Taser International is about to begin production on a projectile that
can disable someone up to 98 feet away with a quick blast of
The company has successfully completed tests with the Office of Naval
Research on the Extended Range Electro-Muscular Projectile (XREP).
Unlike current Taser guns, this projectile is fired out of a shotgun.
When it strikes a target, the projectile transmits a jolt of
electricity, and a second round can then be fired.
In current Taser guns, the projectile has the same function, but it is
connected to the gun and a power pack with a wire, limiting the range
to 25 feet. XREPs are wireless.
The electrical jolt in wired Taser weapons is generally powerful enough to knock a person over and make him or her writhe in pain.
Although the company did not state the size of the charge that XREPs
release, testers said it was powerful enough for crowd control.
"The effect locked up muscles and totally overwhelmed the senses," said
Stephen Kunich, with Air Force Air Combat Command Security Forces and
one of 35 volunteers who lined up for a five-second test. "I was
completely incapacitated. Additionally, I was amazed at the
instantaneous physical recovery," he said.
Taser has been embroiled in controversy for the past few years. Many
civil liberties organizations believe that the weapons have led to
several deaths, despite being billed as nonlethal. The company denies
these claims and asserts that the weapons lead to fewer fatalities,
because they give police an alternative to using a gun in many
A formal product launch of the XREPs will occur in 2008.