Taser 'misses' still a problem but new weapon may help

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The Taser X-2. (Source: CBS 5 News) The Taser X-2. (Source: CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Data collected by law enforcement agencies across Arizona, and across the country show police officers miss their targets 10 to 20 percent of the time when using Tasers. The stun guns are a popular choice in less-lethal weapons for police agencies.

"If I pull the trigger and the two probes do exactly what they're supposed to do in terms of delivering the probes down range, that's not a failure," said Steve Tuttle, who is the vice president of strategic communications for Scottsdale-based Taser International.

Tuttle says the company's newer product has increased effectiveness over past models.

In its basic form, the Taser fires a cartridge that delivers two electrically charged prongs, which fly through the air and strike a target. If both prongs strike skin or clothing that is less than two inches thick, and the prongs are spread at least six inches apart, they should deliver a charge that will take down even the most unruly suspect.

According to Tuttle, most problems occur when one of the prongs misses the target, or the prongs strike the target too close together.

"If we get two probes to land in the right spot on a moving target under stress with the right spread, we're going to get incapacitation with a very high threshold number," said Tuttle.

The new Taser X-2 contains two cartridges and two laser sites. Tuttle says that will help increase the weapon's effectiveness by giving officers a more precise aim, and a second shot if the first one misses.

Copyright 2016 KPHO (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Morgan  LoewMorgan Loew is an investigative reporter at CBS 5 News. His career has taken him to every corner of the state, lots of corners in the United States, and some far-flung corners of the globe.

Click to learn more about Morgan .

Morgan Loew
CBS 5 Investigates

Morgan’s past assignments include covering the invasion of Iraq, human smuggling in Mexico, vigilantes on the border and Sheriff Arpaio in Maricopa County. His reports have appeared or been featured on CBS News, CNN, NBC News, MSNBC and NPR.

Morgan’s peers have recognized his work with 11 Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards , two regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for investigative reporting, an SPJ First Amendment Award and a commendation from the Humane Society of the United States. Last fall, Morgan was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Silver Circle, in recognition of 25 years of contribution to the television industry in Arizona.

Morgan is a graduate of the University of Arizona journalism school and Concord Law School. He is the president of the Arizona First Amendment Coalition and teaches media law and TV news reporting at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

When he’s not out looking for the next big news story, Morgan enjoys hiking, camping, cheering for the Arizona Wildcats and spending time with his family at their southern Arizona ranch.

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