Infantry: February 27, 2001

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The US Army is evaluating the XM303 "paintball" weapon made by FN Herstal. This is designed for use as a Less Than Lethal Weapon in operational zones, not as a sport or training weapon. The quick-change magazine carries fifteen 12-gauge projectiles; the compressed gas cylinder can fire 60 rounds (a longer version can fire 120). Unlike sport paintball weapons used by weekend warriors, the XM303 looks like a rifle, having the gas cylinder alongside the barrel and the magazine under it (rather than having a gravity-fed tub of paintballs on top). While standard paintballs could be used to mark an individual for later arrest or interrogation, modified versions could carry tear gas or "mal-odorants". Other types of ammunition could be illumination rounds or solid rubber impact projectiles.--Stephen V Cole

 


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