There's always been one major drawback to the police TASER. Whether it be the M26 or X26 model, the typical patrol electronic control device (ECD) is an all or nothing weapon. If your one shot misses, if there's a clothing disconnect, or if the probes' spread is short into low muscle mass, you are left with no alternative but to try and drive stun the subject or transition to another use-of-force option.
With its newest model, the X2, TASER International hopes to solve that problem. As the name implies the X2 is a two-shot TASER ECD.
But that's just the beginning of its innovative features.
TASER has been working on the X2 and its much larger counterpart the X3 (three-shot TASER) for six years. And the X2 incorporates most of the features of the X3 in a much smaller package. The X2 weighs only two ounces more and is comparable in size to the X26 with a XDPM and spare cartridge.
TASER CEO Rick Smith says the company consulted with 1,500 officers on the design and features of the X2. "We had feedback on the X3 that it was a little too large and complex for patrol, and we were a little bit surprised by that reaction," he says. The X3 is now being marketed as primarily a SWAT tool.
Before releasing the X2, the company gave it to officers in Hilo, Hawaii, for field testing to make sure it fit the needs of patrol officers. "We polled them afterward and 100 percent of those officers preferred the X2 because of its two shots and its dual laser aiming," Smith says.
Some of the features of the X2 include:
Warning Arc: Without firing the cartridge or unloading the ECD, officers can visibly arc electricity across the front of the cartridge in an attempt to convince a subject to comply.
Dual Laser Sights: The X2 shows officers exactly where both probes are expected to hit the subject.
X-Connect: Not only does the X2 give officers two shots. The probes are now cross-connected. This means that you can fire four probes at a subject and as long as two hit, you have a circuit.
Current Metering: To maximize safety and effectiveness, the X2 adjusts its output to achieve a constant 1.2 milliamperes into the subject. Smith compares current metering to cruise control on a car and says testing on human volunteers and animals has shown this output level to be both effective and safe.
Built-In Diagnostics: The X2 lets operators know if it's about to fail and the source of the problem.
Improved Power Magazine: TASER says the X2's new power supply is capable of 500 discharges (a 60 percent increase compared to the X26's power supply).
In addition to the new and improved power magazine, TASER says the X2 is the most rugged ECD that it has ever produced. "It has been tested well beyond the scope of normal patrol use," says TASER's quality assurance director Tom Beechey. The testing involved more than 3,000 hours of abuse and required TASER's engineers to go the extra mile to torture their designs. "Robots were built to pound on every moving part," says Smith.
TASER says the X2 should be ready for shipping by the time you receive this issue of POLICE. Pricing is set at less than $1,000. The company is also offering a trade-in of $300 for any TASER law enforcement ECD, including the X26 and M26. Smith says the X2 is being released at just the right time because many agencies are nearing the projected five-year lifespan for their patrol TASERs and the X2 is a major upgrade.
"The X2 is the most effective ECD that we have ever made," says Smith. "This technology will change law enforcement and better protect officers and suspects."