January 15, 2013
Technical Writing B4
The XREP and X12 Shotgun Taser
Since ECD (Electronic Control Devices) such as Tasers were introduced, officers of the law have been relying less on lethal force and more on what is known as less-lethal force. The Tasers commonly used in law enforcement, however, only had a range of about twenty feet. This created a “capability gap” of 35-65 feet where the officer could not use a Taser and was hesitant to use a gun, but the assailant could still throw something deadly. As a result, the XREP (eXtended Range Electronic Projectile) a self-contained version of traditional Tasers, was the solution. To go along with the XREP, the X12 was a specially designed shotgun to maximize the ability of the XREP Taser shotgun shells and prevent the use of real shotgun slugs within it. These new weapons should be used for law enforcement purposes. Tasers like the X26, which is the wired Taser commonly used in law enforcement now, and the new XREP both have unique benefits, but both operate on the same basic principle of interfering with human’s electrical communication signals. Every human needs electricity to survive and function. Most importantly to ECD weapons, electrical signals are used in the body to send communications between the brain and muscles. These weapons do not operate on sheer power alone, but instead they mimic the electrical signals between the brain and muscles and interrupt them (Taser International, 2012). This is what makes a Taser less dangerous than other types of shocks like one delivered from an electrical outlet. Also, electrical outlets have a high current but medium voltage, while ECD weapons have a low current but high voltage, making ECD’s much safer. Taser International compares wall outlets and ECD’s to waterfalls and rainfalls respectively (Taser International, 2012). According to Taser International (2012):
By way of analogy, let’s compare a waterfall to rainfall. The pressure or voltage behind each droplet of water in the waterfall is actually a lot less than for each rain drop – because the rain drop is falling from a much greater height. So, the “voltage” of this waterfall is much less than for rain. However, the rate of flow or "current" for the waterfall is much, much higher than for the rain, which falls in small droplets separated in space and time compared to the continuous flow of the waterfall. The Taser ECD operates in a way that will not significantly injure the assailant by using sheer force but instead simply interrupts communications.
The Taser XREP is composed of eight parts: shell, fins, nose, barbs, hand trap, transformer, microprocessor, and power source. The shell is a shock-absorbing plastic that contains the entire apparatus and protect it from the blast (Dyer, 2010). The fins deploy after firing to ensure accuracy, since officers are aiming away from the face and chest (Dyer, 2010). The nose contains the four barbs that first come into contact and impale the skin (Strickland, 2009). Then, on contact, the force of impact causes the rest of the XREP to separate from the nose and hang on a live copper wire (Dyer, 2010). To deliver the stronger incapacitating shock, another contact point with the skin other than the nose (Strickland, 2009). If the assailant does not follow instinct and grab the copper wire to attempt to pull out the barbs on the nose, then barbs on the hanging part of the XREP pop out and contact the skin to complete the circuit (Dyer, 2010). The hand trap is referring to the live copper wire that hangs down after impact, acting as another possible contact point with the skin. The transformer converts energy from the battery into the discharge of 1.3 milliamps (Dyer, 2010). Again, this power is relatively low compared to the wall socket which outputs 20 amps. The microprocessor commands the Taser to fire once the circuit is complete (Dyer, 2010). Once the electricity is being delivered, the microprocessor...