A bean bag round (also known as a flexible baton round, although someone appears to have made that a brandname) is a form of less lethal ammunition produced as a more effective and less harmful version of the baton round.
As the name implies the round is very similar to a small bean-bag, consisting of a flexible container loaded with high density microshot - the idea being that the round deforms freely on impact, allowing maximum energy transfer with minimum penetration. If humans spalled, this might act like a HESH round, but since they don't this design reduces the sort of deep tissue injuries that typically lead to deaths from baton round strikes.
The disadvantages of the bean bag round are mainly related to its dreadful aerodynamics - as an amorphous, deformable object it is prone to tumble and suffers badly from air resistance, limiting range and accuracy. It also has virtually no ability to penetrate armour (which arguably isn't much of a problem when shooting at civilians) and is still potentially lethal if it hits the target in the head or neck.
Game and Story Use
- Might actually cause spalling damage against anything with an exoskeleton.
- Absolutely useless against zombies and various other nasties.