Company touts ‘pistol launcher’ as impactful non-lethal self-defense option

They are called pistol launchers and use CO2 cartridges to fire inert or chemical balls to stop an attacker.
Published: May. 16, 2023 at 7:18 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) -They are called pistol launchers and use CO2 cartridges to fire inert or chemical balls to stop an attacker.

The chemicals can cause a burning sensation in the eyes and respiratory system, allowing someone to escape danger. Luan Pham, the Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer for Byrna says the chemical is a powdered pepper irritant. He says there is a stronger version that includes pepper and tear gas.

“Those that are not gun people, this is the closest thing with formidable stopping power that you can get that’s going to give you a chance,” said Pham.

Pham, a gun owner, says other firearm owners are buying the product too.

The company has opened its first retail store in Las Vegas. The company says the launchers are not firearms and don’t require background checks. It says launchers are “interstate friendly” and people can travel with them.

FOX5 talked with some gun safety and training experts around Las Vegas. Some say the launchers allow a person to defend themselves from a distance. The company says the launchers are effective from 60 feet.

One person told us the chemicals could be harmful to kids with asthma. Another criticism is the pistol launchers look like a real gun, which firearm and pistol launcher owner Jeff Chandler says is a concern. He plans to carry his launcher in public and worries about it being mistaken for a real gun.

“They could have a real gun and shoot me. Or it could be mistaken as a real gun and call the police and cause a big thing about it. Exaggeration could step in,” said Chandler.

Pham says someone can carry the launcher in public, but suggests people follow rules of where weapons are prohibited. But it may be a different story for those who want to conceal and carry the launcher. Pham suggests getting a concealed carry permit because of what he says are some gray areas with the launcher. And he says people should know local laws.

You must be 18 years old to buy a launcher.