How does a Taser gun work?

How these weapons use electricity to bring suspects down

Typically tucked away in a police officer’s holster, Taser guns have the power to bring criminals crashing to their knees. Once triggered, these weapons deliver 1,200 volts of electricity to the body of a target typically for five seconds. 

The suspect is first met by the laser guide, which can reach a distance of about 7.6 metres. Once positioned, the officer can pull the trigger and deliver a shocking shot. Bursting from the gun’s cartridge, two needle-style probes propel through the air to pierce the target’s skin. Electricity then flows from the gun through insulated wires to ultimately hijack the nervous system of the unfortunate victim.

Also known as ‘electro-muscular disruption’ guns, this method of defence results in the suspect’s muscles contracting, temporarily paralysing them as they fall to the ground.

Inside the Taser

How do Tasers deliver a shot strong enough to stop a suspect?

Image credit: Future PLC

 This article was originally published in How It Works issue 114

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