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Taser Swat Mag M26 Review Sept 2000

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20 S.W.A. T. • S EP TE M BE R 2000


------------------------ --- -1
ASER Int<m\ati~ bes introduced a revolutionary new lesslethal weapon, the Advanced

augment accuracy. The laser also provides
a warning to subjects, and can potentially
de-escalate hostile situations w ithout the
Taser<!l M-5t'ries EMD weapon,
weapon ever having to be fired . Taking the
that very well may be the most effective
weapon off of "safe" automatically activates the laser.
less-lethal weapon in the world today
when used within its intended parameters.
The M26 is controlled by a di gital
Unlike earlier TASER$ and stun systems
microprocessor. An onboard memory
that operate in the five- to 14-Watt range.
records the dates and times that the unit is
the Advanced laser Meenes uses an 18- to
fired. A WmdoW9l) 95/98 compatible dat..
26-Watt electrical signal. It com p letely
aport allows the data to be downloaded to
overrides the central nervous system and
a PC using a special adapter cab le. This
directly controls the skeletal muscles.
feature, which isn 't available on the MIS
TIle Advanced laser sends out a series of
and MI8L, enables a law enforcement
agency to monitor usage patterns and proelectrical signals, called T·WavesTIot• The T·
Waves are very similar to the electrical sigtects (or proves) officers from any
nals that are used by the brain to communiunfounded charges of misuse of force.
cate with the body. The I-Waves cause an
The dataport also allows the 1126 to be
immediate, uncontrollable contractioo of the
fired remotely. This feature has a number
of tactical applications. For instance, the
muscle tissue that physicaUy debilitates the
M26 can be mounted on a tactical surveiltarget regardless of his or her mental focus
or pain tolerance. lASER International
lance system, such as a SEARCHCAM~,
for use during tactical entries Of on robotic
refers to the patented technology as Bectro
Muscular Disruption. or EMD.
entry vehicles.
Prior to the Advanced laser, all lessPower for the Advanced Taser is provided by eight AA batteries. The batteries
lethal technologies, including lASERs,
are housed in a battery pack that fits inside
have relied on some fann of pain complithe grip of the weapon. Duracell Ultra<lP
ance, dis traction or physical immobilizaalkaline ba tteries are recommended by the
tion to control a subject. As any experimanufacturer. The Advanced Taser has an
enced officer can attest, they often fail to
LED battery status indicator that informs
stop combative, goal-oriented individuals,
the operator of the status of the batteries at
and individuals under the influence of
• glance.
alcohol or drugs . When less-lethal
The Advanced 'Iaser uses the same air
weapons fail, all too often the only remain- objection.
ing op tion is an escalation to lethal force.
The fin and b la d e sights on the cartridges as TASER In terna tio n a l's Air
Advanced Tase r are similar to t he iron Taser 34000-serii"S w eapons. The air car ..
sights on a standard duty pistol. The M26 tridges use compressed inert nitrogen as a
Three models of the Advanced Taser and M I8L also have a built-in laser sight to p ropellant to expe l two barbed probes
(darts) a ttach ed to insulated
are available: th e MI8, MISL
wires. Each air ca rt rid ge conand M26. The M26, which is
tains probes, wire and a nitrosold only to police and govemgen charge. Unlike the original
ment agencies, has a 26-Watt
TASER. which uses gunpowder
output. All of the models are
as a propellant, the Advanced
identical in their external
Ta.W!" and Air 'laser aren't classiappearance. The M18 and M18L
fied a s firear m s by the BATF.
have an 18-Watt output.
They may be purc hased and
S. w'A.T. was provided with an
possessed witho u t the restricM26 for testing and evaluation.
tions attached to firearms.
Unlike other TASER designs,
The air cartridges are availthe Advanced 'laser is designed
able in two versions: a 21·foot
to handle and function like a
air ca rtrid g e for la w enforcestandard duty pistol , making
ment and government use, and
the system intuitive and easy to
a I5-foot air cartridge. The air
use. It doesn't require the develcartridges are distinctively
opment of new motor skills. The
marked for easy identification
operato r aims and fire s the ABOVE: Advanced Taser M 26 shown with optional yellow color kit
installed, to clearfy mar1l It 8S Iess--Iethal. L EFT: Fred Keelin of the
of each version. Each air carweapon using the same muscle Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department's Special Enforcement
tridge bears an individual serial
memory and motions that have Bureau (SEB) Special Weapons Team with M26.
been instilled through primary handgun
Tbe Advanced "laser is constructed of a
proprietary polymer that is designed for
maximum toughness. There aren't any
moving parts to break. The ambidextrous
safety is the only moving part on the
weapon. The location and operation of the
safety are identical to that of the Beretta
M92/96F. Although it looks a lot like a
standard firearm trigger, the trigger is a
pressure switch that doesn't actually move.
Total weight is just 18 0I.l0Cl'S fully loaded.
The Advanced Taser is reliable and
practically "co p p roo f. ~ According to
TA SER International, it can withstand
drops of over ten feet without damage. It
has even survived being driven over by a
lb. vehicle! It should certainly w ithstand the rigors inherent in law enforcementduty.
To prevent the Advanced Teser from
being mistaken for a lethal weapon,
TASER International p rovides a use rinstalled, bright yellow color kit with the
1126. With the color kit installed, the M26
looks like something out of Bu ck Rogers.
Com e to think of it, the electro-muscular
disruption technology is like something
out of science fiction-but it sure does
work! If an agency desires, the ~i26 can be
special ordered in a bright yellow polymer
to overcome any "looks like a hand gun"




ABOVE: Each air cartridge Is indlviduaIIy aeriall1Ul:m:....
: _:'- - _ ..
LEFT: The ait cartridgee simply snap Into place.

number and an expiration date. The car- ing, including leather jackets. The T-Waves
tridges have a five-year shelf life.
aren't transfer red to another person in
Loading and unloading the Advanced physical con tact with the target.
Taser is quick and easy. The air cartridges ,
The T-Waves are au tomatically dissi m ply snap into place. The Advanced . charged in to the target for five seconds,
laser will function as a back-up con tact unless the opera to r chooses to tum the
stun .....eapon.. with or without a cartrid ge unit off by actuating the Advanced laser's
in place, possessing the capability of send- safety. The timed automatic-discharge feaing 'r-waves directly into the bod y of an ture eliminates a major ca use of failu re

While it can be employed from zero
feet out to the maximum range of the cartridge (15 or 21 feet ), operators should try
10 fire the Advanced laser from at least
three feet away &om the target in order to

with first generation TASER system saccidentally cu tting off the power before
the target was fully immobilized by inadvertently releasing the trigger. The design
of the Advanced laser prevents this from
Small iden tifica tion tags, called
..AFIDs," are ejected w hene ver an Air
Cartridge is fired . AFID s ta nds for Anti
Felon Identification Device. There are 2030 AF lDs in each Air C a r tri d ge. Eve ry
AFID tag is imprinted with the serial
number of the ca r trid ge, allowing la w
enforcement agencies to determine who
fired the cartridge.

give the probes a little room to spread
apart. ll\is allows the Ad vanced Taser to
in;ect the I -Waves into a greater area of the
target. The op timu m range for the
Advanced Taser is seven to ten feet.
The accuracy of the Advanced laser is
excellent, much better than that of other
TASERs. There are several reasons for this.
The Advanced Taser, unlike other TASERs,
aims just like a handgun. Also contributing
to the accuracy is the faci that lASER
International's air cartridges utilize a
longer probe than old er model TASER cartridges. The longer probes provide m uch
greater stability in flight.
The M26 provided to SWAT. placed
the top probe within one inch o f point of
aim at ten feet. The bottom pro be is
designed to travel at an eight-deg ree
d ownward angle. In SW.A.T.'s tests, it perABOVE: Fred Keern of the Los
formed as advertised,
I " lOg 9188 Sheiiff's [)epa b •• •t'.
Although the Advanced Taser should I Special Enfol c«ue"t ~
be aimed at the center of the target's chest. i Spedel Weapons Team W8SriUg
i the M28 In lASER IntemationBI'i
a hit anywhere on the body can be effec- i optional Kydex ~.
ti ve . The probes d on't have to penetrate I RIGHT: Close-up of the
the skin or cause injury to work. The T- 'I Adv anced laser OOIst« . The
I I'Iolst« Is OEM man ufactum by
Waves of the Advanced Taser can pene- I' DeSantis to lASER
trate over two cumulative inches of cloth- . International's specifications.
22 S. W.A. T. • SEPTEMBER 2000

In today's litigious society, the safety of

cern. The safety testing o f the Advanced
Taser has been extensive, quite possibly
more extensive than with any other lesslethal technology. In developing the
Advanced Taser, TASER International
chose to follow the same approach that's
used in the pharmaceutical and medical
device industries. The electrical outputs of
the Advanced Taser fall well within the safe
levels defined by international standards.
Medical s tu d ies show that the
Advanced Taser has absolutely no effect 00
hea rt rhythms. Medical
experts d on 't foresee any
increased risk to patients
with either pacemakers or
implantable defibrillators.
TASER International will
provide la w enfo rcement
agencies with extensive, indepth medical safety infermation o n the Ad vanced
Taser upon request.
More than 375 human

------------------- - - - - - IJ"
volunteers have been subjected to the
Advanced Taser as of this writing. In all
cases, there has been virtually 100% instant
inc.apacitaticn Even the most focused, c0mbat-trained individuals have been immedi-

atel y stopped. To quote Sergeant Burt
Robinson of the Chandler, Arizona, Police
Department SWAT Team, "It just takes your
legs out. It's like a jackhammer going

keboom, kaboom, kaboom!"

Recove r y limes vary with the individual . It generally takes from several
seconds to a few minutes for full recovery after being " hit" with 'f-waves from
an Advanced Taser, There haven't been
any long term effects or injuries from
the Advanced Taser in any of the volunteers. At the most the re has only been


In pre-release testing, the unit
incapacitated 100% of test SUbjects.

long Term Effects

None (excepl lor potential eye injuries or
injuries related to falling).


15 or 21 feet.

Optimum Performance

Seven to ten feet

Backup if Probes Miss

II launched probes miss, backup
electrodes on front 01 weapon allow it to
be used as a stun gun.

Automatic Impulse Regulation

Once probes are launched, unit stays
active lor five seconds to keep target
reliably down.

Thickness of Clothing

Up 10 2.5 inches 01 cumulative clothingeven leather jackets.

Recovery TIme

Varies by individual-generally several

low Battery Indicator

Yes-Ught Emitting Diode (LED).


Yes-Prevents firing and activates laser
on laser-equipped models.


Fin and blade. Also laser on MI 81. and M26.

some minor skin irritat ion, s imilar t o
mild s u n bum.
From a practical standpoint, the only
real risks of physical injury associa ted with
th e use o f th e Advanced Taser a re sec-

ondary injuries fro m falling o r being hit in
the eye with a probe. These risks apply to
other TASERs as well. While no weapon
system is without risk (after all , a weapon
is a weapon), the risks fro m the employment of the Ad vanced Taser are substan·
tially less than from other CWTt'Ilt1y available less-lethal weapon systems.
The Advan ced Ta se r M-series EM D
weapons come w ith a PelicanfJ- styl e,
foam-padded hard case, practice target,
instruction manual and a training video or
CD-ROM. Optional accessories include a
Kyde x~ holster and a d ataport /PC
adapter cable (M26 only).
The optional holster is an O EM product that's manufactured by DeSantiS'!l to
TASER International' s specifica tions. A
swivel clip attachment, sim ila r to those
that are commonly used for rad ios, allows
an operator 10 mount and remove the holster from his or her belt in about a second.
TASER International also p lans on coming o u t with a paddle holster in the very
near future.
The Advanced Taser M-series is available fro m authorized TASER International
dealers and distributors. Readers should
contact the manufacturer for the loca lion
of their nearest d ealer or d istributor. The
Advanced "laser M26 has an agency price
of $399.95, It comes with a lifetime $25 noquestions-asked replacement warranty.
Instructor and individual officer certifica-

tion training is available.

Operational Temperature Range

2()..114 degrees Fahrenheit.
H av ing tested the M26, reviewed the
medical data and reviewed data from the
field, I must say that I am very impressed
with the Advanced Taser. It's certainly one
of the most e xci tin g and effecti v e lesslethal tools to come along in recent memory.
With in its intended ta ctical and design
parameters, it could very well be the ultimate less-lethal weapon. 0


Allows downloading of usage data and
remote liring (M26 only).


lifetime $25 replacement warranty.


18ounces (with battery).


Eight AA batteries. Duracell Ultra
recommended. Can use rechargeable
batteries as well, but battery indicator may
no1 function with rechargeable batteries.

T· Wave Output

50 KV Peak 1.76 J per pulse.

TASER In temational

M18 and M18l

Ten pulses per second, 18 Watt output.

7339 E. Evans Road
Scottsdale, A2 85260


15 pulses per second, 26 Watt output.

Fax: (4801991-0791

24 S.W.A .T. • SEPTE MBER 200 0