Building a better mouse trap: The J & N Tactical Bang Stick
As most in the law enforcement community know, the Noise Flash Diversionary Device (NFDD) is a tool used by tactical teams to briefly distract suspects in order to reduce the risk of death and serious physical injury for all involved. They create this distraction (in theory) by surprising those in close proximity with a bright light, big boom, and slightly elevated atmospheric pressure. Sounds simple enough, but this special ops wake up call definitely has some potential rough edges.
Suffice it to say that any question concerning NFDD's and the potential for causing death or serious physical injury has been asked and answered with a resounding "YES," and responsible SWAT operators have worked diligently for the past twenty years to address this concern.
Looking back at past tragedies reveals that the critical issue for NFDD injuries is contact during ignition. Most tactical folks understand this, and for many years the prevention strategy revolved around "toss accuracy" training, product design changes, and re-thinking how the device was actually being deployed, specifically: inside the structure or out and if in, tossed as opposed to being dropped just inside the door.
None of these efforts fully addressed the problem, and the on going search for safe and effective deployment led progressive teams to expand their use of "second story" NFDD systems into every day use. High speed operators had been igniting bangs attached to long poles during second floor operations since the late 1980's. This wasn't out of concern for safety, but out of necessity.
They recognized that the delay from breach to upstairs access could have fatal consequences-absent a distraction that regained the SWAT initiative. The "bang stick" allowed a ground crew to ignite the device inside a second story window as the entry team approached, dramatically increasing their probability of success.
The devices worked well in these situations, and teams that critically examined the potential benefits made the bang stick transition for "normal" operations in fairy short order. The second story pole was much too long, so most teams used home made "break and rake" tools with the device taped to the short leg and ignited by pulling a wire rope.
It is important to note that their most popular device is the BP6000, which unlike the vast majority of “bang sticks” I have been exposed to is a straight pole. It was beautifully made out of solid steel, with carbide tips and teeth for raking the glass. Industrial strength to say the least, it was clearly designed to take years of use/abuse.
Likewise, several commented that the "L" shaped pole allowed them to take a better off set to the window, facilitating a position of cover. It simply came down to individual preference. By the way, J & N has an "L" shaped pole as well.
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