Product Review: Advanced TASER M26
By Sgt. Charles "Yoda" Humes, Jr.
Toledo Police Department, Ohio
If you’re like me, you’ve watched countless Star Trek reruns and witnessed their "phasers" (set on stun, of course), harmlessly subdue the bad guy. He falls like a sack of potatoes, instantly incapacitated; but completely unharmed. If you’re like me, you’ve often thought of how great it would have been to actually have such a device in your last violent encounter.
Unfortunately, current technology isn’t quite there yet. However, it’s extremely close, and deserves serious consideration by all law enforcement agencies. I recently attended an instructor’s school that impressed me more than any other school I’ve ever attended. I do not give such an endorsement lightly, nor does it come without a great deal of experience to back it up. When it comes to the police use of force and the Martial Arts, I’ve been around the block. I’ve been either Instructor, or Trainer of Instructors certified, in most of the law enforcement self-defense/subject control systems available. In my younger years, I was certified as a Black Belt Instructor in three different styles of Karate, and I dabbled in several others Karate systems as well as Akido, Judo, and jiu-jitsu.
During my training, I‘ve always been a "show me, don’t tell me how effective this is" type of student. I’ve been knocked down, knocked out, choked out, punched, kicked, and body slammed. I’ve been thrown, pulled, pushed, tear gassed, maced, paintballed and hit with just about every known strike, joint lock, and non-lethal weapon known to man. I‘m also what you would categorize as a very goal oriented combatant. I can fight through the effects of mace and tear gas with enough gusto to be a serious problem, if I was on the other side of the law.
When Hans Marrero and the folks from Taser International showed up for an instructor’s certification school on that cold January morning, I went in with the "show me" person attitude. When Hans asked the class if anyone wanted to be shot with the M26 Taser and take the full "ride." Only my hand and three or four other "show me’s" hands went up out of a class of about thirty officers.
I wanted to see the full and complete effects of the M26 Taser. I took my shirt off to expose bare skin and was shot in the back with it. From a distance of about 12 –15 feet, one dart hit me in the upper shoulder, the other landed right on my belt line.
It’s an amazing experience. I really thought I was going to able to fight the M26 Taser’s effects at least momentarily, as I’ve been able to do to other less-lethal toys. I got into my best, most aggressive mindset possible, and Hans fired. It was like standing on the beach expecting to get struck in the face with a pail of water from your young offspring, and then getting hit by a Tsunami Tidal wave that blows you right off of the beach.
The M26 Taser floods your body with electrical impulses that are almost identical to the impulses sent by your own brain that generates movement in your muscles. While the brain sends specific impulses for specific muscles to move, the M26 Taser sends out a general signal telling every muscle to move at once. The result is, for lack of a better description; almost all of your muscles simultaneously contract against each other. Your body locks up almost instantly, you go down to the ground with inappreciable damage, and you are no longer a threat to anyone. I have never, ever, experienced such complete, instant incapacitation as being hit with the M26 Taser.
After the M26 Taser ran its' full five-second cycle, everything was fine. Other than a minor blister from one of the probes on my bare skin, which healed just fine; and some temporary muscle soreness from my muscle’s sudden contractions, I suffered no other ill effects. When compared to the serious injures a baton, a sap, or even a punch can inflict, this is definitely a logical and court defendable tradeoff. If I had kept my shirt on, the blister would not have occurred.
Taser International has a very informative website at: www.taser.com that includes in-depth technical and medical information, as well as numerous videos of actual field uses of the M26 Taser. I would encourage all law enforcement officers and agencies to take a serious look at this incredible control tool. It can prevent countless injuries to officers and suspects, as well as mountains of paperwork and years of litigation. I wholeheartedly give it my highest possible recommendation.
For more information on the M26 Advanced Taser, visit www.taser.com.