Plastic bullet

The plastic bullet is the name given to a type of less-lethal projectile fired from a specialised gun, used in riot control. There are also some plastic bullets, such as those made by the bullet maker Speer, that are designed to be used for short range target practice.

Crowd control use


The bullet was developed by the British as the plastic baton round (PBR). It was intended to replace the older rubber bullet with a projectile that could be fired directly at targets while also reducing the risk of serious injury or death. It was introduced in 1972 and initially was used alongside the rubber bullet, which it replaced completely in 1975.

Use in Northern Ireland

The first plastic bullet was made of PVC, was 89 mm (3.5 inches) long and 38 mm (1.5 in.) in diameter, and weighed approximately 142 g (5 oz.). The weight was similar to the rubber bullet but the new projectile had a lower muzzle velocity. From 1973 to 1981, over 42,000 plastic bullets were fired in Northern Ireland. Fourteen people were killed by plastic bullet impacts, including nine children. Most of the deaths were allegedly Fact|date=May 2008 caused by the British security services misusing the weapon, firing at close range and at chest or head level rather than targeting below the waist.

A new round was introduced in 1994, the L5A7, along with a new weapon to fire it, the HK L104 antiriot gun. From the height of The Troubles, the use of the baton rounds declined. In 1999, 112 rounds were fired, compared to 8,300 in 1996, and there have been no deaths since 1989. 13,264 L5A7 rounds have been fired.

A further development of the round was introduced in Britain in 2001, the L21A1. Designed to be more accurate, the new acrylic round is also more capable of inflicting lethal injuries if it strikes a vital area.Fact|date=May 2008

Recreational use

Speer plastic bullets, the only widely available brand, are hollow based plastic cylinders, and are available in .357/.38/9 mm, .44, and .45 calibers, and are designed for use in handguns, primarily revolvers, as the flat nose of the bullet does not feed well in most magazine fed actions. The propulsion is provided only by the primer, and the slow moving plastic bullets may be captured undamaged and reused numerous times if a suitable backstop is used. For use in revolvers, .38 Special and .44 Special versions also include plastic cases, which can be primed and de-primed by hand with minimal tools. For other calibers, standard brass cases are used. [cite web |url= |title= SPEER® Specialty Products |publisher=Speer]

ee also

*Rubber bullet
*Wax bullet
*Airsoft pellets

Notes and references

External links

* [ Plastic Bullets] -Relatives for Justice: Details the use of Plastic Bullets in Northern Ireland against the civilian populations and deaths resulting from their use

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • plastic bullet — noun A four inch cylinder of PVC fired for the purpose of riot control • • • Main Entry: ↑plastic * * * plastic bullet UK US noun [countable] [singular plastic bullet plural …   Useful english dictionary

  • plastic bullet — plastic bullets N COUNT A plastic bullet is a large bullet made of plastic, which is intended to make people stop rioting, rather than to kill people …   English dictionary

  • plastic bullet — n a large bullet made of hard plastic that is intended to injure but not kill …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • plastic bullet — noun count a bullet made of plastic used for controlling large violent crowds without killing people …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • plastic bullet — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms plastic bullet : singular plastic bullet plural plastic bullets a bullet made of plastic used for controlling large violent crowds without killing people …   English dictionary

  • plastic bullet — noun a bullet made of PVC or another plastic, used for riot control …   English new terms dictionary

  • plastic bullet — noun (C) a large bullet made of hard plastic that is intended to injure but not kill, and is used for controlling violent crowds …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • bullet — bul|let [ˈbulıt] n [Date: 1500 1600; : French; Origin: boulette small ball and boulet bullet , from boule ball ] a small piece of metal that you fire from a gun →↑shell, shot ↑shot ▪ He was killed by a single bullet. ▪ a bullet wound in the… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • bullet — noun (C) a small piece of metal that you fire from a gun: a bullet through the heart | bullet holes/wounds etc: The door was riddled with bullet holes. compare shell 1 (2), shot 1 (4), see also: plastic bullet, bite the bullet bite 1 (8) …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • Plastic armour — Plastic armour, called plastic protection in the United States, was a type of vehicle armour originally developed for merchant ships by the British Admiralty in 1940. The original composition was described as 50% clean granite of half inch size,… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.