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Old October 1, 2006, 02:21 AM   #1
Blackwater OPS
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Range Report: TASER INTERNATIONAL "M26"

Disclaimer
First, I want to explain why I put this in tactics and training. It is not a firearm, so it does not belong in most of the other categories, and many people here may have used or considered using the Taser in their own tactics and training. Don't try this one at home kids.

Background
So, I have maintained for some time that electric stun devices are NOT viable for any situation period. This, obviously, has met with some disagreement, but I mention it here only to fully disclose that I started with a bias against the Taser. A good friend of mine who owns a Taser insisted that it did work, and despite owning several firearms it was his primary HD weapon. Today, there was a burglary in the home next to his, which spurred an argument between us about the effectiveness of said device. In the end I challenged him to test the Taser on me. He was reluctant, but I had a safe area in my yard to do it, and my neighbor is a part-time firefighter and had a fancy defib kit, so I convinced him it was probably safer than driving in LA traffic.

The Set Up

We agreed that I would try to remove one of the prongs in a 5 second period after the device was fired, if I failed to do so, or was knocked to the ground, the Taser was effective. If I was successful then it was not. I stood five feet away and he aimed the Taser at my chest using the included laser "sight"(I'm not a fan of those either). I, a 225lb male, was wearing a Heavy cotton t-shirt, workout shorts, flip-flops, and shooting glasses. Temp was about 70(F) and 78%H for the data junkies.

What DID Happen
The Taser fired two prongs, attached to plastic coated copper wire. The prongs and the metal base they are attached to made two neat holes in my shirt, which they went all the way through. It would be interesting to see some penetration tests on these, but they did very well here. (Side note: One thing I was NOT aware of was that the "prongs" are straightened out fish hooks. That's not normally something you want jabbed a 1/4 inch into your flesh)

The prongs did fully penetrate my skin and into the fat under it. I felt something like what the stun gun does, (these have never impaired my movement) only over most of my body. My muscles contracted with shocks to some degree, but did not "lock up". I was, in about 2.5 seconds able to remove one prong and end the shocks. I feel I could have done this quicker, however the rather unique feeling the Taser delivers surprised me at first, and my arm did seem to spasm right as I was trying to use it. I got very pissed off. (Supposedly I yelled "like a wild animal" at that point) There was a small amount of blood when the fish hook thing was removed, but nothing serious.

What did NOT Happen.
I did not fall to the ground. I was not unable to move. I did not pass out.

Closing Comments
The main effectiveness of these devices seems to be psychological. They do not, in fact, physically prevent a person from doing violence. In addition they have been know to be lethal under some circumstances, so one could not be entirely safe using one unless deadly force was also authorized (or legal). Another factor is training, hopefully none of us would buy a gun and ammo and, without ever taking it to the range to become proficient, carry it for self defense. At $20 per cartridge, how many of these will be fired for practice at a target? At the end of the day, self defense is not something that can be mastered with the pistol alone; some hand to hand training is also required for those situations not requiring deadly force. If you refuse to do this, recognize there are no "magic bullet" alternatives, you will most likely be forced to use deadly force to prevent the loss of your weapon in a situation that would not otherwise result in loss of life. Learn how to fight if you want to take on the responsibility of gun ownership, or lock all your guns in the safe when you are not at the range.
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Old October 1, 2006, 02:35 AM   #2
liliysdad
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I find this interesting, as in our last Taser certification class, eleven out of eleven officers were unable to remove the probes. Roughtly half of the officers fell to the ground during a 2 second ride, and all of the officers taking the full 5 seconds were 100% incapacitated.

Am I advocating the Taser as an effective alternative to fireamrs? Hell no I am not. However, I would like to see the Taser used, and test the batteries. If the 8xAA's are not 100%, the effectiveness drops considerably.

I have yet to see an individual hit with a properly charged and tested M26 fail to be completely incapacitated.
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Old October 1, 2006, 02:48 AM   #3
Blackwater OPS
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The batteries are the same ones that were in the Taser for 2 months since its purchase, however it had never been used. (not even without without the cartrige except for one time when they were first installed according to it's owner) Could the Taser have been defective? Maybe, but it did seem to do everthing it was supposed to, except take me down.

It's my hypothosis that all those men/women were incapacitated because they expected to be, not because the Taser is 100% effective. It was however, very uncomfortable and the average person might comply rather than get shot again, but I would only use it if I had another person with a real gun trained on the person just in case. Not exactly ideal for civilian use, esp. considering the reload time and one shot only capabilities.
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Old October 1, 2006, 05:40 AM   #4
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Your post is very eye opening for me and shows what a Taser is and is not good for. While it's not a good replacement for a gun and most home defense situations, I think it's still a good alternatives to the night stick for LEO's.
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Old October 1, 2006, 11:47 AM   #5
liliysdad
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2 months is too long for the batteries to be in there. Even without use or spark testing, they still drain.

As for the psychological factor, thi smay be true. However, the amount of folks who are determined to kick my ass would suggest otherwise. They come out swinging, but go down when hit.
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Old October 1, 2006, 12:20 PM   #6
Capt. Charlie
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Guys, as one that's not only "taken the ride", but also successfully deployed it against a drunk, suicidal suspect with a knife, I have to say, they not only work, they're a Godsend!

My only guess, BW, is that the M-26 used on you was either faulty or improperly deployed. The greater the distance between the probes and the more muscular a person is, the more effective it is. The minimum effective distance is 7 feet. What was the distance it was fired from, and where on your body did both probes strike?
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Old October 1, 2006, 12:41 PM   #7
Blackwater OPS
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Quote:
The greater the distance between the probes and the more muscular a person is, the more effective it is. The minimum effective distance is 7 feet. What was the distance it was fired from, and where on your body did both probes strike?
I lift weights on a regular basis, so I doubt muscle was a factor. I was 5 feet away, so that is a possibility, but that is another serious limitation of the taser I was not aware of. One probe struck about a 1/2 inch to the right of my navel and the other struck about 5 inches exactly above it.

Looks like we need a round two to settle this once and for all.
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Old October 1, 2006, 01:03 PM   #8
liliysdad
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Six inches of probe spread is nowhere near optimal. I have found that around 1-1.5 feet works pretty well. As I stated, I have deployed the taser more than once, and have yet to have it fail, as long as the batteries are 100%, and the deployment effective.
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Old October 1, 2006, 02:51 PM   #9
Jeepmark2005
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Interesting. First off all, thanks for volunteering yourself for such an experament. If you are willing to do it again with fresh batteries and from a greater distance to allow more prong spread, it sure would be interesting to read about. If possible a video of the event would be a plus. I am 6'1 225 and very muscular and a former Marine, current LEO. I have absolutly NO interest is being zapped by that damn thing. I still rely on pepper spray, ASP or hand to hand for intermiediate use of force. I don't like having TOO many options because that is more things to be second guessed in a court room. But that is just my $0.02
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Old October 1, 2006, 03:02 PM   #10
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I like your spirit of adventure.

And I look forward to the second installment.

I bought some El-Cheapo Gun show Pepper Spray about 1.5 years ago. I recently got some of the Fox Labs stuff and a bunch of their decon wipes.

As soon as I get my nerve up, I'm going to let my GF blast me with the cheap stuff, then, hopefully, the good stuff.

I will probably want to do it all in one session as I may not want to go back for more later...
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Old October 1, 2006, 03:16 PM   #11
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Heheh, pepper spray is one thing I will never be sprayed with again if I can avoid it. I (and my unit) had to "qualify" with the stuff before carrying it.

Had to get sprayed with the "Z" pattern and then run through a course where you had to a number of things including fight off a large attacker and draw your weapon and talk him into the prone.

You can fight through that as well, but the pain is far worse and can last 5 hours. I'd rather get shot with lead than OC. Well, almost.
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Old October 1, 2006, 03:19 PM   #12
OneInTheChamber
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Why can't I have more friends like Blackwater? None of my friends would volunteer to get hit with a Taser.

As for the effectiveness; I think you were able to rip the prongs out quickly because that is what you planned to do. Someone who is suprised by the darts entering them will most likely take a longer ride.

My opinion is if you are justified in using lethal force (because you are facing lethal force), respond with lethal force. You don't get a pat on the back by God when because you tried to not to kill the guy who ended up killing you. You get a "should've used a .45" talk from the Big Man.

That's my .02
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Old October 1, 2006, 03:46 PM   #13
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Quote:
Looks like we need a round two to settle this once and for all


Yup, and round two is going to end something like this .
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Old October 1, 2006, 04:27 PM   #14
CobrayCommando
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Quote:
Six inches of probe spread is nowhere near optimal. I have found that around 1-1.5 feet works pretty well.
I think that reinforces BWO's point. What if you had to tase from a foot away?

Quote:
Quote:
Looks like we need a round two to settle this once and for all


Yup, and round two is going to end something like this .
LMFAO! Thats great.
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Old October 1, 2006, 04:58 PM   #15
Capt. Charlie
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What if you had to tase from a foot away?
Both the M-26 and X-26 Tasers can be used in two ways: conventional deployment using cartridges, or as a drive stun device with the cartridge removed. You simply remove the cartridge which will expose two contacts. Drive those into any major muscle group and pull the trigger.

That isn't quite as effective as using a cartridge at a distance, but it does still work.

Remember that Tasers were originally developed for law enforcement to fill a niche in which non-lethal force was needed at a safe distance. It was never intended for CQB.
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Old October 1, 2006, 05:06 PM   #16
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I believe a TASER should be used for it's intended purpose: LEO use to control disorderly people. It's intended to be a non-lethal method of croud control. Using it for home defense is unacceptable in my opinion, because it could go exactly the way it went in your test: attacker manages to rip out barbs, or they fall out somehow (you never know), and now you've got a REALLY pissed off BG, and your one shot TASER is about to get shoved up your ass sideways.


The other possible senario is this: You hear the B&E, you confront BG in hallway or living room, you taze him, and it's a success! He falls down, crying for mama and you watch his muscles contract and flex as he basically has a seizure on your floor... What happens when your fancy little rig runs out of juice? Or are you supposed to be able to keep electrocuting him as you call 911 and report this incident, then keep shocking him more while police are dispatched?

They just don't make sense to me for home defense. Let the cops carry them.
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Old October 1, 2006, 05:49 PM   #17
CobrayCommando
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That isn't quite as effective as using a cartridge at a distance, but it does still work.
I know but what I was trying to say, is that if 2 month old batteries and using it at under a certain range (non-optimal prong spread) can essentially negate the effects of it on a tough guy, theres no way I would want to use one for self defense.
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Old October 1, 2006, 07:08 PM   #18
Blackwater OPS
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Anyone in socal willing volunteer for a more scientific test? You must have your own m26! (as the shooter of course)
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Old October 1, 2006, 11:45 PM   #19
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The Tazer has been very effective with my agency and those it was used against I doubt had any preconcieved notions about what to expect. I do note however that there is a difference between the Tazer sold to civilians and police. The power level I think different and that may account for the response by Blackwater...
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Old October 1, 2006, 11:53 PM   #20
Capt. Charlie
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I do note however that there is a difference between the Tazer sold to civilians and police.
I donno, Sul. He did say it was a Model M-26. That's a law enforcement issue model, albeit an older one.
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Old October 2, 2006, 12:37 AM   #21
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Wow, in that video I thought the one older guy was having a heart attack.

The main problem I can see with a taser (apart from the per-use cost) is that it's a Johnny One-Note. OK if you just happen to be able to whip it out in time AND if it just so happens there's only one BG. Two burglars, and you're in trouble (unless the second one trips over the first, LOL).

I do carry pepper spray now, since the garage incident when the hubster was in the hospital. But I can't see these being real practical for non LE folks. Y'all who have a service belt and have everything but your K-9 officer hanging on it are okay, but those of us who are supposed to have our weaponry concealed would have a wee bit of trouble explaining THAT bump under the tee shirt...

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Old October 2, 2006, 03:57 AM   #22
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As has been said before, your Taser was way too close.

It should have been deployed about 15-17 feet away. If you're going to do another test, do a back shot; aim at the upper part of the back; the first lead will impact there, and the second will impact about 13 inches down. I GUARANTEE you will feel the full effect then.

If you're going to do another frontal shot, I HIGHLY recommend the following for protection: A tough neck wrap, a full facial shield, and some protection for your groin area. If you have a body armor panel, wear one like a codpiece. No, I'm NOT joking.

For a small-area impact (as Capt. Charlie said), the next move is to move in quickly with a drive stun. Desired point of contact with the front of the device is the lower leg area; this will complete the circuit over a wide area and cause immediate collapse.
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Old October 2, 2006, 08:44 AM   #23
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I prefer the back of the neck for drive stuns, ans it has worked better for me in the past.
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Old October 2, 2006, 09:11 AM   #24
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Blackwater - thank you for the enlightening reports on the M26. I was seriously considering buying one for my wife.

Anyone ever rotate bullets out after 3 months of being loaded on your firearm? I certainly dont. My HD guns sit for about 6 months before being rotated out and that is not because they are ineffective - its because I like to rotate my guns around - active duty and safe duty.

After reading the suggestions here on test staging - you have to be more than 7 feet, and it has to hit here and there.....reminds me of rumors - staging test conditions for the Patriot missile to make it seem more efficient than it really is.....

In reality when you deploy your self-defense weapon - whether it is a firearm or not - it is not going to be in a lab enivronment where you can control where the person gets hit, and what kind of clothes they wear. I noticed in the videos, the prongs were pre-attached, and the subjects all wore golf shirts: No leather jackets, no demin jackets, and ALL the prongs were attached to a SPECIFIC area.

Someone coming at me with a knife at 10 feet or less: My first instinct (IF I cannot drive away or close the door) is a 9mm or 40 SW HP to the COM and a follow up to the head, not a stand there still and take off your shirt while I deploy my taser....

In another 5 or so years, scientists will probably come up with a more effective delivery system. Until then - go with the time proven man-stopper.
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Old October 2, 2006, 09:43 AM   #25
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I'm suddenly reminded of that scene from Old School when the guy shoots himself in the neck with the horse tranquilizer gun!

Blackwater, you are CRAZY! I applaud your willingness to engage in scientific exploration for the pursuit of truth in the universe. However, there's no way in the WORLD I'd let my buddy hit me with a TAZER!

If you're willing to do it again, and to take these guys' suggestions, then you'll win some definite cool-points in my book! But, noone will think lesser of you if you don't!

This is bloody-hilarious!
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