Since the debut of the M26 in 2001 and subsequent release of the X26 in 2003, the TASER has become as common a sight on the belts of American law enforcement officers as a handgun.
But TASER International has chosen not to coast on its success. In the last few years, the company has developed a body worn video camera/computer system (AXON) and an electrically charged shotgun projectile called the XREP(Extended Range Electronic Projectile)...
...And a three-shot TASER pistol.
You may not have heard of that last one yet. The three-shot TASER pistol marketed as the X3 has been one of the company's most secret projects. It's also been a product that cops have been requesting for years.
But despite the demand, TASER International didn't want to just build a multi-shot version of the X26. It wanted to build the next-generation TASER with features that weren't even possible when the X26 was in development and keep it compact enough to fit the same spot on a duty belt as the X26.
The X3 TASER offers the following innovations over the X26:
H Three Shots-Studies have show that about 20 percent of TASER shots fired by police miss. So one of the first benefits of the multi-shot TASER will be greater success in engaging subjects.
"The chance of three successive misses doesn't drop in a linear fashion," TASER International CEO Rick Smith explains. "It drops exponentially. Three shots gives you a 99.2 percent success rate vs. 80 percent for one shot."
Another benefit of the X3 TASER is that officers can now engage up to three subjects without reloading. The cartridges can be fired in order, or the user can choose which cartridge to trigger out of the three. This gives the user the ability to load the X3 with both short-range and long-range cartridges and choose the cartridge type needed for each confrontation.
H Warning Arc While Loaded-The X3 gives the user two ways to end a confrontation without firing a cartridge. An officer can paint a suspect with the weapon's dual laser system and back him down. Better yet, the X3's new cartridge design shows the electricity arcing across the front of the TASER while it is loaded and the safety is off. This is designed to warn the subject that he is about to get zapped, so he'd better comply.
H Vastly Improved Intelligence and Safety Features-It would not be an exaggeration to say that the X3 is the smartest TASER ever. It features a Pulse Calibration System that measures the voltage and the charge of each pulse (like the X26, the X3 pulses 19 times per second) when the TASER is fired.
Smith says the optimal charge for effectiveness and safety is 70 microcoulombs. The X26 cannot adjust its pulse for effectiveness if the subject is wearing thick clothing; the X3 can.
In addition to its ability to adjust its charge from pulse to pulse, the X3 also keeps records of each pulse. "We can go back and show exactly how much energy went into the subject," Smith says.
The X3 actually records three types of data. It keeps an event log that shows when the weapon was activated (safety off), if it was arced, and if it was fired. It keeps the aforementioned pulse log. And it keeps an engineering log that records system performance parameters and reveals malfunctions and maintenance problems.
All of this data can be uploaded to TASER International's new Evidence.com so that supervisors and project managers can analyze TASER use and discover any problems. This feature of Evidence.com is free to agencies that purchase the X3.
Pricing for the TASER X3 had not been set at presstime.
Visit TASER Online.
Editor's Note: Watch a TASER video with interviews of company employees describing their experience be being hit with the X3.