A sponge grenade is a riot control weapon, intended to be non-lethal, which is fired from a 40 mm grenade launcher to cause confusion, or otherwise temporarily disable its target. As a single blunt force object, it is best used when aimed at a particular individual.
The projectile weighs about 28 grams (1 ounce). It is bullet-shaped, with a foam rubber nose and a high-density, plastic projectile body.
If used improperly--such as at distances closer than 10 metres--injuries to the targeted individual could prove fatal. Used properly, the weapon is intended to cause no permanent damage, but may, in some cases, cause broken bones, head wounds or permanent damage to eyes. Sponge grenades impacting the upper body or head have killed targeted individuals.
Israel has deployed sponge grenades against Palestinian protesters on several occasions.
Sponge grenades were used by some police departments during the George Floyd Protests in the summer of 2020 and were cited as being one of the most common types of less-lethal rounds employed,. In some cases protesters were struck in the head or face by the rounds, causing serious injury.
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