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Thread: So, how do you differentiate a Taser from a gun?

  1. #1

    So, how do you differentiate a Taser from a gun?

    it's an honest question. i have no LE experience and i've never done anything with tasers. so how do you guys tell the difference in the heat of battle? is it colored different? mounted on your weak-hand side? what procedures are in place to prevent you from accidentally grabbing your gun instead of the taser?

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    Hoplophilic doc SAWBONES's Avatar
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    Lack of thoroughgoing familiarity with life-saving equipment which is carried daily, and used as a part of your professional responsibilities, is altogether inexcusable.
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    And while the sun and moon endure, Luck's a chance, but trouble's sure,
    I'd face it as a wise man would, And train for ill and not for good." -- A.E. Housman

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    Quote Originally Posted by smokeman View Post
    it's an honest question. i have no LE experience and i've never done anything with tasers. so how do you guys tell the difference in the heat of battle? is it colored different? mounted on your weak-hand side? what procedures are in place to prevent you from accidentally grabbing your gun instead of the taser?
    General practice is to wear tasers on the support hand side, whether belt or vest mounted, either for a support hand draw (what I do) or for cross draw with the strong hand. Either is distinct from drawing a firearm with the strong hand.

    If I recall correctly, in the last high profile gun mistaken for taser incident involving the SF Bay Area Rapid Transit Police, the officer had the taser in a thigh rig on the strong side below his duty pistol.

    many tasers are now colored yellow but that is less for the officer and more for witnesses and distinction on video.

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    When I carried a taser, I carried it high on the left side of my vest, oriented for left hand draw. My pistol was in a dropped and offset duty holster just ahead of the opposite hip. I drew both «on the street» many times (not both simultaneously), and never drew one when I meant to draw the other.

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    Site Supporter Cory's Avatar
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    I know there is at least one tazer instructor here, but I can't remember who. I expect they will chime in.

    When I went through tazer training as an MP little was discussed about methods of carry. However, the X26 (possibly outdated now, others may be different) had yellow/black strips on various parts. It also had a very M9ish safety switch. Once off safe a red laser projected to where your top prong would fire. The other would strike below, with the spread determined by distance. After firing the display on the rear of the tazer counted down how long until the ride was over.

    The big difference between an X26 and firearm (again others might be different) is the size, weight, safety, and aiming system. Perhaps in addition to draw stroke.

  6. #6
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    From my first day of wearing a Taser I carried it on my off hand side, butt to the rear. I did this so I had to draw it with my left hand, which made it counterintuitive to drawing my sidearm. This wasn't agency policy but seemed wise to me. Most of the Troops carried it in crossdraw fashion on the front of the belt. I never liked that because, as I said, I didn't want my strong hand to have even subconscious access to both. I was also concerned about abdominal damage during a vehicular crash, something no one else ever took into account.

    If you confuse your Taser for a firearm, you're either ineptly trained and experienced or you're using that as an excuse.
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    Site Supporter Shotgun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HCM View Post
    General practice is to wear tasers on the support hand side, whether belt or vest mounted, either for a support hand draw (what I do) or for cross draw with the strong hand. Either is distinct from drawing a firearm with the strong hand.

    If I recall correctly, in the last high profile gun mistaken for taser incident involving the SF Bay Area Rapid Transit Police, the officer had the taser in a thigh rig on the strong side below his duty pistol.

    many tasers are now colored yellow but that is less for the officer and more for witnesses and distinction on video.
    Doesn't a Taser feel different, look different, have a different heft, and have different sights than the duty pistol? Who knows if true or not (perhaps journalistic sensationalism regarding the number of shots fired), but I saw an article indicating that the officer fired several times. Even if there was a mistake, such a mistake would seem difficult to defend on any shots fired after the first.
    "Rich," the Old Man said dreamily, "is a little whiskey to drink and some food to eat and a roof over your head and a fish pole and a boat and a gun and a dollar for a box of shells." Robert Ruark

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    Site Supporter Shotgun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cory View Post
    The big difference between an X26 and firearm (again others might be different) is the size, weight, safety, and aiming system. Perhaps in addition to draw stroke.
    Cory posted this while I was writing my previous.
    "Rich," the Old Man said dreamily, "is a little whiskey to drink and some food to eat and a roof over your head and a fish pole and a boat and a gun and a dollar for a box of shells." Robert Ruark

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shotgun View Post
    Doesn't a Taser feel different, look different, have a different heft, and have different sights than the duty pistol? Who knows if true or not (perhaps journalistic sensationalism regarding the number of shots fired), but I saw an article indicating that the officer fired several times. Even if there was a mistake, such a mistake would seem difficult to defend on any shots fired after the first.
    Media gets things wrong all the time. The body cam video has been released in the MN case. I only saw one shot.

    It's ultimately a training / hiring / retention issue.

    To a cop who is a gun nerd on PF feel, heft and sights are things they might notice. To a stressed out/ mentally overloaded non gun person who maybe never should have never been hired or retained in the first place it's all the same.

    IME the look / color difference i.e. yellow tasers is more for suspects, witnesses and video. Officers, especially the ones at greatest risk for these sorts of things have too much going on to notice.

  10. #10
    I was and will never be a Taser instructor. That said, while I was coordinating training I advocated weak-hand draw for the Taser...especially after the BART police OIS a few years ago. It just seems too easy to vapor lock under stress and get them confused.

    I think it’s time for LE agencies to reevaluate Taser usage in general. As a profession we have become too reliant on the tools on our belts...and a taser is 50/50 at best simply because officers don’t get far enough away for it to be effective of one of the probes misses

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