What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Rubber Bullets?

Rubber bullets, like all non-lethal law enforcement tools, offer a way to stop potentially violent situations with minimal loss of life. Unfortunately, many individuals who are shot with rubber bullets suffer serious injuries to the head, neck, torso, lower abdomen and pelvis. In these scenarios, the penetrating wound left by the rubber projectile can cause internal bleeding, inflict major trauma to vital organs or rupture arteries.

Non-lethal weapons offer police and military personnel a way to disperse crowds, render targets unconscious or eliminate a potential threat without using deadly force. This has the advantage of preventing needless deaths while still allowing police to take suspects and fugitives into custody. With rubber bullets, it is less likely that a suspect can be mortally wounded, as compared to the use of gunfire or other lethal force. Unfortunately, rubber bullets still have a great deal of kinetic energy even when deployed as intended. These non-lethal weapons cause serious injuries which can result in death, according to the Internet Journal of Surgery from Internet Scientific Publications.

Rubber bullets were originally developed and deployed in Northern Ireland by British military personnel, notes Associated Press. These rounds were intended to be fired at the ground so that they bounce up and strike the lower extremities. Unfortunately, they were found to be too dangerous, and they were taken out of active use by the British Armed Forces.