*LAST UPDATED 21 October 2020 – Started Going through and completely re-working entire organizational layout and started greatly expanded Less-Than-Lethal section (and gas) – Mostly standardized*

This serves as a referential guide for the new protestor who is less familiar with firearms/equipment, and to avoid confusion or a panic while in the streets. I will add to it as time, ability, and information permits. Feel free to reach out to [email protected] or @ClassJihad on Twitter for questions/input/corrections.


  1. General [Lethal] Firearms (Categories & Descriptions)
    1. Longarms
      1. Rifles
      2. Assault Rifles
        1. AR-15/AR Platform
      3. Shotguns
      4. [Sub]Machine Guns
    2. Handguns
      1. Revolvers/Pistols
  2. Vehicles
    1. ‘Paddy Wagon’
    2. Trucks/Humvees
    3. Armored Cars/[Non]/Treaded APCs
    4. Tanks
    5. LRADs
  3. Less-than-lethal
    1. General Description
    2. Shoot-ables
      1. Visual Cues
      2. Sponge Grenades
      3. Pepper-ball
      4. Beanbag Slugs
  4. Gas
    1. Description

General [Lethal] Firearms





Example of Police Sniper Team

This is going to be the hunting rifle, the bolt-action, and your “sniper rifle.” Think World War I (1914-1918). 9 times out of 10 it is going to be a civilian open-carry with a bolt-action or the police sharpshooter (sniper) on the roof.

  • Note – Snipers are almost always deployed when a protest is near government property or if there is a fear of rioting. Very common and don’t let anyone try to spook you. Make no mistake they are deadly.

A 30-06 Hunting Rifle

Assault Rifles

This is going to be your semi-automatic/automatic rifles carried by the police/military and almost always by 3%er Open Carry guys. Most are familiar with the AR-15 or the AK-47, but there are plenty of different ones, but you likely won’t see anything that looks too different from an AR-15 in general form. They are designed to be useful in most situations and are used by everything and everyone.

  • Note – The (A)(R)maLite)-15 is essentially the M16 of the US Army, except most AR-style rifles are semi-automatic (the original M16 was automatic but soldiers wasted too many bullets). Think how there is a ton of AK-47-esque (Warsaw Pact) rifles, there is a ton of AR-15-esque (NATO) rifles.

M4-style Carbine decked out (as many assault rifles are) that replaced the M16

The ‘Threeper’ Symbol

Remington 5.56 Rifle

  • Note – A “3%er/Threeper/Three Percenter” is an armed member of the right-wing/constitutionalist militia groups that takes its name from the idea that only 3% of would-be-Americans in the British 13 Colonies picked up arms in revolt. Not homogeneous but most militia groups are of this vein (easily confused with moderate militias). Identified by being decked out in a Smörgåsbord of mix-matched surplus/paramilitary kit (i.e. gear/uniform). Defend far-right and private property (from looting), and are usually bad guys.

Vietnam-era M16A1 Assault Rifle

Example of what they look-like, not saying anything about these guys in particular


My gun–Remington 870 12ga Magnum Express–and highly recommended

Similar to what police would likely have–Mossberg-esque Tactical 12ga

A common household/home defense weapon. Designed for close-quarters shooting or small-moving birds in flight. Less-regulated and cheaper, they are common among open-carry folks, and some police may have them. Less sophisticated than the [assault] rifle, it fires plastic shells packed with numerous small metal beads (i.e. shot – either larger/buckshot or smaller/birdshot), single solid piece of lead (i.e. slug/pumpkin shot, or anything that can be packed in (e.g. bean-bags or rock-salt). By-and-large you will see pump-action shotguns. Like Terminator, you pump a slide along the barrel to set-up a shell to fire, one at time. There are also break-action shotguns (think farmer who finds a crashed UFO), which “snaps” the barrel open to allow to replacement of shells directly into the barrel.

  • Note – They make a variety of less-than-lethal 12 gauge slugs that are perfect for self-defense at rallies and home. A plastic slug has half the velocity (c. 700 feet per second) and is directed towards a single target. Don’t want to fire birdshot into a crowd and hit bystanders – defeats the point, really.

“What in tarnation?! Gene, come quick! Something strange crashed in the front yard!”

[Sub]Machine Guns

The actual machine guns bulky really rapid-firing guns that are mounted on tanks, humvees, and are not designed to be super mobile without assistance (e.g. on a tripod). A sub[compact]machine gun is designed to be a light-weight/individual rapid firing weapon for situations like indoors. Think a machine gun as something an 80s Rambo/Schwarzenegger would have, and a submachine gun is the 1930s “Tommy gun” of a bootlegger. An Uzi is another great example of submachine gun. Whether you see one, it varies a lot on where you are. German police are always carrying one if armed but is more SWAT than Hawaii Five-0.

  • Note – It is easy to think that an automatic assault rifle (AK-47 or Vietnam era M16A1) is little different from a submachine gun, but its like how you text “on my way.” Technically you are both on the way if you are putting on your shoe, or sprinting and driving out of the parking lot at 30 mph. How quickly you are on the way is different. Not this extreme, but you get the point.

German Heckler & Koch (M)achinen(P)istole 5





Called a sidearm as its the “backup” gun, smaller, and will see every soldier carrying one. Two kinds: A pistol with a removable magazine (that little stick filled with bullets that goes into the handle – not a clip) or a revolver with a spinning chamber (i.e. the stereotypical cowboy gun – the pig iron on his hip). The only thing to make note of is that KKKlansmen frequently fire pull out and fire a handgun in the midst of a scuffle over flags or statues.

Smith & Wesson .38 Special Snub-nose Revolver – Excellent small beginner’s pistol for the purse or the dash

A Klansman firing during the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA

[SUB]MACHINE GUNS – The actual machine guns bulky really rapid-firing guns that are mounted on tanks, humvees, and are not designed to be super mobile without assistance (e.g. on a tripod). A sub[compact]machine gun is designed to be a light-weight/individual rapid firing weapon for situations like indoors. Think a machine gun as something an 80s Rambo/Schwarzenegger would have, and a submachine gun is the 1930s “Tommy gun” of a bootlegger. An Uzi is another great example of submachine gun. Whether you see one, it varies a lot on where you are. German police are always carrying one if armed but is more SWAT than Hawaii Five-0.

  • Note – It is easy to think that an automatic assault rifle (AK-47 or Vietnam era M16A1) is little different from a submachine gun, but its like how you text “on my way.” Technically you are both on the way if you are putting on your shoe, or sprinting and driving out of the parking lot at 30 mph. How quickly you are on the way is different. Not this extreme, but you get the point.


‘Paddy Wagon’

These are the big police vehicles that usually look like ambulances, are used for mass arrests. They can hold far more people than the back of a run-of-the-mill LAPD squad car, and if you see them they likely intend to make mass-arrests. Like they don’t just park them for no reason. Before a large police offense against protestors, you can find them nearby in a staging area. This should tip you off to what the cops are thinking.

Paddy Wagon–called so because it was used to haul a bunch of Irish people (St. Paddy’s Day)



Most are familiar with the Hummer trucks as being a copy of the US military’s (H)igh (M)obility (M)ultipurpose (W)heeled (V)ehicle (i.e. HMMWV or Humvee). National Guard green-brown splotched camouflaged trucks can be seen on the high-way frequently, and the sight of many in succession could likely mean they are being deployed (if not just milling about). Trucks mean the military, and with them comes Humvees. When the National Guard is deployed en masse to line the streets, Humvees can be seen–typically with a soldier manning the machine gun through a hole in the roof. Humvees are simply the go-to vehicle and can be compared to the cops squad-car. If the military is deployed, these come with it (they didn’t walk).

National Guard HMMWV deployed in LA

Armored Cars/[Non]/Treaded APCs

This is important as misinformation around (A)rmored (P)ersonnel (C)arriers when the authorities bring out the big guns. Think of the APCs to be the “step-up” from Humvees in the ladder of militarization. They are military, and the issuing of APCs to local county police departments is a major aspect of the militarization of police. They are somewhat self-explanatory in that it is an armored vehicle that’s main purpose is to transport soldiers to the place of battle. Not cops to SWAT your Twitch-streaming neighbor. The assumption is that the soldiers are facing more-than-ordinary opposition, and the car has to be able to defend itself enough. They can be heavily armed compared to everything in the rural Tennessee town in which it is deployed.

  • Note – APCs can be treaded or non-treated (wheels). While many have several sets of wheels (an armored car, after all), they can have the strips of metal that usually come to mind when you think of a tank from World War II (1939-1945). You will hear it all the time about “tanks” deployed here-or-there, but this is not the case. The presence of tank-treads does NOT make it a tank, and that distinction is important. Treaded APCs are common internationally, but a definitely a sign of militarization. However, treaded APCs are for powerful riots like the Ferguson Uprising (2014), and tanks are were deployed at Tienanmen Square (1989).

More ‘Traditional Military’ Police Armored Car

Less ‘Traditional Military’ Police Armored Car

Treaded APC


These are the biggest guns the authorities have and they have a single function, and that is to project power and destroy. Somewhat dated in modern non-positional warfare, particularly in tight urban combat (limited visibility), but like the dated battleship (Pre-Cold War) it is still what it is. Like the Soviet Union deployed tanks to crush uprisings in East Germany (1953), Hungary (1956), and during the Czechoslovakian Prague Spring (1968). That is where the term “tankie” comes from, and it does not lend to moderate positions on dealing with the political opposition protesting in the streets. When you see a modern US Army Abrams tank in the streets, it has passed a certain point–bugaloo time.

US Army Abrams Tank



Lastly, there is a riot control vehicle that is frequently the cause of dis-concern, the (L)ong (R)ange (A)coustic (D)evice. It is a special directional weapon that I have only seen them attached to the tops of police APCs. It basically fires a loud sound in a cone-shape that is swept across a crowd to cause them to retreat in pain. The sound is INCREDIBLY painful, and a person has no choice but to retreat to the limits of its reach. An LRAD was deployed at Charlottesville, VA (2017) to break up the crowd of medics attending Heather Heyer, and others, literally moments after the car attack. As far as I know it is not lethal, but who would really roll those dice? It is possible a way can be devised to protect against the sound waves, but I know of none so far.

  • LRAD’s can get up 160 decibels in volume. A normal conversation is 65 decibels, a sub-sonic .22LR is 68 decibels, and anything above 85 decibels is serious damaging. Article about dealing with the LRAD.

Police LRAD during the Ferguson Uprising


This is fairly important as you will hear talk about “less-than-lethals” and you will hear people in the crowd small talk about them. Take note, less-than-lethal (LTL) are NOT non-lethal, and they CAN kill or serious injury you depending on what type it was and where you got hit. There is a lot of popular confusion around firearms, and don’t believe they won’t shoot. As long as it is less-than-lethal, it is pretty much a green light to fire without discrimination. The good news is that you can use them as well, and if you are using less-than-lethal rounds, you open up the ability to fire on the far-right without the intent to kill.

Keep in mind that they DO NOT make less-than-lethal 5.56/.223 rounds for the AR platform (i.e. the stereotypical American rifle referenced above). If they are carrying something like that, know that it doesn’t fire a cork tied to a string.

Note – There is a picture that has made the rounds depicting a US soldier in DC occupying the streets with a suppressed rifle. The elongated tube at the end of the rifle is a suppressor, sometimes called a “silencer,” and it reduces the sound of a gun by compensating some of the explosive force. They are not run-of-the-mill gear, and the use of one means only one thing—the discrete killing of protestors in DC during the 6-hour media blackout which resulted in over 1000 missing people.

Taken in DC the night of the 1pm media blackout–the night Trump “inspected” his bunker

Contemporary US Marine with Suppressed Rifle

The less-than-lethal weapons can be broken down into throw-able or shoot-able.



The shoot-able LTLs of the police are usually in a weapon separate from the lethal assault rifles and the like, or they attempt to mark their firearm as LTL. If they are separate, and these are identified, than you will know what you are up against.

LTL Examples – the red-white pokemon looking ball is a pepper-ball and the Humvee has an LRAD

Rubberbullets/Sponge Grenades

First, you have the large foam-miniball slugs (sponge grenades) fired from what looks like a 40mm grenade launcher. These are one of the more deadly, and they were used at Standing Rock with carelessness. They will shatter ribs and, if used under 10 meters, it can be fatal. Fired at elderly people and children during the pipeline protest, they will surely fire on you. Pigs during the NO-(D)akota (A)cess (P)ipe(L) (2016-2017) protests would soak the foam head with water so it would freeze, and become paralyzing or worse.

Sponge grenades and break-action launcher (notice back AR-style and front bulky 40mm barrel)

Pepperballs/OC Capsules

There are also pepper-balls. They are small paint-ball sized spheres the have pepper-spray, and they are fired from what is essentially a paintball gun. The ones I encountered had a “revving/winding-up” sound that reminded me of any video games “chaingun” or an industrial turbine. Can take out an eye, sure, but lower on the lethal list of LTLs. Negligible discomfort when shot.

Example of Pepperball During an Expo

Hard to find US cops in action with them, but here Hong Kong police use them identically

New-type of pepper-ball gun that appears less like a paint-ball gun

  • Note – See how the US-used pepper-ball guns are denoted with a distinctive color. I would recommend doing the same for your firearm if you are open carrying with the use of less-than-lethal rounds/shells.

Pepperball Handgun

Police officers fire rubber bullets after a protest over the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man in police custody in Minneapolis, in Los Angeles, Saturday, May 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Beanbag Rounds

Beanbag Shotgun LTL Shell

Finally, there are the traditional LTLs fired from normal shotguns. I touched on them earlier, but the beanbag is the most commonly used by the authorities. I recommend the rubber slug. With these, it is harder to detect and more painful. Be VERY careful if beanbags and the like are being fired. Wear headgear and goggles. Get a bump-cap for your trucker hat or construction helmet.

Example of LTL shotgun rubber hull slug

A Non-shotgun LTL .38 Revolver Round

A National Guard personnel points a rubber bullet gun at protesters during a protest against the death in Minneapolis in police custody of African-American man George Floyd, in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. June 1, 2020. REUTERS/Dustin Chambers – RC2R0H9BPKNN


A protester throws back to police a tear gas canister during clashes in Taksim square in Istanbul, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Hundreds of police in riot gear forced through barricades in Istanbul’s central Taksim Square early Tuesday, pushing many of the protesters who had occupied the square for more than a week into a nearby park. (AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

Finally, there is the gas. Tear gas is synonymous with protests and riot control. It feels and smells like someone throwing Fireball in your eyes. Overhearing cops and collecting what was fired has confirmed what was fired.

The main component of a tear gas canister is CS gas, and it is actually a solid at room temperature. The heat produced by the toxic mixture within the grenade aerosolizes the tear gas, which is more like a powder than anything. The heat generated frequently causes the immediate surroundings to catch fire (not protestors, ironically). The most important thing to know about it is that as actually a solid–not a gas at all–it sticks to everything. It sticks strongest to organic fibers, like cotton jeans or bandanas, but less so to synthetic fibers.


Quebec Police fire a gas canister point-blank into a woman

There are a lot of tricks surrounding tear-gas, and dealing with it. The frequent go-to is the running of milk or basicified/diluted antacid water (to cancel out acidic tear gas), but it is recommended that still normal water is NOT used. Much like drinking water after eating way too hot wings, the water only temporarily displaces the burning substance, and the burning comes right back as the water dissipates. Potatoes and beer help with hot sauce for the same reason as milk.

If you are gas’d, it is important that you do NOT touch your face (COVID-19 rules) out of the risk of spreading it around. Likely your clothes will be drenched in it, and you will want to change. I recommend wearing a synthetic-fiber tank-top/undershirt and long-sleeve synthetic-fiber shirt under your cotton t-shirt/top layer. The long-sleeve protects your upper body (also possible with synthetic-fiber pants/long johns/track pants for lower body), and when your bandana/surgical mask is rendered useless–you can wrap your tank-top/muscle shirt around your head (protecting from continual expose to gas). Drenching your mask in vinegar or water helps because it creates more surface area to absorb the powder, and anything to the effect of externalizing surface area would work. Be creative.

For your eyes, any covering is better than nothing. I personally use blocky work safety glasses that can cover reading-glasses, but goggles would be ideal. Don’t use some gas mask you bought from a soviet-surplus store unless you have filters, and ensure that the rubber lining has not deteriorated (by old age). You don’t want gas trapped like it was one of those novelty weed-smoking ones.

Be sure to have strong/thick enough gloves to pick up the smoking gas canisters to toss back, or it will burn you. It is the gas canister’s self-immolation that frequently causes fires to break-out, and you don’t want them around anyway. They are also pretty solid, and SWIM messed up their foot pretty badly kicking them back (in sneakers). Steel-toe worked much better.

Examples of tear gas canisters, flash-bang/non-CM gas pin, and pepper-ball picked up

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that tear gas is actually very harmful. Do not forget that these metal cylinders are being fired at a crowd–virtually point-blank. They are hefty enough to bust open your head or to kill assuredly. I saw my friend, during the first-ever use of gas locally (as far as I know), get struck severely upon the head. The gash needed serious medical attention, it was a bloody affair, and shortly after another guy lost his eye the same way.

It can cause burns after prolonged contact with the skin (reason for the non-organic full-body undergarment), and will permanently damage your ability to see, and greatly increases the risk of respiratory illness (during a Pandemic to boot).

As everyone loves to point out, tear gas is banned from use in war by the 1925 Geneva Protocol. However, the United States ensured the legality of tear gas against civilians specifically through the insertion of Article II (9)(d) into the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention.

Article II (9)(d) of the 1993 CWC reads: “Riot control agents may not be used as a method of warfare but may be used for certain law enforcement purposes including riot control.”



*I will add more about gas and other grenades at a later point–when I have more information*

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