October 17, 2011: Photos of Chinese riot police show them using a new weapon, the WJ/FBQ-08 38mm smoothbore riot-control gun. This is a shotgun type weapon, similar to the M-79 40mm grenade launcher the U.S. introduced in the 1960s. Many similar weapons, usually 38mm, have appeared since then for use by police. These use less-lethal ammo for riot control. These weapons tend to weigh about three kilograms (6.6 pounds) and are single shot. They break open to reload like a shotgun. Ammunition comes in many different types. But these can be divided into two broad groups. One is tear gas. There are various types of this gas, some of it pretty nasty. Then there are the non-lethal bullets (usually plastic or rubber). All this stuff has an effective range of 100-150 meters.
The new WJ/FBQ-08 is described as having dozens of small improvements over earlier 38mm riot-control guns. These upgrades make the weapon easier to use and more flexible.