There is no “silver bullet” for self defense. Carrying a firearm allows you to counter a lethal threat with like force, but not all self defense scenarios are cut-and-dry. What happens when some young drunk, head busting with alcohol-induced bravado, approaches you, threatening to clean your clock out on the street over some imagined or exaggerated slight? Do you pull your gun and shoot him down as he reaches toward you? With a multi-platform self defense approach, mistakes like our story’s young intoxicated idiot’s lapse in judgement don’t have to be fatal. Having less-than-lethal self defense tools allows me the option to counter a threat without escalating the situation by brandishing my firearm. And in some instances, a less-than-lethal self defense implement may be my only option. Enter the C2 TASER.
The C2 isn’t the only option for less-than-lethal self defense, but it is the focus of this review (for a discussion on more self defense options, check out this article). The C2 TASER is an electronic control device (ECD) that launches a pair of probes attached to 15′ wires that, once in contact with the target deliver 7 watts of electric pulse to incapacitate an attacker for up to 30 seconds per trigger button press (each power cell fuels approximately 50 cycles).
Slim, light (5.36oz unloaded), and ergonomic, the C2 TASER resembles a flashlight. Each unit is available in a range of colors (yellow, red, pink, silver, black, or blue) and includes the C2 itself, a lithium power magazine (LPM), one live cartridge, user manual, and an instructional DVD. The “gold” package, however, also includes a training cartridge, an additional live cartridge, and a training target and a holster for the C2 unit.
The C2 TASER is a user-friendly tool. The interface includes a battery power indicator LED (blinking red = non functional, yellow = low power, green = ample charge) and a trigger button beneath a sliding plastic cover. Aim at the “bad guy,” slide open the cover, and press the trigger button.
Each cartridge contains two barbed probes on 15 foot wires and a burst of “confetti.” These small brightly colored “confettis” are labeled with serial numbers. This measure is to aid in identifying unauthorized uses of TASER units (TASER also requires that every potential buyer passes a background check in order to purchase a TASER unit).
The C2 also features aim assistance in low light conditions in the form of a white LED (to illuminate your target) and a red laser. Each lithium power magazine has the capacity to charge about 50 30 second cycles before it needs to be replaced. Each C2 can hold one cartridge at a time, but when its cartridge has been expended, it also has a contact stun function.
One press of the trigger button launches the compressed nitrogen propelled probes at the attacker. Once the circuit is complete, an electrical pulse that mimics the signal the brain uses to control the muscles flows through the 15′ wires for up to 30 seconds (per press). The charge can be ceased by closing the trigger button cover, or a successive charge can be initiated by pressing the button again (after the first 30 second charge has elapsed).
As opposed to a “stun gun,” the C2 TASER does not rely on pain compliance to incapacitate. Instead, it exploits the body’s natural neuromuscular function by sending a pulse that mimics the same electric wave that the brain uses to communicate the muscles. This neuromuscular interference (NMI) impedes the target’s muscular controls, which causes the muscles to contract and release rapidly for as long as the charge is uninterrupted. You can compare this effect to how “static” can interfere with being able to get a comprehensible message through a radio. Because the C2 mimics the body’s natural electric function, it is designed not to cause great bodily injury as part of this NMI effect, even if the target is in contact with water.
The C2 TASER, like any self defense tool, has its set of benefits and drawbacks. Some of the downsides of the C2 is its limited capacity. Only having one cartridge at the user’s disposal can be a significant risk in the case of a multiple attacker situation, especially if one of the probes doesn’t make contact, or if they both miss entirely. The need to complete the electrical circuit can also be a problem in the event that the probes do not come in close enough contact to the assailant. The C2 TASER utilizes what TASER International calls a “shaped pulse” to allow the current to jump from the barbed probe to the attacker. However, this pulse only allows for two cumulative inches of space between the flesh of the attacker and the ends of the metal probes. If the distance is greater than that, the circuit cannot be completed, and the charge is ineffective. The C2 does feature a backup, drive stun function is just that – a backup, but as it requires direct contact and is a pain compliance function, it is a less-than-ideal alternative function of the C2.
The advantage of the C2 TASER is in how the electric charge interferes with the body’s natural muscular control for up to 30 seconds per charge, which can provide the victim the opportunity to set down the TASER unit, while still active, and distance themselves from the attacker. As someone who has experienced a five second jolt from a C2 unit, I know how incapable I was of controlling my own muscles during the charge, and how exhausted I was after only 1/6th of the full cycle. That 30 seconds of charge, the disorientation and muscular exhaustion afterward provides a potentially crucial opportunity for the victim to distance themselves from their assailant. TASER International encourages those who purchase their products both to learn about how their units work, to train with them. For those who are forced to use and abandon their C2 TASER in the interest of self defense, TASER International agrees to replace the unit at no additional charge.
No one self defense tool is suited for every potential self defense situation, but including a less-than-lethal self defense option for your concealed carry. For those who cannot or are uncomfortable with carrying a firearm, the C2 TASER is an ECD that could provide the crucial window of opportunity for you to get out of a dangerous situation – without taking a life.