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Flashball - French Police 01.jpg
A flash-ball being fired by a French policeman
TypeLess-lethal launcher
Place of origin France
Production history
VariantsSide-by-side, over-under
ActionStriker fired
Rate of fireDouble-action

Flash-Ball is a registered trademark for a less-lethal hand-held weapon used mainly by law enforcement officers in riot situations as an alternative to lethal firearms, baton rounds, and plastic bullets. It was developed by French hunting firearms manufacturer Verney-Carron.


The weapon exists in two versions of caliber 44/83. The super-pro version features vertically stacked barrels and is made from metal alloys, while the compact version is made from lighter composite materials with the twin barrels side by side. Both versions of the weapon can be used to fire a variety of ammunition although a soft 44 mm rubber ball is the most common.

According to the manufacturer's own publicity, the Flash-Ball's standard round packs the stopping power of a .38 (9 mm) caliber handgun but considerably less kinetic energy per square centimeter, making it unlikely to penetrate the body of a normally clothed person even at ranges down to 5 meters.

This said, various human rights groups have expressed fears that the widespread deployment of such weapons could result in police being less likely to apply non-violent tactics when dealing with potentially dangerous situations.[1]

Safety concerns[edit]

Numerous eye losses, comas, and brain traumas[2] as well as major bone breakages[3][4] and one death due to cardiac arrest have been attributed to the use of "Flash-Ball".[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Amnesty International Report on France 2003". Archived from the original on 14 June 2007. Retrieved 6 July 2007.
  2. ^ Hiquet, Jean; Gromb-Monnoyeur, Sophie (July 2016). "Severe craniocerebral trauma with sequelae caused by Flash-Ball® shot, a less-lethal weapon: Report of one case and review of the literature". Medicine, Science, and the Law. 56 (3): 237–240. doi:10.1177/0025802415587320. ISSN 2042-1818. PMID 26130748.
  3. ^ "Gilets Jaunes: French 'flash-ball' row over riot-gun injuries". BBC News. 18 January 2019. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  4. ^ "Villiers-le-Bel, au bord de l'implosion". Le Monde.fr (in French). 16 June 2009. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  5. ^ "Le rôle "indiscutable" d'un tir de Flash-Ball dans la mort d'un homme à Marseille". Le Monde.fr (in French). 14 December 2010. Retrieved 5 October 2020.

External links[edit]