I don’t feel like I’m going too far out on a limb in saying that 2020 hasn’t been the greatest year for law enforcement. The actions of a few have thrown community relations into disarray, and now the spotlight is firmly on law enforcement as an institution with calls to action ranging from abolish to defund the police. This is hardly the place to dissect and discuss each on its merits, but there is a third, perhaps less vocal voice, that suggests that these police officers need better training and better access to less than lethal equipment.
KWESST Micro Systems (KWE.V) has extended their option to purchase a non-lethal munitions technology system referred to as the low-energy cartridge (LEC) until December 15h, 2020.
The technology’s owner is Ottawa-based DEFSEC Corporation, a private company owned by David Luxton, who also doubles as the executive chairman of KWESST. The two companies inked a letter of intent in June for the acquisition, and is presently doing their due diligence on the technology and its marketability.
“The market has long required a safer, lower-cost reliable alternative to existing solutions. We see the LEC as a strong fit with KWESST’s other smart ordnance technologies, like our Shot Counter system. Together, the LEC and Shot Counter have the potential to anchor the build-out of a significant business unit specialized in smart ordnance systems, with a vast global market,” said Jeff MacLeod, KWESST founder and CEO.
First, the notion of non-lethal ammunition is a bit of a misnomer. Any fired projectile has the potential to be lethal, and instead it’s a matter of reduced probability. The intent behind less than lethal rounds is to incapacitate rather than kill.
There are quite a few options available for non-lethal ammunition already floating around out there. While rubber-bullets are the easiest to recognize, others include high velocity bean bag rounds, soft polymer rounds, plastic bullets, sponge grenades and rubber bullets with an electroshock effect (or Taser XREP rounds). Even paintball rounds have been used. All of these rely on a transfer of kinetic energy and blunt force trauma to accomplish incapacitation.
The LEC, in comparison, is a non-lethal cartridge based ordnance system which can find a ho
me in the growing markets of soldier and law enforcement training, as well as maintenance of public order and personal defense.
The destructive capacity of a weapon is largely relative to its muzzle energy. Muzzle energy is the kinetic energy of a bullet as its propelled from the muzzle. The heavier the bullet and the faster it moves, the higher its energy and destructive potential. This technology is considered non-lethal because of the kinetic energy of the bullet as its expelled from the muzzle of the firearm is lower than that of a regular bullet.
This is the same technology used in Simunition, which is the ordnance used by Navy Seals (and likely other elite level military organizations) in their simulations. In fact, David Luxton, the executive chairman of KWESST, is the inventor behind simunition. He sold it to a military contractor, and from 2015-2018 was the executive chairman of United Tactical Systems, a U.S.-based company that does business in the less-lethal market.
The transaction would bring together Luxton with Jeff MacLeod in the specialty ordnance business. MacLeod brings 20 years’ experience in the field of small arms and advanced soldier systems.
Will reducing the lethal capacity of ammunition solve all of our policing problems? No. But it is a good first step.
Full disclosure: KWESST Micro Systems is an equity guru marketing client.