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GRAND PRAIRIE (CBS11) – The Grand Prairie Police Department is hoping to save lives with the use of a new firearm and special ammo it’s giving to patrol officers to carry every day on the street.

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The gun looks a little like a “toy gun,” featuring bright, orange features.

Less Than Lethal shotgun (Jeff Paul – CBS11)

But the “Less Than Lethal” shotguns Grand Prairie Police is using are the real deal.

“It’s a whole lot better than shooting a 12-gauge shotgun,” said Officer Mark Yancey. “I got into this career to save peoples’ lives, not take them.”

On each shift, instead of the normal, lethal shotgun, several patrols officers are now carrying the “Less Than Lethal” shotguns and “Super Sock” ammo rounds that are filled with small, metal pellets.

“Very, very painful. It’s not going to feel good at all,” said Sgt. Anthony Hogan. “It’s going to make you want to quit what you’re doing.”

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It is different than bean bag rounds and rubber bullets. Sgt. Hogan said the new technology uses traditional shotgun shells, making the guns more accurate.

The rounds are clear and labeled so officers can see what is inside before they load their weapon. The guns are also labeled and colored a certain way so when they fire their guns, there is zero confusion.

Unlike tasers, which carry an average maximum distance of 25 feet, Sgt. Hogan estimates the new guns can be used up to 25 yards away.

Sgt. Hogan said the “Less Than Lethal” guns are to be utilized in situations where deadly force would be justified.

“He might get bruises, he could get a broken bone, but that’s better than being shot and dead,” said Sgt. Hogan.

The Grand Prairie police officers feel it is one more tool they are hoping help them better protect and serve.

“This gives us an opportunity to not only safely send our officers home at night but also gives us the opportunity to take the guy into the custody with the least amount of injury so we can get them help they need,” said Officer Yancey.

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GPPD said as an additional safeguard, if an officer has a “Less Than Lethal” shotgun and ammo, it is forbidden and against policy to carry a traditional shotgun or any live, shotgun rounds at the same time.