TASER: Good, Bad, or What?

First off, hope Turkey Day weekend is going well for you all. Back to business as usual over here, with a post that’s taking the place of one that is proving to be a challenge in terms of wording. Still, it’s probably worth mentioning, so here you go:

Many of you instantly think of a popular stun device when you hear the word “taser”. Do I even need to explain it? Just have a look at the company’s product line and you’ll know. You can browse around for more details, as well, and I recommend that you do.

My topic today is about the use of a handheld Taser ECD – henceforth known as “taser” in this post – in a potential defense scenario and what my opinions are on that. There will be a lot of negative stuff said here that I believe apply to all or some of the civilian models as well as some other models, but don’t let that discourage you. These are just some points to consider, pay attention to the summary at the end if nothing else.

Springboarding off of the concept in my last post, I don’t consider a taser to be a tier 1 weapon system, not for offense nor for defense. It can, however, be very effective if it is used correctly and the right conditions are met. There can be some problems in meeting those conditions.

To start off, getting a C2 model without a laser (and a light) can be troublesome. It is highly recommended that you get a version with a laser. My 2 cents on that, the grip angle was not designed in a way most handgun users are used to, and it is in no way, shape, or form aligned with your hand in way that allows a natural point of aim, even if you are not a handgun user. Heck, most of us are familiar with drills and nail guns, and they’re designed with the same natural point of aim and strength gained from a more vertical grip. This strange angle on the C2 exacerbates another issue, which I will also cover. Obviously, the X/M26 models do not have this problem – Their grips are similar to those on handguns, and this is also not an issue with non-handheld models.

Whatever version you get, it’s not cheap, and neither are the cartridges or battery packs. This is fine, just know that you’re not gonna save a whole heck of a lot of money with one of these if that is your intent – It shouldn’t be, though. Even with a laser, you will need to practice and refresh from time to time. This means burning through the aforementioned consumables. Just be ready for that.

Another thing to be ready for is the activation of the C2. Background check, personal information, etc. Once that taser is activated, it’s tied to you. There’s a bunch of little leaflets inside the cartridge that spurt out all over the place as it is fired – Those lead right back to you. Think about that for a while. If someone were to get a hold of your activated taser and used it to commit a crime, you’d have a hard time on your hands. If you follow the recommended defensive taser use by the Taser company, this could very easily occur. They tell you to leave it on the ground and escape during its effect on the target, or something like that. Except, the main effect is only about 5 seconds or so, with another couple dozen seconds of a lower intensity. After that, it doesn’t take long for the person to get up and retrieve the device you have conveniently left with them.

What has been recommended to me by competent and experienced instructors is to stay there until the police arrive, if possible, and keep the voltage up by re-activating the taser when needed. This is not advice, just how I’d go about it. Again, this can work extremely well if things go according to plan. There is immediate and complete debilitation upon successful connection with the bad guy, due to an electrical overload to the nervous system and muscles and all that jazz. Works faster than bullets when you pull the trigger, sometimes. Alas, there are major caveats to that, as well.

Remember the whole practicing thing? You’ll need it. Whether it’s at 15 ft or 35 ft with the handheld versions, those darts can spread out quickly, and you need at least two to connect in order to close the circuit. This can be a problem through thick clothing or at maximum and near-maximum distance. Also at that distance, you will need to take care that the wires don’t snap on you if the suspect falls backwards and out of that maximum range. It can also be interrupted in other ways. Should that occur, you could theoretically use the taser as a contact stun device if necessary. That’s an added bonus and a definite plus, but if you don’t know how to go hand-to-hand, you can be in even bigger trouble at those close ranges. Another reason to vary your training and not leave an option behind if you can help it.

And, of course, you’re only going to be able to affect one person at a time if you use one taser, no matter how many extra cartridges you have. This is a big deal. Group assaults (two or more) are not uncommon and you need to be able to deal with that. The many configurations of a handheld taser aren’t going to work very well in those situations. There’s other Taser products for those scenarios, of course, but I doubt any of them are available to you, the average consumer.

In summary, I am no expert on these devices. I have little experience, but a lot of good information has been imparted to me by those with a lot more experience. However, if you understand the limitations and can ideally work the taser into your current system, it can be a very effective weapon, one that is largely unequalled if used successfully in its primary role.

As always, if you spot any inaccuracies, let me know. Rambling tends to sacrifice some research, ’tis the nature of the beast.

-DH

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~ by demonhide on November 26, 2011.

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