September 21, 2017 / 11:17 AM / a year ago

Behind the quiet exit of Taser’s popular, powerful X26

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona, Sept 21 (Reuters) - The X26 was Taser International’s third model and its No. 1 moneymaker for a decade. Its capacity to stop suspects is second to none. But its takedown power came at a price, a Reuters examination of scientific literature and corporate, court and patent documents found.

The X26 poses higher cardiac risk than other Taser models, Reuters found. That’s because when its darts impale flesh, the X26 delivers more electricity than any other Taser and almost twice that of the company’s newer “smart” weapons.

After signs of the X26’s risk surfaced, Taser neither alerted police nor recalled the weapon. Taser, which recently changed its name to Axon Enterprise Inc, said there was no reason to recall the stun gun.

The company tried to retrofit the weapon, Reuters found, but abandoned the effort after its engineers were unable to rein in the one attribute scientists say is most responsible for its effectiveness and its potentially higher risk: its charge, the total amount of electricity it delivers to the target.

Taser disputes the idea that the X26 poses special risks. It says the X26, like all its weapons, is safe. The company removed the model from its product lineup in the United States and Canada in 2014.

This story is the fifth in a series, “Shock Tactics,” about the weapon that transformed American policing. To read the full story, click on.

Reporting by Lisa Girion. Editing by Ronnie Greene and Michael Williams

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