Non-lethal Weapons Markets Sees New Opportunity in Personal Security Applications

Non-lethal weapons, as their name suggests, are weapons that are designed to slow an assailant down rather than kill them. That said, most of the powerful non-lethal weapons qualify as ones that are being used without the intention to kill, and if used correctly, they will not. Non-lethal weapons were created with the intention of not killing people, only to guard the user against an assault in the event of an emergency retaliation. There are organizations for and against the use of non-lethal weapons. The INCLO and Physicians for Human Rights, for example, had published a study which stated that there is a severe consequence of using non-lethal weapons without proper training. Their misuse can cause major injuries, blindness, or even death.

There are a few questions, the answers to which are important to figure out why the global non-lethal weapons market is progressing at such a positive rate.

What Justifies the Global Non-lethal Weapons Market to be Estimated at US$4.8 bn by 2021?

Simply stated, it is the growing efficiency of non-lethal weapons that can not only be wielded by law enforcers and military personnel, but also civilians for their self-defense. For now, the greatest driver for the global non-lethal weapons market is the growing use of these weapons on the field by the defense sector. The sector is finding better uses for non-lethal weapons for crowd control and in many urban warfare scenarios. Non-lethal weapons can help reduce the number of casualties in such situations while still managing to get the job done. Other advantages they provide is the reduction of collateral damage, lower overall cost in terms of ammunition replenishment, and a wider range of applications. The global non-lethal weapons market is growing at a 6.1% CAGR between 2015 and 2021. It was recorded at US$3.2 bn in 2014 and will reach US$4.87 bn by 2021, says Transparency Market Research.

Is the Number of Civilian Non-lethal Weapon Carriers Expected to Increase?
Yes it is. There are two reasons for this: Better and cheaper weapons, and a growing concern over personal security. Small non-lethal weapons such as conducted electrical weapons – commonly known as Tasers – and chemical sprays such as mace and tear gas, are showing a higher purchase record by civilians. A growing number of people are resorting to non-lethal weapons for their protection. This also applies to the regions that are facing a steady increase in civil unrest.

In 2014, North America was the leading region in the global non-lethal weapons market owing to a large consumption rate by both the defense sector as well as the civilians. At the same time, Asia Pacific has been expected to play a major part in the market in the coming years, as it is expected to show the fastest growth rate till 2021. This trend could slightly change over the course of time, as we are witnessing a high rate of non-lethal arms purchases and license procurements in parts of Europe.

Current political situations are affecting the region’s economic state, including the supply and procurement of security and protection measures. For instance, there is currently a steep incline in the number of non-lethal weapon license procurement in the German Bavaria.

What is the Future of Non-lethal Weapons?

Creating the perfect non-lethal weapon can be a lot trickier than expected. For one, things such as rubber bullets and tear gas canisters – things that are not meant to kill – end up injuring a larger number of people than previously thought. Then there are weapons such as the active denial system, which can heat up any surface it is pointed at, or the thunder generator, which creates shockwaves that can stun and knock back anyone who comes close enough. There were even concepts such as the sticky foam, which stuck to a person and incapacitated them. But it came with the major disadvantage of suffocating the person if the foam hit their face.

Regardless of whether or not these devices work in real-time crowd control, the future of the global non-lethal weapons market seems to be stable for now. Being a market that is sustained by political and civil unrest, warfare, and crime rates, the global non-lethal weapons market is currently experiencing a high demand, and it is expected to do so in the future.

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