The new less-lethal projectile launcher (#1440) 40mm Tactical 4-Shot Launcher by Defense Technology® of the Safariland Group is heralded by the company as revolutionary.
At about half the weight of competitors, it has a new and different Pump Action Cylinder Advance. Lewis Machine & Tool (LMT), a precision firearm manufacturer, makes the 4-Shot Launcher exclusively for Defense Technology.
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According to Defense Technology, features of the 40mm Tactical 4-Shot Launcher include an expandable Rogers Super Stoc™ and adjustable front grip. There isn’t a gas-mask cheek-weld rifle-aiming issue when using the Tactical 4-Shot with a gas mask, because the Rogers Super Stoc is upscaled from the more common AR-15-type stock.
The Tactical 4-Shot Launcher utilizes a pump-action direct-drive mechanism to advance the rotary magazine and bring the next cylinder into the firing position. The magazine rotates around a shaft that extends forward to the forend grip. The rearward motion of the pump-action forend causes rotation of the shaft and the rotary magazine.
This system requires no winding and, unlike other launcher designs, it ensures that the cylinder is captured during the entire operation, so a slow or fast pump-action results in the same positive result.
A unique characteristic of this design is that the magazine cylinder can be advanced with a single rearward motion of the pump-action forend, instead of requiring a back and forth cycle to complete rotation. This means the operator can rapidly fire two rounds with a single movement of the pump-action forend, or more practically, it allows the weapon to be fired in the front or rear positions.
In addition to being made by a precision gun manufacturer, it incorporates a single/double-action Smith & Wesson (S&W) trigger group, an X-frame assembly with ambidextrous safety mechanism.
When used single-action, the cocking is done by manually pulling back on the hammer before putting pressure on the trigger and firing the launcher. This strikes the primer of the lesslethal round, firing the projectile down its 10.2-inch rifled barrel. Like all double/ single-action revolvers, pressure on the trigger is lessened, resulting in better accuracy, especially when shooting at long distances.
The Tactical 4-Shot has an ambidextrous lever-style safety.
For aiming, the launcher has a Picatinny rail with front and rear pop-up adjustable sights. Some buyers prefer other sights, so the Tactical 4-Shot’s Picatinny Rail Mounting System accepts a wide variety of enhanced optics and sighting systems. Additional rails are at the three and nine o’clock positions on the forend.
The Tactical 4-Shot is made of lightweight aluminum alloy. The frame is 6061-T6 and the barrel is made of 7075-T6 aluminum alloy. The Tactical 4-Shot has a black anodized finish.
The Tactical 4-Shot is capable of firing standard 40mm less lethal ammunition up to 4.8 inches in length. It is not designed to fire 40mm high-velocity, High Explosive (HE) ammunition.
Defense Technology has developed a couple of unique dual-range 40mm less-lethal rounds: the 40mm Direct Impact Adjustable Range Round and the 40mm eXact iMpact Adjustable Range Round.
The 40mm eXact iMpact Adjustable Range Round and the 40mm Direct Impact Range Round have the ability to engage subjects from five to 120 feet to deliver the same energy throughout these distances in a single round.
The significance of “eXact iMpact” is that the round has a foam nose. This dense foam compresses upon contact, reducing the risk to the targeted subject. The patented design allows velocity and kinetic energy to be adjusted at two design points for close-in and extended-range engagements.
Tactical engagements are fluid in nature, so the ability to transition from close to extended range in a single round while providing point of aim/point of impact and energy is an industry first. Until now, this could only be accomplished by using two different munitions.
While the projectile on the adjustable nose is made up of a few different components, they’re assembled to become a single unit. Adjustment is made by rotating the top portion of the projectile counter-clockwise. A 90-degree rotation to “close” the ports achieves the extended-range capabilities, but the round can be readjusted as the situation dictates.
The ranges of the different projectiles are:
- Exact/direct impact standard: 5 to 120 feet
- Exact/direct LE impact extended range: 33 to 229 feet
- Exact/direct impact adjustable range: 5 to 120 feet in open position and 120 to 229 feet in closed position
The projectile is shipped in the “open port” configuration as a safety default, with a red tape strip that needs to be removed before use. This provides the user with a visual safety cue.
Defense Technology 40mm munitions include: eXact iMpact™; eXact iMpact™ LE; Direct Impact®; Direct Impact® LE; Direct Impact® Reloadable Training Kits; Multiple Foam Baton; Multiple Rubber Baton; Bean Bag; Aerial Warning/ Signaling Munitions with Payload; and eXact iMpact™ 24-Shot Reloadable Training Kit.
The Tactical 4-Shot Launcher by Defense Technology was tested on a sunny afternoon at approximately 80 degrees with very little wind. It was evaluated from the perspective of Central Ohio Technical College’s Professor Mark Prince, who is also a force science instructor certified in training police cadets in civil disturbances regarding mob and riot control techniques by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy.
In this evaluation, a reflex-type (red dot) sight was utilized.
The Tactical 4-Shot is surprisingly lightweight for its size (due to the aluminum alloy “lower”) and easy to shoulder, aim, and fire. The product’s design technology facilitates a pumping action advance, which allows for smooth rotation of the cylinders and is fast, with no lag time or drag.
During the evaluation, 100-plus rounds of various impact projectiles were fired. The Tactical 4-Shot Launcher was also dry fired almost as many times. (As with most modern firearms, it is okay to dry fire the Tactical
4-Shot in moderation.) At no time did the launcher bind up or malfunction during dry or live fire.
The various 40mm rounds utilized in the evaluation consisted of eXact iMpact, Direct Impact, and eXact iMpact Adjustable rounds. The projectiles were fired from about five feet out to 150 feet, with plastic 50-gallon drums as targets.
Accuracy at the farthest distance using single-action was exceptional, with almost 100% of those rounds finding their targets. Up close, striking the targets center mass using double- action was not much of a chore. The farthest-distance hits were spectacular, as the marking powder on the dense foam nose made small clouds. Up close, one could observe the energy from the rounds deforming the plastic drums.
Many agencies are familiar with and own single-shot 40mm launchers. These launchers are sufficient for their intended purposes but lack the ability to engage multiple targets rapidly. In the world of modern law enforcement, the single shots would do well to be assigned to patrol vehicles for all officers to use.
However, the Defense Technology Tactical 4-Shot Launcher is the next step in advanced riot control technologies and should be considered by agencies that are responsible for fielding riot control teams being deployed in the current dangerous era of violent protests in America.
The Tactical 4-Shot Launcher has a suggested retail price of $1,899.