U.S. Department of Justice


Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives





Martinsburg,  WV  25405


www.atf.gov               OCT        2014









Mr. Mark Barnes

Mark Barnes & Associates 1350 I Street NW Suite 260

Washington, D.C. 20005 Dear Mr. Barnes:

This refers to your letter of May 27, 2014, to the Firearms Technology Branch (FTB), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) regarding the classification of the PIEXON JET PROTECTOR JP-4 liquid irritant dispensing device. Two Piexon JP-4 devices, twenty practice cartridges, and twenty irritant cartridges were enclosed. The items and correspondence were submitted on behalf of your clients, Piexon AG (Switzerland), and U.S. Persona] Defense Products, LLC of Phoenix, Arizona.


As you are aware, the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA), 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(3), defines the term

"firearm"to include the following:


...(A) any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may be readily converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; (B) theframe or receiver of any such weapon; (C) anyfirearm mujjler or silencer; or (DJ any destructive device. Such term does not include an antique firearm.


Further, 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)( 17){A) defines the term "ammunition "as "ammunition or cartridge cases, primers, bullets, orpropellant powder designedfor use in anyfirearm.,,


In addition, the National Firearms Act (NFA), 26 U.S.C.§ 5845(a),defines "firearm" as-


...(1) a shotgun having a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length; (2) a weapon madefrom a shotgun if such weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length; (3) a rifle having a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length;


(4)  a l...'eapon made.from a rifle if such weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length; (5) any other weapon, as defined in subsection (e); (6) a machinegun; (7) any silencer (as defined in 18 US.C. § 921); and (8) a destructive device. The term ''firearm" shall not include an antiquefirearm or any device (other than a machinegun or destructive device) which, although designed as a weapon, the Secretaryfinds by reason of the date of its manufacture, value, design, and other characteristics isprimarily a

collector's item and is not likely to be used as a weapon.


The NFA, § 5845(e), defines "any other weapon" as-


...any weapon or device capable of being concealed on theperson from which a shot can be discharged through the energy of an explosive, a pistol or revolver having a smooth bore designed or redesigned tofire afixed shotgun shell, weapons with combination shotgun and rifle barrels 12 inches or more, Less than 18 inches in length,from which only a single discharge can be madefrom either barrel without manual reloading, and shall include any such weapon which may be readily restored tofire.  Such term shall not include a pistol or revolver having a rifled bore, or rifled bores, or weapons designed, made, or intended to befired from the shoulder and not capable offiring fixed ammunition.


Finally, 27 CFR Section 447.21 (The U.S. Munitions Import List), enumerates the items subject to impott controls as defense articles. CATEGORY XIV-TOXICOLOGICAL AGENTS AND EQUIPMENT AND RADIOLOGICAL EQUIPMENT, includes the following:


(a)   Chemical agents, including but not limited to lung irritants, vesicants, lachrymators, and tear gases (except tear gasformulations containing 1% or less CN or CS), stemutators and irritant smoke, and nerve gases and incapacitating agents.


Piexon, AG, in Aarwangen, Switzerland, manufactured the submitted device(s). The JP-4 is designed to dJscharge a liquid irritant, containing 1.5-percent Capsaicin, from the four polymer chambers, each of which is designed to accept a 14mm Piexon cartridge (14mm x 109mm).


Below are the stated specifications of this device, as confirmed by FTISB:


Product name Manufacturer Length

Height Width

Weight (empty) Weight (loaded) Range



-Piexon AG, CH-Aarwangen.

-7-1/2 inches.

-5-3/4 inches.

-1-5/8 inches.

-15 oz

-21 oz

-Approximately 5 feet (minimum), 21 feet (maximum).

-4, 14mm Piexon cartridges, each with a marked capacity of "2x 10 g."

-Practice cartridges have green plastic tips and contain water, glycerin and food grade dye.

-Irritant cartridges have orange plastic tips and contain 1.5% Capsaicin.


The FTISB evaluation included attempts to load conventional ammunition cartridges- these attempts were unsuccessful , confirming that the JP-4 is not designed to utilize conventional rimfire or centerfire fireann ammunition. In addition, the JP-4 frame is not compatible with conventional firearm barrels, and does not constitute the frame or receiver of a fireann.


In closing, the PIEXON JET PROTECTOR JP-4, as examined herein, does not constitute a "firearm" as defined in the GCA or a "firearm" or "any other weapon" as defined inthe NFA. These items may be imported into the United States without an ATF Form 6. Also, the 14m.m Piexon irritant and practice cartridges designed for this device do not constitute "ammunition" as defined in the GCA.



These determinations are relevant to the JP-4 device and 14mm Piexon cartridges as submitted and examined by our office. Any alterations or modifications would subject the device and cartridges to further review.


We thank you for your inquiry and trust the foregoing has been responsive to your request for an evaluation.  Please contact our office to arrange the return of the JP-4 samples and the practice cartridges, as well as the appropriate disposition of the irritant cartridges.



Sincerely yours,





Acting Chief, Firearms Technology Criminal Branch




Piexon JP-4:


JP-4 and cartridges: