This article employs some of the theoretical and methodological tools devised by Michel Foucault to explore the political rationale suggested by the proliferation and use of a class of weapons collectively referred to as ‘non-lethal’. The invention and continued use of non-lethal weapons has been treated in existing literature as an ethical crisis. This article connects the emergence of non-lethal weaponry to the mobilization of a sense of ethical crisis concerning the humane treatment of civilians and combatants in conflicts in the United States and beyond. Policies related to non-lethal weaponry, along with the practices that they engender, are also explored in relation to the notion of ‘partial citizenship’. Offering a contribution to the genealogy of non-lethal weapons, this article traces their involvement in the policing by US military agents of a variety of sites, actors, and contexts outside of the theater of war.