Why don't police use tranquilizers in their guns instead of bullets?

Surely there is a drug that will stop somebody pretty much in their tracks, or is there no such drug? I was walking my dog and the police helicopter was circling over my area and I had this profound thought

There is no such drug.

There is no such drug, and even if there were you would have to calculate the correct dosage depending on whether you were trying to stop someone who weighs 120 pounds or 350 pounds. Even for people of the same weight, the drug might affect them quite differently.

If you’ve ever seen them doing this on a wildlife show, the animals almost never keels over right away. They may be able to cover a lot of ground before the drug finally brings them down.

Especially with the old adrenaline pumping.

The problem would be in part that some people may have fatal reactions to any type of tranquilizer used. Additionally, certain medications, drugs, or alcohol use could also have fatal or seriously undesirable consquences. Assuming the point here would be to prevent fatal police interactions, these issues would compromise that goal significantly. Nevermind the issue of police officers not being medical professionals and therefore unable to prescribe or administer meds. Or the issue of having a vector for said meds that would adequately penetrate clothing and release the med in the right place (vein, muscle subcutaneous, etc).

Of course, a “smart dart” with a butt-homing device that issued tranquilizing suppositories would make great TV. :smiley:

Adrenaline will sometimes keep a psycho going even after you’ve killed him. There are any number of stories of nuts who were able to keep moving and being generally anti-social even after taking a number of mortal wounds. Tranqs just aren’t going to cut it.

The only time the pistol clears the leather is if you are prepared to terminate the target. Period. No exceptions.

Sometimes more than adrenaline is involved. A person weighing 160 pounds can take a team of four or five to restrain if they’re using some illicit drugs.

In addition, there’s the practical issue of which does an officer carry for standard load? A LEO can’t holler “time out” to eject a clip of tranq and replace it with hydra-shok when a scenario turns for the worse.

Tasers seem to be the only weapon that act the way you describe but experience has shown then to sometimes be lethal despite the claims of the manufacturer.

And, guns that do fire darts are usually heavy, bulky and single shot.

There’s the big problem… If only they made a belt fed version!

While we don’t have a drug for an instant knockdown, do we have anything that will cause extreme pain instantly, which would also drop someone in a ‘less then lethal way’?

Also, “Freeze, or you’re dead” is a bit more of a deterrent than “Freeze, or you’re gonna have a little nap”. You may suddenly find perps being considerably less cooperative.

That’s what tasers are for, though they have some significant drawbacks. They have a somewhat limited range, no repeat-fire capability (so you don’t want to miss) and they occasionally give people heart attacks. Worse, because they’re (usually) non-lethal, some people decide to use them in less-than-threatening situations. Stories of cops tasering nine-year-olds and grannies abound.

Then there’s the whole thing that a goodly percentage of persons the police would like to drop in their tracks are currently under the influence, and there’d have to be a drug that not only dropped them, but that didn’t react badly with any of the drugs they may currently be taking. Alcohol alone interacts in a potentially-deadly way with a number of sedatives (for example).

Not true. Police often tell suspects to exit the car with your hands up, covering the exit with a drawn gun. Certinaly the vast majority of these situations pass with no one bering “terminated”.

But I agree with your sentiment. If you are drawing a gun, that means if you use it, it will be to kill as quickly as possible to protect yourself and those in the community you are policing. They don’t ever intend to “wound”. Several rounds on center of mass is standard OP.

Above it was mentioned that someone may have a reaction to a drug that could be fatal. I suggest it would not be as fatal as the reaction they would have to a small injection of lead!

True. I remember learning in pharmacology class that the recommended dose is based on watching how people’s responses to a drug are all over the charts. Some get intense effects on low doses, some don’t get effects until they are given extremely high doses.

Part of the reason Russia looked bad after the Chechen rebels took over a theater in Moscow in 2002 was because they used a narcotic gas to subdue the rebels. The gas attacks probably caused casualties that may not have been necessary, because dosing for such things is notoriously variable.


Most pistol training involves aiming for the center of mass, because if you miss by a little while aiming for his breastplate, you could still get his shoulder or hip. If you miss by a little bit while aiming for his arm, you could still get the person crossing the road down the street, not to mention entirely missing the person who presumably intends to cause you an uncomfortable degree of bodily harm. Also, your average handgun just isn’t accurate enough to reliably aim for something as small as anything other than the guy’s torso. (Now, if the rifling in the barrel has been filed out, you’d be lucky to hit something as small as the guy’s SUV, as I figured out at a pistol range once)

Also worth noting that police officers are trained such that if they have to shoot someone, they keep shooting until the person is on the ground. When you hear about a suspect getting shot 23 times by police officers, it’s often because he leaned against a wall when the first couple of shots killed him.

The point wasn’t that you don’t draw the gun unless you want to terminate someone, rather that you don’t draw your gun unless you are prepared to use it. If the situation does not call for deadly force, you don’t pull out your gun. You don’t use your gun as a threat unless the threat is real. You don’t have to pull the trigger in every circumstance, but you can’t threaten to pull the trigger unless you are justified in pulling the trigger and ready to pull the trigger.

Exactly. Thank you.