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Last summer, I did complete reviews on the TASER M18 and X26C, TASER's then-existent civilian self-defense tools. At the time, I made some comparisons between what used to be science-fiction and is now science-fact. When I compared the TASER models to the phasers from various versions of Star Trek, I never expected that TASER would evolve the appearance of these tools along the same lines. In the original Star Trek, the phasers were shaped like pistols. In Star Trek: The Next Generation the phasers were shaped more like television remote controls--a curved ergonomic device with push-button activation on the back instead of a trigger on a pistol grip. Well, guess what? The TASER C2 is the realization of that same type of design evolution: it no longer looks like a pistol at all, and comes in four different colors so you can accessorize accordingly.

If you remember the information about the TASER X26C, it is essentially a modified version of the law enforcement model TASER X26. Where the X26 provides a five second "ride" each time you pull the trigger, the X26C provides a ten second discharge. Since the X26C was specifically designed as a defense and escape tool, TASER made it so that you could pull the trigger three times in quick succession and the result was a 30 second discharge. That was the entire goal: a 30 second incapacitating shock delivered to the bad guy, so that you could put the TASER X26C down and run away.

On the X26C, the safety lever worked just like on the M-series and on the LE version of the X26: in the down position it was on safe, and in the up position the system was charged. Two LEDs provided you basic illumination, and the integral laser aiming device gave you a quick visual reference for your point of aim. All of the M-series and X-series of TASERs also have mechanical sights for your optional use. Take a good look at that photo to the above right: there are no mechanical sights; and the laser aiming device is optional.

The "safety" is a sliding cover door that prevents accidental discharge of the weapon through an unintentional pushing of the activation/firing button. When the sliding safety door is opened by pulling it back with your thumb, the LED and laser aiming device (if you chose to purchase that option) are activated. The maximum firing distance of the C2 is the same as the X26C: fifteen feet. Two probes are fired by a charge of compressed gas, and those probes trail insulated wires which carry the electric charge. When the probes strike the target--or come within an inch of it, thanks to electricity's ability to arc across air--the circuit between the power source and the probes is completed delivering the "TASER Wave" through the large striated muscle groups between the probes.

On the C2 there is no three-trigger-pull requirement to build up to the thirty-second discharge. One push of the activation button fires the cartridge and automatically delivers that thirty second discharge. That thirty seconds is your window of opportunity to drop the TASER and get away. The first time I taught someone that (and yes, I'm a certified TASER instructor) they said, "Just leave it there? I paid an awful lot for it." I appreciate that, but guess what? Every time you fire a TASER cartridge, small circular tags that have the serial number of that cartridge are also discharged. When you report the crime to the police (the assault, robbery, etc that you used the TASER to defend yourself from) and they file their report including the serial number found on any of those tags, TASER will replace your C2 or X26C for free. THAT is a heck of a security feature.

Now, as you can see from the image shown right, without a cartridge in place, the TASER C2 can still be used as a "stun gun" type of device. The electrical charge arcs between the sheltered contacts. If the end of the C2 were pushed up against an individual and activated, that electrical arc would be through their skin.

I was careful to say "sheltered contacts" because with the new C2 design, TASER also resolved another potential problem or inconvenience. My wife has an X26C which she is hesitant to carry for a couple of reasons:

  1. It looks a lot like a pistol (even though it's clear plastic instead of black), and
  2. She HAS to carry it in the provided holster.

TASER is very careful to alert certified users that there is a chance for static electrical discharge to cause the cartridge in the TASER to fire. While no electrical discharge would occur from the TASER device, we all know that simply walking on some floors can cause a build up of static electricity which we feel the next time we touch someone or reach for a doorknob. That same static discharge, if it happened at the end of the X26C (or other M or X models) may cause the gas capsule inside the cartridge to fire the probes. If one of the probes hits you in the leg, arm, side, etc, it's still going to hurt even without the accompanying electrical discharge.

By sheltering the contacts farther within the TASER C2 body and protecting them even more with the shape and integral design of the cartridge itself, TASER greatly decreases any chance of a static discharge inadvertently firing the cartridge probes. In other words, you can carry the C2 in your pocket more safely. So now you have a self-defense tool that looks nothing like a pistol and you can drop in a cargo pocket, purse, etc and have handy when you need it.

Finally, the price point has come way down as well: from close to $1,000 for the X26C to less than $300 for the basic C2. That makes the C2 cheaper to own than most every firearm of contemporary manufacture. My wife has flat out stated that if I can get her a silver or blue C2, she'd happily carry that with her nearly everywhere she goes. Due to its changed appearance (not looking like a pistol in any way) she's even more open to the idea of carrying it on a daily basis during errands and to/from work.

I think TASER has really hit a home run with this design. I strongly encourage all buyers to get the optional laser aiming device for two reasons: one, to increase your chances of hitting the subject under stress, and two, to take advantage of the psychological impact that little red dot seems to have on bad guys. When they see it they seem to know what's coming next--but they think it's a bullet, not an electrical ride they will come to know and hate.