How To Test A Taser: Quick Guide

Are you the proud new owner of a taser and now you are curious on how to test a taser? Maybe you’ve had a taser for awhile and want to make sure that it’s in tip-top condition in case you actually need to use it?

I can definitely understand the desire to ensure that your equipment is in a working condition prior to the time of needing it. The process is simple but I’m glad you’re here to ensure you do it in the safest manner possible. This process that you’re about to embark on is going to make sure your taser works absolutely perfect for you if you ever need it!

how to test a taser

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • Taser (any model)

That’s it!

Now, if you’re wanting to get a little more in-depth of a test to find out how much charge is being delivered by the taser, that option is definitely available. The only reason you would find yourself doing this would be one of two reasons.

Reason 1 would be you do not trust the manufacturer that you’re buying the taser from, in which case you probably shouldn’t be buying from them. Reason 2 would be that you made your own taser at home and would like to test the output. To do this you would need the following items:

  • 600 Ω (ohms) resistive test pad with conductive contacts – Ultra High Molecular Weight plastic works well with banana plugs as the contacts. Remember, you’ll be shooting your taser at this so you’ll need the banana plugs placed in a way that the electrodes will attach the barbs to the plastic and be in contact with the plugs. I leave it up to you to Macgyver this
  • 100x compensating voltage probe
  • oscilloscope such as USB connected picoscope 4224 with 12-bit quantization, 20 MS/s sampling speed and 32 MS buffer size
  • A laptop computer with proprietary software to be able to read and analyze the data from the recording instrument (probe) 
  • All associated cables

As you can tell from the equipment, this is going to be much more in depth. Ultimately, you’ll be firing the taser into the resistive padding so the current is connected and entering the charging plugs. If you hear no noise and see no visible arc then you have the desired result and it will be all in the resistive material which will be recorded by your oscilloscope and probe.

Remember, doing it yourself with electrical components is DANGEROUS and I take no liability for any accidents or injuries that occur. You should only be attempting anything of this level if you are a professional in this field.

This is why we will be sticking simply to explaining how to do a spark test which will apply best to the general public that wants to ensure that their taser is in working condition for a day to day basis.

Here’s A Step By Step Guide

Step 1: Point the Taser Away From You

This should go without saying, but still, I’m saying it. Please make sure the taser is pointed away from you before moving on to step 2. Also, make sure the safety is ON at this point.

Step 2: Be Aware of Body Parts

Make sure you that none of your body parts are in front of the weapon. Also, make sure nobody is standing in front of you and that if there are people around make them aware of what you are doing so they can be sure to not get caught in an accidental line of fire.

Step 3: Safely Remove the Cartridge

In this step, it’s important to be aware of static discharge. I would suggest touching the cartridge with a screwdriver or similar metal device that will disarm any charge. The static shock won’t hurt, but it might surprise you and cause undesirable results.

You will see a spark when your metal tool touches the cartridge indicating the static shock is disarmed. If there is no spark, then there is no static charge buildup and you are safe to remove the cartridge.

Step 4: Hold the Taser a Safe Distance away from You

Simply hold the taser far enough away from you that when you are testing the arc wave of the taser it won’t be close enough to jump to you and potentially shock you. I would suggest holding it at arm’s length.

Step 5: Safety Switch

Flip your safety switch upwards to arm the device. If you do not have a safety switch that you can see, consult your owner’s manual to identify what safety mechanism your specific taser model uses. Once the device is armed it is important to be readily alert as the device is now capable of shocking.

Step 6: Pull the Trigger

Now that the safety is on and the cartridge is removed you can safely pull the trigger. Remember to keep the device at arm’s reach and away from any body parts.

Step 7: Analyze the Arc

The arc is the electric current passing between the metal probes at the end of your taser. It will literally look like lightning. You will want to analyze it visually and audibly. As long as you see the current visibly then you are good on the visual test.

With the audible test, you want to ensure that the pulse rate is going at the proper speed. Your owner’s manual should advise the pulse rate over a full 30-second cycle. Typically, it will start slow and then go to a higher pulse rate around the 2nd half of the 30-second cycle.

If you do not see the arc and hear that the pulse is too slow then you will want to replace the batteries and redo this test.

Step 8: Safety back on!

Flip the safety switch back down or to the off position only after the 30-second cycle has completed.

Pro tip: Doing the spark test for the full 30 seconds allows you to feel how long 30 seconds is so you can understand how long you have to escape in a real-life scenario. It also allows the device to complete internal diagnostics if it is capable.

Step 9: Safely Reload the Cartridge

With the safety on, replace the cartridge back into the taser and place the taser back into the regular place that you store it.

Pro tip: Manufacturers recommend this test be done only once a month. However, police are advised to test their tasers every day. If you have the time, test it every day! This will increase your general feeling of security knowing every day that your taser is going to protect you and your loved ones.

Commonly Asked Questions

What is the ARC switch for on my Taser X2?

Good question! If you have the Taser X2 you don’t actually have to remove your taser cartridges in order to test it. When the safety is on, you can use the arc switch by pressing the 2 buttons simultaneously which are located on the left and right side of your device.

What happens if I shock myself while testing my taser?

A taser without any cartridges will still work as a direct contact stun gun. This means you’re going to get shocked the same as if you got shot by the taser cartridges. The cartridges themselves simply carry the current down the wires and into the opponent from a range. This is useful to know in a field environment as well if you happen to need to use the taser again and have already used the cartridges.

My pulse is slow and I replaced the batteries but it’s still the same. Now what?

Unfortunately, there might be something wrong with your taser. I would advise at this point to get the taser checked by the manufacturer. You can also look for videos online of your specific make and model of taser under the search term “spark test [make and model of taser]” to get a comparison of what the pulse is supposed to sound like, just to be sure.

Now Your Taser Is Tested And Ready To Go!

I hope that you have thoroughly enjoyed this tutorial and feel confident in your constant evolution of becoming a responsible taser owner! You now know how to test a taser of any make and model and how to refer to your specific make and model resources for any key components that might be different.

Following these steps in this way will make sure that your taser is working properly and also give you a good feeling of how long the 30-second cycle lasts. Building that muscle memory of how it looks and sounds will help you out if you end up needing to use the device for real!