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Electroshock Weapons (TASER, Stun Guns, & Cattle Prods) Explained

[Editor's Note: So far, TASER guns in the hands of police have killed more than 270 people in the United States. These devices were cruel and inhumane when first introduced for use against cattle as prods, but now human beings are also considered cattle by 7,000 police departments in America. It's important to understand just how painful 50,000 volts at 60 HZ at 10 or more milliamps can be. Some of the TASERS described here can deliver up to 18 amps as pulses. That can easily kill you. Incredibly, the description below casually refers to 100,000 volts (one hundred thousand volts) and even one million volts (1,000KV) guns as taking "less time" to subdue a target. Voltages that are that high are usually lethal. The employment of TASER guns is being coerced into use and funded by hidden hands into police departments across this country. It's the fear inducing weapon of choice for mindless, chipped, and indoctrinated RoboCops working on behalf of NWO overlords to transform America into a police state. It's important to understand how these torture devices work and then become involved on some level to get them banned from every police department in the country. ...Ken]

From Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia

Electroshock Weapons (TASER, Stun Guns, & Cattle Prods) Explained (Sep. 19, 2007)

(Redirected from Electroshock gun)

A computer-generated image (CGI) of a man holding an electric shock baton

A computer-generated image (CGI) of a man holding an electric shock batonAn electroshock weapon is an incapacitant weapon used for subduing a person byadministering electric shock that may disrupt superficial muscle functions. One type is an electroshock gun or taser that fires projectiles that administer an electric shock.

Stun guns, stun batons, and electroshock belts administer an electric shock by direct contact.



Principles of operation

Electroshock weapon technology uses a temporary high-voltage low-current electrical discharge to override the body's muscle-triggering mechanisms. The recipient feels great pain, and can be momentarily paralyzed while an electric current is being applied. It is reported that applying electroshock devices to more sensitive parts of the body (such as the testicles and nipples) is more painful. The relatively low electric current must be pushed by high voltage to overcome the electrical resistance of the human body. The resulting 'shock' is caused by muscles twitching uncontrollably, appearing as muscle spasms. However, because the amount of current is relatively low, there is considered to be a 'margin' of safety by a number of medical experts. Experts generally agree that this margin is highly dependent on the overall health of the person subjected to the shock. Usually, the higher the voltage, the more effective it is. It may take several seconds to subdue a subject with 100 kV [100,000 volts], but only about a second with 1 MV [megavolt] = 1,000 kV = One Million volts]).

In current electroshock weapon models, the current is sometimes relatively low (2.1 mA to 3.6 mA) which is based in part on the electrical supply, (but for example M-26 Taser models produce a peak current of 18 amperes in pulses that last for around 10 microseconds [1] and use eight AA batteries). Electrical current above 10 mA at 60Hz AC is considered to be potentially lethal to humans, though not all electroshock weapons pulse the current at 60 Hz.

The internal circuits of most electroshock weapons are fairly simple, either based on an oscillator, resonant circuit and step-up transformer or diode-capacitor voltage multipliers to achieve the continuous, direct or alternating high-voltage discharge may be powered by one or more 9 V battery depending on manufacturer, and model. The output voltages without external "load" (which would be the target's body) are claimed to be in the range of 50 kV up to 1000 kV, with the most common being in the 200 to 300 kV range. However since air has a dielectric breakdown (Emax) of 3000 kV/m, it is clear that the spacing of the electrodes will not permit the upper range of claimed voltages (900 kV representing a minimum electrode spacing of about 30 cm). The output current upon contact with the target will depend on various factors such as target's resistance, skin type, moisture, bodily salinity, clothing, the electroshock weapon's internal circuitry and battery conditions.

According to the many sources, a shock of half a second duration will cause intense pain and muscle contractions startling most people greatly. Two to three seconds will often cause the subject to become dazed and drop to the ground, and over three seconds will usually completely disorient and drop an attacker for at least several seconds and possibly for up to fifteen minutes.[citation needed] TASER International warns law enforcement agencies that “prolonged or continuous exposure(s) to the TASER device’s electrical charge” may lead to medical risks such as cumulative exhaustion and breathing impairment [1]. Because there is no automatic stop on a taser gun, many officers have used it repeatedly or for a prolonged period of time, thus potentially contributing to suspects’ injuries or death [2]

Commercially available varieties

Electric shock prods

This type is similar to basic design to an electric cattle prod. It has a metal end split into two parts electrically insulated from each other, or two thin projecting metal electrodes about an inch apart, at an end of a shaft containing the batteries and mechanism. At the other end of the shaft are a handle and a switch. Both electrodes must touch the subject. In some types the sides of the baton can be electrified to stop the subject from grasping the baton above the electrodes. They are often carried in a sheath slung on a belt. Some such devices are available disguised as other objects, such as umbrellas or cell-phones or pens. Sometimes they have an option to make a noisy visible electric arc between the electrodes, to warn potential victims. [2]

Some models are built into long flashlights also designed to administer an electric shock with its lit end's metal surround (which is split into halves insulated from each other). [3] [4]

In the beginning police used electric cattle prods for this purpose.

Taser                                                                                                                    The M-26 TASER, the United States military version of a commercial TASER

The M-26 TASER, the United States military version of a commercial TASER.The name Taser is an acronym for "Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle"[5]. Arizona inventor Jack Cover designed it in 1969; naming it for the science fiction teenage inventor and adventurer character Tom Swift.

Modern taser-type weapons fire small dart-like electrodes with attached metal wires that connect to the gun, propelled by small gas charges similar to some air rifle propellants. The maximum range is up to 10 meters (30 feet). Earlier models of Taser needed the dart-like electrodes to embed in the skin and superficial muscle tissues layers; newer versions of the projectiles use a shaped pulse/arc of electricity which disrupt nerve and muscle function without needing the metal prongs on the projectile to penetrate the skin. Early models had difficulty in penetrating thick clothing, but the 'pulse' models are designed to bring down a subject wearing up to a Level III body armor vest.[citation needed]

Tasers are currently in use by a number of police forces worldwide to try to reduce firearms-related deaths. The Phoenix Police Department reported that officer shootings had dropped as a result from the use of TASER technology as an alternative to deadly force. Uses of a TASER device in this department increased from 71 in the year 2002 to 164 in the year 2003. Additionally, the number of officer-involved shootings decreased by 7 during this time period.[6] In Houston, however, police shootings did not decline after the deployment of thousands of TASERs [3].

While they are not technically considered lethal, some authorities and non-governmental organizations question both the degree of safety presented by the weapon and the ethical implications of using a weapon that some, such as Amnesty International, allege is inhumane. As a result, a number of civil liberties groups would like to see tasers banned.[citation needed] Amnesty International has documented over 245 deaths that occurred after the use of tasers.[7] The fact that a death occurred following use of a taser does not necessarily indicate the taser was the cause of death or even a contributing factor,[8] as many of the deaths occurred in people with serious medical conditions and/or severe drug intoxication, often to the point of excited delirium. Tasers are often used as an alternative to attacking the suspect with a baton or shooting him with firearms both of which have a much higher chance of serious injury and death than the taser, even using the highest estimates of possible taser-related deaths. The term "less-lethal" is being used more frequently when referring to weapons such as tasers because many experts feel that no device meant to subdue a person can be completely safe. The less-lethal category also includes devices such as pepper spray, tear gas, and batons. The US National Institute of Justice has begun a two-year study into taser-related deaths in custody [9].

Tasers were introduced as a less-lethal weapon so that they could be used by police to subdue fleeing, belligerent or potentially dangerous criminal suspects, often when a lethal weapon would have otherwise been used. However, tasers have not proved to unequivocally reduce gun usage. For example, the Houston Police Department has “shot, wounded and killed as many people as before the widespread use of the stun guns” and has used tasers in situations that would not warrant lethal or violent force, such as verbal aggression [10].

On Tuesday, 5 July, 2005 Michael Todd, Chief Constable of Manchester, England, let himself be shot in the back with a taser, to demonstrate his confidence that tasers can be used safely. This was videoed, and the video was released to the BBC on 17 May 2007. He was wearing a shirt and no jacket. When tased he fell forward on his chest on the ground, and (he said afterwards) the shock made him helpless; but soon after he recovered completely. [4] [5] Video

Although some police volunteers have shown tasers to function appropriately on a healthy, calm individual, the real-life target of a taser is, if not mentally or physically unsound, in a state of high stress. According to the UK’s Defence Scientific Advisory Council’s subcommittee on the Medical Implications of Less-lethal Weapons (DoMILL), “The possibility that other factors such as illicit drug intoxication, alcohol abuse, pre-existing heart disease and cardioactive therapeutic drugs may modify the threshold for generation of cardiac arrhythmias cannot be excluded.” Additionally, taser experiments “do not take into account real life use of tasers by law enforcement agencies, such as repeated or prolonged shocks and the use of restraints” [11].

Drive Stun

Some TASER devices, particularly those used by police departments, also have a "Drive Stun" capability, where the taser is held against the target without firing barbs and is intended to cause pain without incapacitating the target. TASER defines "Drive Stun" as "the process of using the EMD weapon as a pain compliance technique. This is done by activating the EMD and placing it against an individual’s body. This can be done without an air cartridge in place or after an air cartridge has been deployed.". [12]

A Las Vegas police document says "The Drive Stun causes significant localized pain in the area touched by the TASER but does not have a significant effect on the central nervous system. The Drive Stun does not incapacitate a subject but may assist in taking a subject into custody." [13]

It is also known as "Dry taseing" or "Drive taseing".

Wireless long-range electric shock weapon

This weapon fires a projectile which administers an electric shock without needing a connecting wire. See TASER International.

Stun belts

A stun belt is a belt that is fastened around the subject's waist or leg or arm which carries a battery and control pack and contains features to stop the subject from unfastening or removing it. A remote control signal is sent to tell the battery pack to give the subject an electric shock. Some models are activated by the subject's movement.

The United States uses these devices to control prisoners. One type is the REACT belt. Some stun belts can restrain the subject's hands and have a strap going under the subject's crotch to stop him from rotating the belt around the subject's waist trying to deactivate it. Stun belts are not generally available to the public.

Home-made electroshock weapons

As the mechanisms of tasers are not very advanced, some people with basic knowledge of electronics have been able to build homemade tasers or electric shock prods. There has been at least one case of students using improvised electric shock prods in a school. In March 2005, several high school students in Maine faced charges when another student reported that they had been playing with improvised electric shock prods and testing them on themselves and fellow students. The devices were made from disposable cameras with a 330-volt electric potential difference, which, while not strong enough to cause severe injury, could (some claim) be fatal to someone with a condition such as heart arrhythmia. [citation needed]

Prototype designs

Due to increased interest in developing less-lethal weapons, mainly from the US military, a number of new types of electroshock weapon are being researched. They are designed to provide a "ranged" non-lethal weapon.

Weapons that administer electric shock through a stream of fluid

Prototype electroshock guns exist which replace the solid wire with a stream of conductive liquid (essentially salty water) which offers the range of a Taser (or better) and the possibility of multiple shots. See Electrified water cannon. Difficulties associated with this experimental design include:

  • “Non-continuous” discharge onto subject: liquid stream needs over 30 feet and over 5 second discharge.
  • “Pooling” of conductive liquid at base of subject, making apprehension of subject difficult by observing officers.
  • Need to carry a large tank of the liquid used, and a propellant canister, like a “water gun”, to administer consecutive bursts of liquid over distances.

Another design, announced by Rheinmetall W&M as a prototype in 2003, uses an aerosol as the conductive medium. The manufacturers called it a "Plasma Taser"; however, this is only a marketing name, and the weapon does not use plasma. Problems associated with this design include:

  • Poor electrical conductivity.
  • Range of concept design is nominal (a gas cannot be propelled greater than 10 feet effectively).
  • The “gassing effect”: all subjects in enclosed spaces are subjected to same effects (if any, as electrical conductivity can be poor).


Other known or rumored variants include the electrolaser, which uses blooming of a laser beam to create a conductive channel of ionized air (plasma) to carry the electric shock.



Main article: Electroshock Weapon Controversy

Because of the use of electricity and the claim of the weapon being non-lethal, controversy has sprouted over particular incidents involving the weapon and the use of the weapon in general. Generally, controversy has been centered around the justification of the use of the weapon in certain instances, and in some cases, health issues that are claimed to be due to the use of the weapon.

In September of 2007, University of Florida student Andrew Meyer attended a speech by John Kerry and was subsequently tazered and arrested by police after making a series of statements accusing Kerry of not reacting strongly enough to the claims of voter fraud in the 2004 presidential election. Meyer did not attempt to injure police officers; he asked them what they were doing as they grabbed him and drug him to the back of the meeting-hall. He was arrested on charges of "resisting arrest and disturbing the peace" according to the Associated Press [6].

Doubts over their effectiveness as self-defense weapons

Although these devices are usually advertised as very effective "personal defense" weapons, many security operators and martial arts experts have expressed doubt about their effectiveness against determined and physically strong aggressors in a real melee combat situation and their value as a defense weapon in general.

They claim that electroshock weapons need much more continuous and uninterrupted contact time with one's intended target than usually advertised, well above 5 seconds, to stop a determined assailant effectively, and that much time can be impossible to achieve against a physically superior or better trained opponent in close unarmed combat. They claim that in such an event, the likely outcome would probably be merely irritating the assailant and having the electroshock weapon broken, taken away, or used against oneself for retaliation, after giving its intended user a false sense of security and power.[14]


External links


Amnesty International Renews Call for Independent TASER Review (Jan. 8, 2007)

Amnesty International 2006 Report on TASER Abuse (March 28, 2006)

Amnesty International Full 2004 Report on TASER Abuse (Nov. 30, 2004)

Amnesty International's 2004 Summary on TASER Abuse (Nov. 30, 2004)

Polcie with TASERS Index Page

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All information posted on this web site is the opinion of the author and is provided for educational purposes only. It is not to be construed as medical advice. Only a licensed medical doctor can legally offer medical advice in the United States. Consult the healer of your choice for medical care and advice.