Taking e d i R d n o Five-Sec l a n io t a n r e t n i r e s A T Although small in the hand, the R9 is significantly more comfortable to shoot than a titanium revolver with equally potent loads. The rrkman Photographs: robbie ba John Higgs But this place is way more advanced — and it’s real. I was in Scottsdale, Ariz., at the home of TASER International. Everything from R&D, production, shipping, maintenance, accounting, marketing, public relations, inside sales, customer service and training are conducted inside this complex, which is over 100,000 square feet. Trivia enthusiasts might be interested to know TASER is an acronym and takes its name from the 1911 science fiction novel, Tom [A] Swift and his Electric Rifle. Mr. Wizard Science The immediate reaction from almost all subjects who’ve been hit with a TASER device is: it hurts. Ask them an hour or so later and they’re less certain about what they really felt. That’s because the TASER was not designed to inflict pain. Many people who “take a ride” with the TASER device are either on drugs, booze, or, like a boxer or street brawler, their lifestyle has conditioned them to continue to fight through a lot of pain. The challenge for the TASER designers was to create a system that doesn’t rely on physical pain to temporarily incapacitate a subject. Instead, they found a way to use a low current of electricity to block the messages sent from the brain to the muscles. Neurons are the impulse conducting cells that carry and transmit electrical signals throughout the nervous system, which is comprised of the brain, spinal column and nerves. Block those electronic signals and the muscles cannot respond to the brain’s commands. These neurons are stimulated by the TASER device to fire at a rate of 19 times per second. This hyperactivity completely blocks the transmission of normal messages throughout the nervous system and prevents almost all physical WWW.AMERICANCOPMAGAZINE.COM • MAY/JUNE 2010 he outside of the rectangular, grey concrete three-story building conveys the impression of a battleship at its moorings. Authorized personnel enter through the main door after submitting to a retinal scan — nobody carries twentieth century card keys here — then find themselves in a large circular airlock housing a second security door complete with another retinal scan system. As Robbie Barrkman (Robar Guns) and I cleared security into the large, open office area my first impression was TASER International is a very sophisticated facility. But as we made our way into the building, my thoughts changed to the fictional Cyberdyne Systems Corporation from the Terminator movies. 38 T Oh! You got me … and so the ride begins. Five seconds can feel like an eternity.