Using sand as a medium, the user can create clones of themselves or others. The clone's form can be changed instantly into sand, and the enemy's body can be trapped. Unlike other clones, it does not dissolve or vanish when hit once, 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 as a trap, hiding Gold Dust inside of it.
In the anime, Sasori used a sand clone as a replacement, although it dissolved after being hit.