On 6/29/20 KOIN reported that the Portland Police Bureau spent $50k on chemical munitions at the start of that month, after George Floyd’s death. Going through the invoices, we can find an inventory of what PPB may have on hand to deploy at protests. Photos from protest attendees of the spent cartridges and canisters provide additional information. Products are often labeled with different colors of writing that can be used to distinguish them even if the words are no longer legible.


Impact munitions include things we might describe as rubber or foam bullets, bean bags, and rubber shot (small pellets packed in a cartridge). Impact munitions can also contain chemical agents or paint (marker rounds). These are shot from a 40mm launcher that looks somewhat like a paintball gun.

Tear gas

Tear gas is a category of chemical agents that cause severe physical pain and breathing difficulties, as well as other health impacts. It can be deployed from a cartridge, canister, or grenade. The chemicals most often used are CS, CN, and OC (like pepper spray).


Grenades such as the Han-Ball and the Pocket Tactical Grenade can be used to deploy chemicals, smoke, pyrotechnics, and pellets — sometimes all in one device.


Some of the canisters and grenades use smoke instead of other chemicals. These smokes are available in several colors, and yellow is common. Smoke is not generally considered a chemical munition like tear gas, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe to breathe.


Police also are equipped with hand-held OC sprays. These have a reach of 10-15 feet away.