Shoot me with a"Rubber" bullet

…what would it feel like? Might it pierce the skin? … put out an eye? …leave a welt?

Are they shot from “normal” guns? …shaped like “normal” bullets? …literally rubber?

It could feel like being dead if you were somewhat unlucky.

Also note that some of those rubber bullets have metal in them.

The photo at top shows a 37-mm round, with its “brass” in the background. So it would appear to be available as a self-contained cartridge like those used in conventional modern firearms, but the diameter is such that we’re not talking about a handgun; it’ll be something like this.

How would it feel?

Items like this and tasers used to be categorized as “non-lethal”, but I think the category is gradually being renamed “less-lethal,” with recognition that these things do sometimes kill.

If you follow the “See Also” links on the Wikipedia page, you’ll see a variety of other gun-launched projectiles besides bullet-shaped pieces of rubber.

Like getting beaten with a club. So yeah, can kill, put out an eye, break bones…

Thankfully, the worst anyone I knew personally got was really bad bruising. Never got hit by one myself, although a couple came close.

IIRC from news reports, the rubber bullets typically used for “advanced” riot control (eg. Northern Ireland at demonstrations during the “troubles”) are fairly hard rubber , and then fired so they skip across the ground at a very fast rate of speed. They can cause severe bruising, and if you are hit right or in the wrong place, can cause brain injuries and broken bones.

Except for the rubber bullets used by the IAF in Palestine for crowd control when they are not using live ammunition. These are apparently fairly large metal ball bearings with a not thick coating of rubber . These can definitely break bones and smash skulls, depending on where and how they hit.

All in all, this is not a game of dodge ball.

ETA - link shows better examples.

There are many cases of protesters having their eyes destroyed after being hit in the face by rubber bullets.

They are not small. The ones used in Quebec are about 15 cm long, and about 8 cm in diameter.

Did you mean mm? Or are Quebecois really using rubber bullets bigger than a soda can?

Missed edit:

So upon googling, they really are that long, though the ones I found were more like 4cm in diameter.

I thought I had read that the ones used in northern Ireland decades ago were the size of a tennis ball and fired by being stuck on the end of a gun barrel. they would (were supposed to) skip across the ground taking out shins, provided they were aimed right; but like any fastball, the bounces could be unpredictably dangerous.

Rubber bullets were invented by the British Ministry of Defence for use against people in Northern Ireland during The Troubles and were first used there in 1970.

It’s a shame those slugs ain’t real.

I know a guy that got hit by one, he said a cross between being hit by a fast pitch hardball and a overpowered paintball at close range. Knocked his breath out, hurt, caused a deep bruise, but after a day or so of ice and scotch was fine.

I asked my son (a prison corrections officer) about rubber bullet use in his prison. Although he is trained and certified in its use, he told me they are not something typically worthwhile/needed/used. For something like an escape attempt, they use real bullets. For cell extraction (prisoner ordered to leave their cell and they refuse) they use a team of officers trained specifically for cell extraction with shields and clubs. For small scale rioting, teargas is used.

An additional question: what about the “beanbag” rounds? Do they have the same sort of impact or injury potential as a solid rubber round?


Pretty much anything travelling fast enough to cause pain (that is, enough pain to compel the target to disengage) carries the potential for injury.

I’ve seen rubber slugs and rubber buckshot for shotguns as well. Along with beanbag rounds there’s a minimum distance required or else the round can cause serious or even lethal injury. I recall one case from Canada years ago where a beanbag round was fired from a shotgun at a suspect down a hallway, range IIRC around 10-15 feet. The range was too short for the beanbag to unfold all the way into a floppy square and it penetrated the suspect’s chest cavity, killing him.

I’ve also heard of… pepperball (?) grenades used in prison. They’re like a flashbang, but spray out hard rubber balls as well. They toss them into melees to beak up fights. Saw them used in a behind the scenes show about prison guards to stop a brawl in a cafeteria. They were quite effective.

The ones I am familar with, come in two varieties. The Rubber round, and then a hard plastic round. Both are about 4 inches long and have a diameter of a quarter coin. The weapon used to fire the projectile looked like an M-79 blooper, and SOP was to depress the weapon and induce a skip in the round from what I am told.

What its actual purpose was eludes me, normally it was used in conjuction with CS gas and Smoke, but apparently never in salvo.

I’ve seen ones that are larger than that. They look more mushroom-shaped.

“My kid was shot by a cop.” You have no idea how proud I am to be able to utter that phrase.

Luckily, it was a beanbag. He posted a pic after a bit of rioting he was part of. Huge bruise that took up most of his stomach, maybe 8" in diameter. Couldn’t have hurt too bad: along with the photo was the caption “Best night of my life”.