Ohio SWAT Officers Test New Ammo That Limits Harm To Bystanders

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UPDATED: Tuesday March 11, 2014 6:34 PM

At the Ohio Peace Officers Training Academy, Columbus Police SWAT snipers are testing new ammunition against bullet-resistant glass found commonly at gas stations and banks.

There, police practice using a male target photo that represents the gunman, while the female target is the hostage. 

SWAT officers say their goal in testing the new ammo is to keep innocent people from getting hurt.

When police fire a regular bullet through the glass, the gunman is eliminated, but the hostage is also hurt - peppered by bullet fragments.

But, when SWAT tests the glass buster, the hostage is unharmed.  Fragmenting glass doesn’t strike the female hostage.   The glass buster pierces the glass without shattering it and then stays intact until it meets the intended target.

The same concept also applies to cars.

SWAT snipers say they have the firepower and precision to take out a gunman in a car, but a hostage in the passenger seat runs the risk of being injured by bullets and glass fragments.

Consider last May, when two Columbus police officers were pursuing a suspect who was shooting at them out of a moving car.  We would later learn the officer wasn't struck by a bullet, but flying shrapnel.

Officers say if the ammo passes testing, it could soon help snipers eliminate the bad guys and keep innocent bystanders out of harm's way.

Police added that the ammunition will be tested thoroughly before officers decide whether to add it to their arsenal.