Fairfax police switch patrol shotguns for ‘less-lethal' beanbag guns

The Northern Virginia police department says the guns offer another option for officers during "less-lethal use situations

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The Fairfax County Police Department has switched out patrol shotguns for a less-lethal alternative.

The department took 800 shotguns out of its circulation and put 630 beanbag shotguns into use.

"This new solution provides officers with an additional option they can use when faced with less-lethal use situations," police said in a release on Wednesday.

Outfitted in bright orange with the phrase "Less Lethal" on the side, the beanbag shotguns look different than the original guns.

The color change helps officers know that the shotgun is equipped with a less-lethal beanbag projectile, police said.

All patrol officers were required to undergo training on how to use the less-lethal guns, and they were taught the appropriate areas to target to minimize major injuries, the department said.

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