Air-Taser M-18 and M-18L - Experience and Opinions Sought


February 6, 2003, 04:33 PM
Hello Everyone,

Does anyone have any experience with Air Taser's new M-18 and M-18L (same thing with a laser) Taser Guns?

How effective are they against violent individuals? Against those under the influence of drugs and alcohol?

What is their failure rate?

Besides their maximum range and battery life, do they have any limitations?

Who is a good dealer to buy an Air Taser from?

Thanks for the input.

- Anthony

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Don Gwinn
February 6, 2003, 10:53 PM
Funny you should ask. I know absolutely nothing about tasers. ;)

But I just got the new SWAT, and Rob Pincus has a story in it about attending the instructor's course for the law enforcement version. He really seemed impressed, which surprised me a little. However, Rob doesn't mess around, and if he liked it, you can bet he thinks it's serious. He let them shoot him with one, which was perhaps unwise, but certainly brave and gave him good perspective. He reports that he was genuinely unable to stand during the experience, but that function came back very quickly after the device was shut off.

Rob says in the article that drugs and alcohol would have no effect because the device doesn't rely on pain compliance but instead actually causes the subject to lose control of voluntary muscles. The biggest limitations I see are the ability of the probes to penetrate heavy clothing and the extremely quick recovery time after the subject is shocked--Rob says he was able to stand and laugh about it literally seconds after (though he does say that the pain during the shock cycle is the worst thing he's ever experienced.)

He seems to say that the Air Taser should be more reliable than pepper spray but not a replacement for a firearm. Honestly, I'm not sure. On the one hand, since it doesn't rely on pain, the taser should work where OC won't. But "working" for a cop is different than "working" for my wife. If you need to make a man go limp for a few seconds so that the other six officers on scene can grab him before he can cut them, the taser is probably much better than OC. But if you and a large man are alone on the street and he attacks you, what happens after you tase him? If Rob's experience is correct, you have as long as the shock lasts plus a few seconds to run. You get that head start, but if he comes after you, he is no longer incapacitated. It sounds like a good way to break up a standoff, but not a self-defense weapon.

February 8, 2003, 11:07 PM
Don raises probably the best points I've seen for the arguement against a taser for civilian use.

February 9, 2003, 01:43 AM
Can't address the specifics of that model, but I'll pass on the one story I know. A guy I know, only because my brother brings him hunting occasionally, is 6' 2", 250 pounds, solid from work not a gym, and basically limited to the reptilian part of his brain. A couple years ago he got Tasered by the police after leaving a bar at closing time. (Just to be clear, his conduct probably merited it.) Anyway, he said it was like getting hit by a Mack truck; he just went down and was completely powerless.

However, this was summertime, he was only wearing a T-shirt, and he never saw it coming. So, I'd guess that under ideal circumstances they can be very effective. Personally, for the same size (almost) I'd choose some of that bear spray that shoots 30'. The Tasers just strike me as having too many variables to rely on.

February 9, 2003, 04:17 AM
Of course, then you h ave to worry about pulling the taser when you really want the gun, or vice-versa. Remember the officer who killed a suspect because of that mixup?

Don Gwinn
February 10, 2003, 10:02 AM
Well, to their credit, they seem to be trying to avoid that. The Taser does look a bit like a gun, but it has a very different trigger--more of a rubber-coated button--and yellow stripes down the side. They also taught students in the course Rob took to teach officers to get into the habit of using the word "deploy" rather than "fire" when using the taser and to warn all the officers nearby before deploying the taser. This sounds like a wise precaution so that no officer mistakes the reaction to the taser as a threat.
I don't know. Rob seems to think the taser could replace pepper spray and some other less-lethal stuff for police use, and that's really as far as the scope of his article goes. I notice he definitely did not so much as suggest that it might replace firearms. I agree with that, although I think we'll hear just the opposite from every gun-control and anti-cop group out there. Probably hear such complaints a lot on gun boards, oddly enough, once there are tasers out there in large numbers.

I still haven't made up my mind as far as civilian self-defense, and I'm far from an expert on the subject so all my thinking-out-loud here should be taken with a grain of salt. Frankly I'm still of the mind that if you must carry something less lethal than a gun but you want a projectile, pepper spray might make more sense. Although it's not as certain, it can't be defeated by clothing short of a gas mask and even if your opponent is not stopped in his tracks it will continue to affect him until he stops to go flush it off him. If you hose your rapist with it and run, the OC may not stop him from chasing you but it will continue to get worse as time goes on and thus continue to aid your escape. Rob was very tired after the shot, but he didn't even get really sore until the next morning.
On the other hand, there isn't much my wife could do with her bare hands or a stick beyond hurting a man for a moment and running. That poses the same problem--she can hurt him and get a head start but then he's free to come after her.

While we're on the subject of mistaking a less-lethal for a gun, does anyone make a pepper-spray canister built more or less in the style of a pistol? Wouldn't that be much easier for most people to use, or are we so used to spray paint and Lemon Pledge that it doesn't matter?

Roadkill Coyote
February 19, 2003, 06:55 PM
Well, I wouldn't want to depend upon one exclusively for defense, even though I am a believer. The company themselves points out that the Taser isn't a substitute for lethal force, where such force might be required. If I was going to use one for defense though, I would make having a second cartridge stored with the unit, immediately accessable with the off hand a high priority. If you have a second cartridge immediately available reloading takes about a second. So, instead of running, the best solution might be to knock them down for the five second cycle. Use that time to draw the second cartridge. If they begin to get up immediately, shock them again. Then, when the cycle ends, while they are recovering, or at least laying there trying to figure out whether they are going to get hit again, reload and back out of the situation.

Roadkill Coyote
February 19, 2003, 07:13 PM
Whoops, I should probably also mention limitations, the whole point of the thread.
Obstacles: you have to hit with both probes, so firing at someone who is partially covered, say by a car door or window frame can be tricky. Which brings us to...

Practice: cartridges are expensive, and in order to shoot off enough to know where the probes are gonna go, as well as what you can and can't do with it, your going to spend at least another hundred. The understanding you get from practice prevents...

Hesitation: if you wait until the situation gets physical because you don't have the confidence and understanding, then you have thrown away the main advantage of the Taser, which is that you can use it before the situation gets to where you would otherwise shoot someone. Plenty of law enforcement officers are just figuring this one out, the main benefit of the Taser is stopping the escalation as soon as practical. The wrestling phase is too late, whether your talking about a Taser, pepper spray or anything else.

February 20, 2003, 04:01 PM
I bought an M-18L for my wife's use. Our understanding is that if you do get a good first hit and the badguy goes down, you can wait til he starts to move and give the trigger another squeeze and he gets another jolt thru the existing wires/probes... for as long as the batteries last. Blowing loud whistle all of time, of course. If anyone has heard/read different, please say so and I'll use up another $25 cartridge to test it out. (at $25 a pop, I damn well better be able to get multiple jolts out if it!)

Roadkill Coyote
February 20, 2003, 07:49 PM
As long as the batteries last, you can trigger a new five second cycles as soon as the last one ends. But you are dependent on the wires remaining whole and the probes staying in. So, if you are going to go that route, you can't allow them to get ahold of either, and be aware that someone rolling around or stepping on the wires could break them. I'd really reccommend having a second cartridge immediately available (actually I'd prefer to have a handgun as back up and a second cartridge, but this is about the Taser :rolleyes: ).

If your wife has to use it, who cares about 25 bucks, get some spare cartridges and have her practice and get to know the probe spread. If its going to be in the car, put your car in the garage, attach the target to the wall just outside the passenger or driver's side window and let her figure out how she's going to have to angle or elevate it to make sure both probes go through the window.

Finally consider getting the rechargeable NIMH batteries, its a pain to recharge them religiously every two weeks, but they are noticably superior to the Alkaline, and less susceptable to cold. The easiest way to keep track of when to charge then is put a bit of masking tape on the backstrap of the taser and write the date you recharged on it with a sharpie, then just pull it off and put a new one on each time you recharge, that way you can always tell when it was last charged just by looking at the unit. just drop the roll of tape and marker in the drawer with the charger. :)

Hope this helps.

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