An improved less-than-lethal projectile for use in hostage, barricade and tactical assault situations has been developed. The projectile is launched from a standoff position and disperse the incapacitating agent oleoresin capsicum in the form of atomized droplets. A literature search followed by an experimental study were conducted of the mechanism of barrier defeat for various shaped projectiles against the targets of interest in this work: window glass, plasterboard and plywood. Some of the trade- offs between velocity, standoff, projectile shape and size, penetration, and residual energy were quantified. Analysis of the ballistic trajectory and recoil, together with calculations of he amount of pepper spray needed to incapacitate the occupants of a typical barricaded structure, indicated the suitability of using a fin stabilized projectile fired from a conventional 37 mm riot control gas gun. Two projectile designs were considered, manufactured and tested. The results of static tests to simulate target impact, together with live firing trials against a variety of targets, showed that rear ejection of the atomized spray was more reproducible and effective than nose ejection. The performance characteristics of the finalized design were investigated in trials using the standard barrier for testing barrier penetrating tear gas agents as defined by the National Institute of Justice.© (1997) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.