Pretoria-based Rippel Effect Systems has, after two years, completed development of its new six-shot RLL37/38/RLL40 Less Lethal Launcher, which is now ready to go to market.
The launcher is currently being displayed at the Shot Show, in Las Vegas, USA. The company recently firmed up a distribution agreement with ALS, one of the largest manufacturers of less lethal ammunition in the United States. A pre-production model of the RLL37/38/RLL40 successfully completed test firing trials at ALS in Perry, Florida.
“Since the announcement of our less lethal launcher range in 2014, Rippel Effect has received great interest from police and law enforcement agencies in many countries, especially the US,” Franz Visser, Rippel Effect Marketing Manager, told defenceWeb. “Over the past two years, we tested several configurations of the launcher with a wide range of ammunition to prove the design. Following the latest trials in the US, we are now ready to go to market.”
Rippel Effect embarked on development of the dedicated less lethal launcher based on the success of its XRGL40 extended range grenade launcher for the military. The XRGL40 was designed to fire low and medium velocity 40mm grenades, as well as less lethal ammunition from the same weapon without any configuration changes.
The RLL37/38 design (including its 40mm version) was completed following consultations with SWAT officers and manufacturers of less lethal ammunition, such as ALS. Weighing just over 3kg, the launcher is suited to left- and right-hand users.
Rippel Effect pointed out that a key feature is the ability to load a cocktail of rounds and skip backwards and forwards between different rounds without opening the launcher. Most importantly, it requires no extra gas or pump action to index (advancing the cylinder to the next round) – it is mechanically operated and indexes as fast as the operator can pull the trigger.
Rippel opted for the 37mm/38mm, alongside the 40mm version, as both types of ammunition are widely used internationally. The former calibre is also not a controlled item in the USA, which is a prime target market for Rippel’s less lethal product range.
The 3.5kg weapon has been designed to only fire less lethal ammunition, and if regular low velocity military grade ammunition is fired, a spring disables the weapon.
Visser believes the less lethal equipment market is set for tremendous growth in the next few years, especially the dedicated six-shot that was purpose-designed, rather than adapted from the military version. “It clearly makes sense for law enforcement officials to be equipped with a quick-fire six-shot, rather than a single-shot model that has been the norm for years,” he said.
Rippel has also tested the pre-production RLL37/38/40 in Brazil with less lethal ammunition manufacturer Condor, which has the rights to distribute the weapon in Brazil and certain other countries.