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article / August 31, 2023

The Evolution of the TASER Energy Weapon

Officer holding a TASER 10 Energy Weapon

How the US-born less-lethal weapon earned its place on law enforcement belts around the world

Axon, the global leader in public safety technology, has a goal to cut the number of gun-related deaths between the police and the public in half by 2033. Few tools will be as important to achieving this goal as TASER energy weapons.

Graphic of the Evolution of TASER Energy Weapons from 1993 to 2023

Originally created as a less-lethal tool for de-escalating and resolving hostile scenarios in the field, TASER technology has evolved over decades to become a truly sophisticated piece of connected hardware. With the release of TASER 10, the world's first 10-probe TASER energy weapon, Axon is looking back at the advancements that have made TASER energy weapons invaluable to law enforcement agencies around the world.

How the TASER energy weapon became a life-saving tool

In 1993, the first TASER energy weapon to hit the market was released: the AIR TASER 34000. Originally designed for the civilian market, the AIR TASER 34000 was later adopted by law enforcement as an intermediate use-of-force option between the use of a baton and pepper spray.

The AIR TASER 34000 successfully incapacitated subjects, but relied on pain compliance. In 1999, Axon released the M26 Advanced TASER which used neuromuscular incapacitation, or NMI, to incapacitate subjects. NMI works by stimulating the sensory and motor nerves to flex rapidly, temporarily causing a subject to lose control of their motor functions. The M26 Advanced TASER also introduced the pistol-like form factor that would become standard for TASER energy weapons.

After the turn of the century, TASER technology achieved several crucial benchmarks that would make TASER energy weapons invaluable for public safety agencies. In 2003, the TASER X26 was released, featuring a new Shaped Pulse electrical waveform that increased NMI in subjects. The weapon was also 60% lighter and smaller than the M26, allowing it to fit easily onto a duty belt.

The TASER X2 hit the market in 2011, and was the world's first smart energy weapon, including features like automatic and signal performance power magazines, current metering and self-diagnostics. The TASER X2’s innovations gave it staying power, but it was TASER X26P, released in 2013, that helped drive mass adoption of TASER energy weapons across the US. The X26P is Axon’s most compact single-cartridge energy weapon, featuring an all-digital platform for automatic firmware updates and device checks. Easy to use and easy to carry, the X26P is still widely used by law enforcement agencies to this day.

Axon launched the TASER 7, one of its most advanced energy weapons, in 2018. The TASER 7 is a reliable close-quarters energy weapon that puts accuracy and power at the center of its design. The TASER 7’s rapid arc technology improved immobilization by leaps and bounds, while cross-connect technology maximized the effectiveness of probes deployed from separate cartridges. TASER 7 was also the first TASER energy weapon to integrate with Axon VR.

Check out Axon’s interactive webpage “The Evolution of TASER Energy Weapons” to see how TASER energy weapons have evolved over the years and explore the ins and outs of TASER 10, Axon’s latest energy weapon.

The TASER 10 marks a new era of energy weapons

Building on 30 years of technology and lessons learned, the TASER 10 generated considerable interest when it debuted at the beginning of 2023.

The TASER 10 has pinpointed each of the key successes of previous generations of TASER energy weapons and magnified them enormously. 

The TASER 10 has an increased range of 45 feet — nearly twice the distance of previous energy weapons. Its 10-cartridge capacity is designed to mitigate the causes of ineffective deployments, such as misses, loose clothing, and probes being pulled free by giving the officer more chances to obtain an effective connection. Each of TASER 10’s probes deploys individually, giving officers greater control over aim and the ability to create their own probe spread at any distance. Simply put, the TASER 10 performs more reliably in more situations than ever before.

And TASER 10’s improvements extend beyond the weapon itself. Product integration with Axon Evidence allows agencies to manage pulse graphs, weapon activity, event logs and firing logs in the same cloud-hosted software system already in use for Axon body-worn camera (BWC) footage and other digital evidence. This connected ecosystem streamlines the information collection process to give hours back to law enforcement that can be used directly serving the community.

Any weapon requires proper training to achieve optimal effectiveness. Axon VR utilizes scenario-based training curriculum to provide law enforcement officers with an innovative, portable means for improving confidence and accuracy deploying TASER 10. Axon VR training can also help improve use-of-force decision-making and de-escalation skills.

A wider Axon Network integration seamlessly connects the TASER 10 with Axon BWC and in-car cameras, like the Fleet 3, as well as the Axon Respond real-time operations platform. Additionally, Axon Signal can alert nearby Axon cameras to begin recording as soon as a TASER energy weapon is armed. These synergistic features ensure that officers never miss a critical moment.

None of these advancements or integrations would matter if Axon had neglected the core of what law enforcement officers across the country need most: an energy weapon that is as simple to operate as it is reliable. The TASER 10 is as easy to use as the other energy weapons Axon has developed, making adoption a lighter lift for even the busiest agencies. 

From the AIR TASER 3400 to the TASER 10, in just 30 years the energy weapon market has been revolutionized thanks to Axon's commitment to their TASER technology programs. Today, Axon is committed as ever to improving law enforcement’s capacity to de-escalate and non-lethally resolve violent scenarios. To see how TASER energy weapons can help your agency, contact Axon.

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