SALT is a non-lethal, self-defense gun. The weapon has been created by a start-up company called Salt Supply. This product is more akin to a paintball gun than a more traditional firearm. It lets you defend yourself against attackers in a simple, clean and more importantly, non-lethal way. It's also non-lethal for the user or anyone who accidentally finds it. Instead of bullets, SALT gun fires small rounds filled with a powdered chemical that explodes on impact. The chemical creates temporary blindness, lung constriction and irritates skin on contact. It is definitely uncomfortable and painful but it doesn't cause potentially mortal wounds.
The story begins
According to the Salt Supply Company, SALT gun was created "with the mission to help keep the people you love safe by providing everyone access to the most forward-thinking defense technology available. But like most great things that are worth doing, our company started from a personal story – a personal need for something better."
Salt Supply Company was founded in 2015 when Adam Kennedy and his wife moved from California to Chicago. They bought their first home and were understandably excited. Several days later, a tragic shooting rocked their dream.
The couple clearly began to question the safety of the neighborhood and decided to do something about it. They got together with Andy McIntosh, the then Head of Engineering at Honeywell. The aim was to see how they could improve their personal protection without having to resort to lethal weapons, items that are against the law or could seriously harm other men and women. They happened to be neighbors. Having brainstormed their options, they were left with two realistic options. One was a traditional firearm, which requires training, licensing and had the potential to take life. The second was pepper spray or tasers which are non-lethal but limited range.
SALT gun is born
So the team decided to build a device that all members of the family could use and feel confident in its stopping potential. After many long nights, brilliant engineers' input and some breakthroughs, they finally succeeded. The decision to combine the empowering feeling of a gun with the use of pepper spray-like ammunition. The "bullets" (or better yet pellets) are fired by getting powered by air instead of gunpowder and have an area of effect, so you don't need any practice or skill to land a precise hit.
At first, they build a prototype for use by their families, however, they decided that perhaps they should share their invention with the world. They quit their existing jobs and focussed on building pepper sprays guns. Adam Kennedy says,
Now, as each and every member of Salt continues to come to work every day to help keep you and the people you love as safe as possible, we are expanding our products and ambition in order to keep our promise to you. To continue to find, design and build the absolute best, most dependable technology that you can trust when you and your family need them most.
SALT gun's stopping power
SALT state that their gun's chemical compounds are more potent than those used by the Department of Homeland Security and the US Military. The shots contain the active ingredient oleoresin capsicum derived from ghost peppers. This chemical causes disorientation and breathing difficulties. Contact with exposed skin will also create intense burning sensations on site. As horrid as these effects seem, they will not cause permanent damage and the effects last for "only" 50 minutes.
Of course in cases of allergies to the contained chemicals, effects might be somewhat more chronic.
As previously mentioned, SALT gun replaces gunpowder with compressed air to fire its shots. This removes the loud bang and recoil suffered by traditional firearms. This makes the SALT gun much easier to use and safer. The area of effect of the projectile also means you don't need to be very accurate, especially not face to face.
In the line of fire
Imagine some pesky intruder who decides to enter your home, perhaps trying to kick open your door or break through a window. You will be able to fire a shot into the area around the break-in. This will release a cloud of the chemical which forms a barrier that takes down the intruder, whilst you remain out of harm's way. Not too shabby.
The chemical has a response time of several seconds. Visual impairment, coughing and skin irritation began almost instantly after exposure. The effects gradually diminish over the next 15 to 30 minutes but this does depend on dose and exposure time. The chemical is designed to hang in the air so it is more easily inhaled and increases its potential to access mucous membranes and exposed skin areas. The chemical cloud hangs in the air for around 3 to 5 minutes.
One single SALT round creates a cloud around 1.2 meters by 1.5 meters. Rounds have an exit velocity of around 97 meters per second and an impact energy similar to that of around 80 kph. It also has a 7-round CO2 magazine which allows you to fire several times. SALT state that its chemical base has been classified as safe and effective by 5,000 + agencies. These include the Department of Homeland Security, US Military and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
Shots are accurate up to 36 meters away (approximately 120 feet) which obliterates the range of more traditional pepper sprays and tasers.
Shoot for the moon
This pepper spray gun is a real story of hope out of tragedy. If that unfortunate fatal shooting hadn't occurred, perhaps this new form of self-defense would never have been born. In a world with growing safety fears this non-lethal form of self-defense certainly is appealing. For anyone not living in the US, the idea of owning a gun for defense can be a taboo subject. This weapon may well be an answer.
Its usability, lack of recoil, lack of lethality and area of effect will be enticing for families and those who wouldn't feel comfortable using a live firearm or search for a better solution. This alternative will allow them to protect themselves
There are of course critics of the defense gun who brought up potential issues such as propellant leakage that may well render the weapon useless when you need it. Also, in case that the intruder is actually armed the stakes may well not be in your favor if they perceive SALT gun as a real firearm. In that sense, you can buy much better gear that will prepare you for action besides a gun with pepper spray.
Detractors aside, the SALT gun is a bold and innovative solution to common worry for, well anyone. The future of this self-defense gun will be interesting to watch.
Written by Christopher McFadden