[REVIEW] The Byrna HD – Non-Lethal Self-Defense

The Byrna HD is a non-lethal self-defense device, which the company calls a ‘personal security device’. It’s an interesting concept that shoots 68 caliber projectiles filled with something you don’t want to personally make contact with; a concoction of irritants.

From the Byrna website:

Byrna HD Self-Defense Rounds come in two variants: (1) Byrna Black and (2) Jingle Balls. Upon impact, the rounds implode and create a cloud of powdered irritants. Inhalation of the powder and eye exposure will cause respiratory coughing and eye irritation, respectively. Byrna Black rounds contain pepper spray (OC), tear gas (CS), and PAVA. Jingle Balls contain only pepper spray (OC).

I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t seem like a fun day.

Related Videos: Sootch00 Exclusive Review: Byrna HD Personal Security Device

What we’re reviewing today is the Byrna HD Desert Sand Kit, which comes with the Byrna device, co2 cartridges, two types of training rounds, as well as a tube of self-defense rounds. Other available colors for the Byrna are Orange, Black, Desert Tan, Grey, Green, Pink and Digital Camouflage.

The Byrna is made from a glass-filled nylon, and the grip is a Rubber Overmold Grip. I can say that the grip is very comfortable, but remember that you don’t need to worry about recoil like you would with a handgun. This will fire the projectiles at 220-300 feet per second, unlike a bullet traveling at much higher speeds.

The setup is much like a handgun, and that’s the point. Users familiar with handguns will quickly be able to recognize everything about this device, except maybe where the co2 cartridge goes. The features include a Safe/Fire lever, standard trigger, accessory rail, sights, magazine which holds 5 rounds, and a loaded chamber indicator.


The way a co2 cartridge is loaded into the Byrna pretty simple. Below the barrel is the location which houses the cartridge, and is unscrewed by using the allen key that’s attached to the base of each magazine. This makes for simple loading and unloading of the co2 cartridges, as all tools required are with you.

When a new co2 cartridge is loaded, it is not punctured until the trigger is pulled for the first time. Once a cartridge is punctured, it should not remain in the Byrna between uses. Instead, replace the punctured cartridge with a new one so that it’s ready to go when needed.

The magazines hold 5 rounds, and besides being round at the top, function similar to a magazine that you would use in a handgun.

If you just came here to see what happens when you’re shot with one of the self-defense rounds, I won’t disappoint. Included mid-video are two clips: the first one shows Byrna’s head of marketing being shot with the irritant rounds, while the second shows the founder being shot with the solid projectiles. Neither looks like a good time!

At first, I wasn’t so sure about this device. My mind changed however, after seeing what it can actually accomplish in a self-defense situation, and experiencing the accuracy and power for myself at the range. For any moments where non-lethal resistance makes more sense, the Byrna HD does not disappoint. When you add holsters and accessories to an already great product, it just makes it that much more appealing.

About the Author

Brandon is the founder of Concealed Nation and is an avid firearm enthusiast, with a particular interest in responsible concealed carry. His EDC is a Springfield Armory Hellcat OSP, with a Shield Sights RMSC Red Dot, that holds Hornady 165 gr FTX Critical Defense rounds, and rides comfortably in a Vedder Holsters ComfortTuck IWB holster.

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