Using sand as a medium, the user creates a clone of themselves or others. The clone's form can be changed instantly into sand to capture an enemy. Unlike other clones, it does not dissolve or vanish when hit, but can reform itself. Its many applications with long-range attacks can have it act as a lure and a decoy. Due to the properties of the sand, Gaara was able to use it to hide Gold Dust inside of it.
In the anime, Sasori used a sand clone as a replacement, although it dissolved after being hit.