Defeating the Taser in Combat

by Matt on March 2, 2009

I want to preface this article by acknowledging that I am uncomfortable in discussing the following tactics in an open forum, where potential criminals can access them. Realizing that criminals are already sharing their own tactics for defeating the Taser, I decided to go ahead and publish this article. I hope you find it helpful.

With Taser’s being sold to civilians and the potential of an officer having his Taser taken from him, it is only a matter of time before an officer is assaulted by a suspect with a Taser. Having taken a hit, I would feel completely justified in drawing my weapon and shooting a suspect threatening me with a Taser, but my first priority must be avoiding getting hit by the Taser while drawing my gun. Taser’s are extremely effective and can cause complete incapacitation, so what if anything can an officer do to fight back?

  1. A moving target is hard to hit. Moving straight towards or away from the threat gives the appearance that you are standing still and makes you relatively easy to hit. If you can move laterally from the threat, you will be much harder to hit.
  2. Know the effective range of the weapon. The law enforcement model, Taser X-26, has a maximum effective range of 25 feet and fires a 5-second cycle, while the civilian model, Taser C2, has a maximum effective range of 15 feet and fires a 30-second cycle. If you can position yourself outside the effective range of the weapon, you can avoid being hit.
  3. Full incapacitation versus localized pain. If you are ambushed by a suspect armed with a Taser at close range and you do not have time to move far enough back to avoid the reach of the weapon, remember that the smaller the spread of the two prongs, the fewer muscle groups are disrupted. As a last option, you can move quickly towards the threat to limit the spread of the prongs. You must be prepared to control the suspect’s Taser to prevent a drive stun, while you neutralize the threat.
  4. Face the threat. If you are hit, you need to concentrate on breaking the wires or removing a probe with your hand before you fall to the ground. You will have limited ability to move your arms, so focus on making a sweeping motion with your lower arm and rip the wires away from your body. This would be extremely hard to do if you are shot in the back by the probes. National Geographic has an excellent series called “Fight Science”. A recent episode featured former Navy Seal, Chris Caracci, attempting to defeat the Taser. Caracci had previously been exposed to the Taser, so he knew exactly what to expect. In this experiment, Caracci takes a few minutes to mentally prepare himself before taking the hit. In real life, you are going to be pumped full of adrenaline and you will not need to get psyched up.     Watch the video here
  5. Ride the lightning in a training environment. If you have never taken a voluntary exposure with the Taser, then good luck. As you try to deal with this new sensation, your OODA loop is going to be violently disrupted. While having been exposed before is no guarantee of success, it does give you a better understanding of what to expect and can give you a slight edge. Surviving an ambush situation is all about playing the odds and setting them in your favor as much as possible. If you know what to expect, you will be better prepared mentally to deal with the situation.

Above all else, adopt a survival mindset. Know that you will not die and refuse to lose the engagement. Even if you are incapacitated by the Taser, be prepared to continue fighting as soon as you regain the physical ability to do it.

{ 2 trackbacks }

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

RD March 2, 2009 at 12:02 pm

You forgot the most important technique.
If hit, roll. Break the wires.
The local prison officials have been
watching convicts practice this in the yards.

Xiphos March 2, 2009 at 4:25 pm

If you guys ever have something you think is LE sensitive, you can post it in the secure forums at OfficerResource.com. I can help set it up for you. Your audience there is all cop.

This is a good article, thank you!

Matt March 2, 2009 at 9:08 pm

RD,

The roll and break the wire routine was the first technique that I had heard about when Tasers gained popularity in law enforcement a couple of years ago. We were told that prisoners were practicing the technique in prison yards, like you mentioned. After taking a hit, I do not know if I would be able to force myself into a roll while being Tased. As soon as the cycle ended I would definitely be able to roll, but I would have to roll far enough to take up all of the slack in the probe’s wires which may be a considerable distance, before the suspect hit me with another cycle. We have had at least one suspect attempt this technique with one of our officers, but the officer was able to begin a second cycle which stopped the suspect from being able to break the wires.

I do think I would be able to move one of my arms enough to strip a probe, like Chris Caracci demonstrated in the Fight Science experiment.

Thanks for the input, but I did not want you to think that I forgot the rolling technique. I merely chose to exclude it for something that I think I could perform successfully.

Please feel free to share any other techniques that you have heard about.

DK March 23, 2009 at 2:27 pm

BESIDES ALL OF THE AFORE MENTIONED TACTICS, I HAVE ALSO HEARD OF SUBJECTS WEARING HEAVIER CLOTHING AND SOME GOING SO FAR AS TO LACE DUCT TAPE OR VARIOUS THICK MATERIALS UNDER THERE CLOTHES, BETWEEN LAYERS. BESIDES THE FACT THAT A TASER CANNOT PIERCE AN ISSUED VEST.

Mark August 19, 2009 at 12:56 pm

Wow after doing this for 30 yrs and being an instructor in everything I can usually find something to disagree with in almost any trainging article.
Matt, the above article is fantastic and if ok with you can I copy it and give it to my kids (shift of about 40 Officers Im lt over in Indy)
Thanks
Mark

Matt August 23, 2009 at 2:56 am

Mark,

Please pass it on to your troops and encourage them to check out our site. I appreciate the positive feedback.

Stay safe,
Matt

Robert Agar-Hutton December 31, 2009 at 6:00 pm

Great article – it’s important to remember that nothing in life is guaranteed. Any self-preservation technique or device can go wrong (In terms of deployment, operation or effect). We need to focus on developing a flexible mindset so that WHATEVER we do, we always have a plan B.

Leigh May 11, 2011 at 9:07 pm

“With Taser’s being sold to civilians and the potential of an officer having his Taser taken from him, it is only a matter of time before an officer is assaulted by a suspect with a Taser. Having taken a hit, I would feel completely justified in drawing my weapon and shooting a suspect threatening me with a Taser, but my first priority must be avoiding getting hit by the Taser while drawing my gun.”

Thank God for our right to bare arms. If tazers were used only as a last resort to drawing a gun, they would be being used in the manner they were meant to be used, and we wouldn’t have the average non criminal citizen seeking out these weapons for protection. I certainly think a serious criminal with half a brain would be prepared for a tazor hit regardless of the posted topic.

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