Run with your gun Part 3: If you can't take it with you ...

In the last two installments of Run with your gun (April and May) Lindsey Bertomen described how law enforcement officers can reap the benefits of regular exercises. While training itself is important, it is vital that officers stay prepared on the track...

   When the trigger safety cover is opened, the LED illuminator and laser-aiming device switch on. The LED illuminator is not particularly bright, but bright enough to identify and confirm a target in total darkness. The laser is a confidence builder. First, one of the probes more or less follows the line of the laser. The other falls away at a subtle angle (approximately 8 degrees), allowing ideal separation of the probes. This improves the effect of the device. The laser is optional on the TASER C2; do not purchase one without it.

   TASER International recommends targeting large muscle groups. I didn't have any problem orienting and quickly aiming the device. Some evidence suggests the laser and illuminator can help de-escalate an incident before it is consummated.

   The C2 cartridge resembles its law-enforcement cousin. It is propelled by nitrogen and has the trademark blast doors. It is smaller and lighter. It also releases tiny confetti like particles when fired, which get on everything. This is the Anti-Felon ID System (AFID) tagging. Unique to each fired cartridge, its purpose is to aid in identifying the suspect later.

   The manual of arms differs from the law enforcement version, too. The civilian user is not supposed to recover the unit once it is deployed. Once fired, the NMI pulse continues for 30 seconds. At that point the user is supposed to lay the device on the ground and escape. TASER International will replace the unit after a police report has been filed.

   AFID tagging is effective in reducing unauthorized (illegal) use of the C2. In addition, an online background check must be completed before the device can be activated. Users can do this on a secure Web site using a CheckLok feature, or they can telephone a toll-free number for activation.

   My TASER C2 is remarkably simple. For a defensive tool, this is important. The lithium power magazine is inserted into the rear of the device. Although it has a sticker saying, "this side up," I recommend making it more asymmetrical so it can only be inserted one way.

   Once activated, an LED beneath the trigger safety cover gives the green light, indicating the device is armed. With the safety cover over the trigger button, one slips a cartridge into the front, being careful not to let any portion of their body in front of the cartridge. The device should be pointed in a safe direction.

   TASER International mentions the resistance one will encounter when slipping the loaded cartridge into the front of the device. This is an area in which I recommend TASER International improves. I had to muscle the cartridge into the device while holding it by the side, according to the instructions. I found later that the fired cartridge is quite easy to remove. I would have preferred they shaved the dimensions just a little to make it easier to insert, especially since one cannot pound it in with the palm, which would be a safety violation.

   One trick that seems to work is to ease the cartridge into the device by pushing it on a rigid flat surface. Use both thumbs, not the thumb and forefinger, to remove a live cartridge.

   The TASER C2 did exactly what they said it would. It has an extremely high hit probability within its recommended distance. A moving target is quite doable. For the uninitiated, it is effective through clothing a great deal of the time. Fifteen feet is a lengthier standoff distance than most other less than lethal devices. The laser-aiming device is daylight friendly and worked just fine in guiding the probe.

   As most experts know, the TASER wave is not simply a pain compliance phenomenon. It shuts everything down. This makes this kind of product much better than a stun device or a chemical irritant. Bad guys can sometimes fight through pain or something in their eyes. The only thing bad guys can fight through that a TASER C2 can deliver is an ineffective or incomplete deployment. That's where the drive stun feature comes into play.

   I recommend a TASER C2 over other products because of the NMI phenomenon. If it just used pain compliance, I can tell you first-hand that the scariest encounter begins with a suspect who shrugs off something that worked just last week in another arrest. I have had a drug induced suspect look at me calmly and say, "You shouldn't have done that." When my backup blew past me doing Code 3 (because of my poor directions), I was certain I was in for a wild ride. Pain compliance is an incomplete answer.

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