Skip navigation

Taser Combat Handguns Article May 2003

Download original document:
Brief thumbnail
This text is machine-read, and may contain errors. Check the original document to verify accuracy.


Up close & personal with the new face of TASER technology!
By Pa ul M arkel
he conc ept of the TASER elec·
t.on ic weapons system is no!
new, lhe first gene, ation TASEA
was introduced in 1974. "Tase. Gun s"
have boon in service for decades, seen
both on th e sl.OOIs and on mov ie
sc.eens, thanks t o HoHywood 's attrac tion to the ir novelty. Thing . we... going
along f ine fo. t he Tasert ron TASEA sys t em, until thaI fatefu l day in Califom ia
and t he Rodney Kir.g inc ident . Li ke the
9mm Silvert ip hollow_point after the
FBI M iam i Shoo tout. tt>e TASER, not
the criminal's actions, took the brunt of
the blame lor what went wrong that



~eve •• most c k>ud. have silve r if you only 1001< hard en<lU9h.
Just as the FBI Shootout ... newed
interest in the 10mm cartridge whk:h
led uS to lhe now popu lar .40 saw
round . lhe Rodney King incidenl senl
lh e TASER bac k to the shop to. serious
refitting. What we have tod ay from
TASER Intemational i s a far mO'e
advanced and p.actical product lhan
whal was a"ailab le t o 0.15 years ago.
The concepl of t he TASER has
changed lilt ie; the unit f ires two nea die-p ointed
p.o bes .
wh ich allt
attach ed to w ires. When th e probes
strike the huma n target and stick. they
comp lete t he ci .cuit and eiect.ical
watt age is trans to fhe subjec t ,
causing a good deal of pain and. in the
majority of ca . es, t emporary incapac ilation. What has c hanged d.amat ically
is the actual TASER unrt it.elf ,

The ADVANCE D TA SER M26 Law En fo. cement model wi th extra cartridges.

Note the exposed conta cts
on t he face. The se ca n be
u.ed lor back_up stunning.

Kee p It Simple
Whe ther w e are d iscussing filltarms,
".s-than-..tha l too l. Of communicalion gear, the reality gap tletween the
eng ineer's des ign table and the street
offic er has always been a st um bl ing
blOCk. What loo ks good on paper and
may wo rt< in a sterile testir.g envi.onmenl often pro"es to be overty co m plex and fails when ta ken to the field .
"TOO many moving parts· is often
t he cu lpri t wh enever gear fails on th e
st.eet. The trut h is , th e mo.e ccm plex
the prod uct, the greater chance of a

TASER cartridg"" snap on

and off quick ly.
breakdown. Anoth... real~y is the fecI
thaI a police officer alre ady has a full
plate when il comes to his 0' her job.
R&g8fd ing less_than_lethal lools and
lechniq.....s. they nM<l 10 be simple,
straightforward. w~h as few " movi ng
parts" a. possible.

was designed with a ll 01 the above
CarlCaros in mind . As a matter o f fact,
the only p art that ne&ds to be moved
to fire is t he safety lev.... Leaving
behind Itle old squarish wand design.
th\l new ADVANCED TASER looks and
!"Is like a pistol. Mos t important ly, il
points like a pi$loI. Filing is accompli$hed by fii p pOng up the safety a 18

Beretta 92 Or saw a",o. To fire, press
It>e rubber encapsulated tligger bulton.
There are crude fi xed sighls on top
of Ihe weapon bot the primary ";ming
devk:<> is the buih·in laser sight. The
laser is activated wl'len the safety is
mO\'ed 10 t ha · o ff" positOon. Pu shing
It>e safety do wn !urns otl the lese r and
deactiva t.... the un it. The safety lever
should al ways be in th e · off' positOon
when lo ading or unload ing TASER cartridges.
The unit is powered b y "ght AA batteries, which an> ho used in lh e pistol
grip. Battery status is given each tima
tm. un~ is aclivated . When !he safety is
pushed up, a red ballery indicator l ight
located 00 t he b ack 01 !tie gu n illuminates. A fu lly Charged ballery is indicated by a pulsing light. A st eady, """pulsing red Iighl means tha t the un rt
has enough juice t o fire but the ballerias should be replaced as soon as pos_
sible. No light meanS no juice. Exlreme
cold te mperatures will produce lo w
ballery indications.
On the subject of balleries, TASER
International advises th at the b allery
ind >catOl" is cal ibra ted l or DU RA-CEl l
ULTRA brand elkaline ballerias. for
proper function of the unrt, these balteries should al ways be used. TASER
Internat ional also recommends nickel
met al hydride rechargeable batterias
for beller pe rformar>ce in l he cold and
increased number 01 pulses. The
ADVANCED TASER has a rechargeable
po" on the weapon lor eas y recharging. Howevtlr, the baIIery ind icator will
not function prope<ty w ith rechergeable ballerie•.

Th e I..E. TASER M26 (left) and the M 18l Civilia n m <><lel (right).
a... availa ble f or the M18L as well.

How It Works
TO prepan> the M26 unit for the f ield,
lhe use r will f irst ins ta ll the baIIenes.
Aller lhe ballerias an> inst alled, the

The 21_f oot l .E. c artridges are quic kly di _
one s. I.. E. Is striped, c ivili an Is so lid yell ow.

me<! l rom t he 15·loot Ci vilian


A spedal adapt .... allows a s pa", ca rtridge t o be st o"'d under the grip.

p iece of ca rd board. Light cardboard
with no t provide enough resistance
and th e metal pro bes will shoot right
th rough ,
Installing a TASER ca rtridge is simp le. With t he sal ety in I he down pos i _
lion, grasp a ca " ridge in I he non_Iiring
harid (the blac klyellow striped area is
Ihe fron f) and snap it in place, Tha t's il.
There is no toplbott om . SO t he carlridge cannol be loaded upside down.
To rem Ove I he ca"ridge simply pi nCh
I he side locking buflOflS and pUll il 0 11.
Install ing a ca rl ridg e on a ch arg<>d
uni l t akes o nly a second or Iwo and th e
TASER is ready to lire. Eac h ca rtridge
holds t wo needle-point ed probe s
attac hed 10 21 feel 01 insulated wire.
The probes do ha ve a small barb on
the end to help hold Ih em in place.

A lo aded and fi red L E. c art ri dg e.
Noll' th e needle- point probes.

S pecia l Fea t u re s

The Oatapo<l and coupl ing cable
allo w th e t im e and dat e 01 each shot
t o be down lo aded to a standard PC.
first test is simply 10 remOve t he saf ely
and chec k t he red ballery indicat er
light. You shou ld also immediately
nofice whef h.... er not the laser sight is
we l1<ing.
With the batteries and Sight wo l1< ing
property, I he us.... will no w check the
function of the TASER electron ics.
Wrth the TASER ca"ridge removedtha t is, no cartridge on the fronl of I he
gun-temove the safely and pres' t he
trigg..... The sil ver metal contacts On
the top and bottom of I he " muzzle·
area- w ill arch wilh bl ue spal1<, jUSl like
your standard handheld stungun. The
gun will spa rl< for five seconds but you
shou ld fl ip the sal ety down alter a second or two so as no t to was te battery
lile. These metal conlacl probes also
allow Ih e unil 10 be used like a .tandard Slungun. This same spa rl< test
Can be used to test status oTrechargeable batteries.
Aft er t hese funet ion checks are successfullhe unrt is ready to fire. Test firing Can be eas ily accompl ished by
using the Iarget included wllh eac h
unit. A heaoy silver foil larg", w ilh the
oulline of a man is provld<>d. The t arget
sl>ould be affi.ed to a thick/s t Urdy

The ADVANCED TASER sy sle m was
desig ned wilh liabilily and respons ibil _
ity in mi nd. Loc ated in the rear 01 the
unit is a Oal apo". Each l ime the unit is
fi red the inl ernal m icro-processor
records Ih e ...acl dal e and l ime . By
using t he included coupling cab le and
so 1tware
prov ided
Internal ional. any supervi sor or admin_
istrator can download the f iring data to
determine when and how ollen the unil
has been fi red .
All of t he cartridges for Ih e TASER
M26 are also se rialized . When a cart rid ge is lired. up 10 40 AFIOs. or idenIiTicatlo n tags , are e.pelled as well,
Th e confet1I -like 10 t ags all have t he
specilic se rial number of I hal c a"rid ge
imprinled on them . I found in applicat 'on I hat the AFI Os scalier over aboul
a five-ya rd area when f ired ou tdoors,
The wind will obviously have an effecl
Ofl their di sbur sement.
Another inlell ig ent fea t ure 01 the
M26 is an ad apte r. whi ch repl aces Ih e
ba ttery compa"men t co ver. This
adapter allows a sec ond/ sp are car·

Battery st ",ngth is indicated by the
red li ght on ttle unit's rear.
tridge to be carried on I he unll for
immed iate use.
Avail able P rod uct s
While we have focused primarily o n
Ihe M 26 Law En force ment model .
TASER International does have fwo
unil s availab le for purchase by 1he pri_
vale c itizen . The M 18L and M 18 TASER
unil s are nearly identical 10 the M26
w ilh three pli mary d' fferenc e', First.
Ihe M 18 mod els have 18 walts of
power vefsus th e 26 watt M26. The
cartridges for th e c ivilian units have a
solid ye llow lace versus th e yellow and
black sl li pad L E. mod els. The probe s
on Ihe c ivilian c a" li dges are attached

A closer look at t he needle -po;nt probes of a f ired

cartridge'. '--~

The Wrap
A local $henII"$ Ofhce hal jual nt....
dI£ed the lASER M2tl lIS. 1001 kIr nol
cWy _
pMtol . - . . boll the Jail and
~ ....... Durng " aioliiog
-. _
OI"focers .,...,. lound an ........
~ incapacit.. 1ion succ. .,
110"...., the ~ ""ve not yet
had their fWst I\eId . -. F'-id _
_tones 'rom other agotf'ICies $oCro.. lha
COUll•..,. have been highly ,, _ _.
Wha1h« • police officar or pr;.-"ta
Citizen. ona mUSI understand \hal lhe
lAS ER II an addilio n to thei r
d e' e"... ..,u "al , nOl a te plac.m t

The 3D ..... n l lfu<:k by l ASER p<ot>ea

from" d ial_

of 10 leel.

to 15 -1oot wna in_tNd o' Ille 21- ' ocM
L E. ""ita. I know what you are thinking
and, no, the <:ai'iloc:lge$ . . not inter~ _",.. , 1ha M26 and M18
TlMt ttwd ....... cIiffao .. _ _....,
the L£. and non-LE. _
it the
Da tapoft. The data _iklad capatMliI)' is nol"''' I . . . klrthecrtJze<1"""'"
TlMt Ml 8t. uniI hal. buoIt.... ...... $igtIt
'u"ctious jual ... the M26 _ _
TlMt M18 _ _ ' .ad s;ghts ontyand ia obwiouaJy the..- _
I shoukI also nola lIurt , kka lhe L E.
the 15-locM cartridgn " '" _
iz ed lIS _ .


a lla .lsling tools. The dynamic' of hoa.
I,.. $tICOUtlters "'" SO ftuid lhal no ain_
g" tool ia i<IeaI lor aU ..I.... .""".
The gra a test ~h1 of Iha
"O\IANCEO l ASER is actually 10 the
bad guy. the
Many danl/aIoua
part icularty tho... _
ktWeI.. can be
and eflecb .et,


~ - . " l ASER wtIare..."""'" -..nstanees .,...,. _

lObe _ . The ~ -.r.onollhe
l ASER -.aoona syat.." ia ..--.
- - . c l and
than the
guns .... grew up on .
E" _ ad ""'" end _
.. - . the
be ......
come add_ to yow _ _ deten_




For ....... information contact l _
lnlematlO<lal. Inc.• 7860 E. t.4cCloin Dr.,

St,. ' 2. Dept CH, Sc<>nsdale. A2 85260;
800·9711· 2737;