In our daily conversations, we constantly use specific product names as all-encompassing terms. For instance, we refer to all flavored gelatin desserts as “Jell-O” even though that’s the brand name for one specific product. We call all adhesive bandages “Band-Aids” and all personal tissues “Kleenex.” We know the difference, so it’s no big deal, right?

Similar discussions take place on the more serious topic of personal safety and defense. We hear all pressurized defensive sprays referred to as “Mace” even though Mace is a brand name for one specific product from Mace Security International. The only thing pepper spray and Mace share in common is the fact that they both come in aerosol cans.

How about the Taser and the Stun Gun? Are these interchangeable terms for essentially the same products? Not by a long shot. That’s akin to using “Cadillac” and “car” as interchangeable terms.

Taser Technology

A bit of trivia for you: the Taser got its name from the children’s book “Tom Swift and his Electric Rifle” circa 1911. Taser is short for Thomas A. Swift’s Electric Rifle. Though tremendously popular with law enforcement today, the Taser has actually been in production in one form or another for over four decades. The father of the modern Taser was Jack Cover, a NASA scientist who came up with the idea around 1967.

The original Taser device used explosive propellant gases to fire wire-tethered darts. This put it into the “firearm” category and made it a controlled item under BATFE guidelines. These Taser units were embraced by a few law enforcement agencies, but the cost was prohibitive for many. Old Tasers had to be monitored closely for battery strength and they did not see anywhere near the success of current models.

A lot of research and development went into the modern Taser and the M26 was released with interchangeable cartridges powered by compressed gas, not gunpowder. The M26 morphed into today’s X26, a unit that has seen nearly universal acceptance and success in the field. The modern Taser unit bears little resemblance to the original model, but the concept remains the same.

Civilian Tasers

With law enforcement agencies worldwide putting the Taser to effective use, the next logical step was to offer units to law-abiding citizens for personal protection. The X26C (Civilian) replaced the old M18 as a choice for citizens with the need and means to purchase one.

There is no getting around the fact that the X26C was pretty pricey for the average person. Taser International answered that issue by offering the Taser C2, which incorporates most of the features of its big brother, but is about one-third the price.

The C2 units use replaceable cartridges. Each cartridge fires two barbed darts attached to 15-foot long wires. Like LE models, the probes are driven out with compressed gas, and the C2 unit includes both a red aiming laser and a white LED light.

A shielded push button launches the probes. The “ride,” as cops like to call it, is 30 seconds of electrical energy. Each C2 is powered by a Lithium battery cartridge that is good for up to 50 uses. Police units give up to a 5-second ride, as they will handcuff a suspect soon thereafter. The civilian unit gives you 30 seconds to get away and seek help.

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