is unique in that the propellant burns inside the round, pushing on a piston that propels it forward. The action resembles a pogo stick, hence the name. Once the piston reaches its full extent, the exhaust gases can be vented sideways, so the round continues forward at the same speed, or directed through holes in the base of the round like rocket exhaust to give as much extra kick as required. This is the ‘jet’ aspect of the Pogojet, which Jeffrey Widder, senior research scientist at Battelle Memorial Institute in Ohio, who created this design, compares to the old 1960s Gyrojet rocket pistol.
The Pogojet will use a laser rangefinder—technology that already exists for small arms, but is mainly used with military grenade launchers. The Pogojet will interface with a rangefinder to ensure that the right muzzle velocity is automatically selected without any manual control. Building the interface is one of the next steps in the project. But the key element, the variable velocity system, has already proven highly reliable.
The weapon design has another advantage in that it produces enough pressure to work as a semi-automatic. Unlike other less-lethals, the Pogojet can be fired as rapidly as needed, so the shooter can get off another shot if they miss the target.
“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.”