Taser International Inc. is working on a way to deliver electricity to the human body through 12-gauge shotgun shells, reports the Associated Press. The company says the new product will allow police officers to hit someone from a much greater distance than its current line of Tasers, which Amnesty International has cited in more than 120 deaths. The eXtended Range Electro-Muscular Projectile, XREP, will be a shotgun shell designed to combine the blunt-force trauma of a fast-moving baseball with the electrical current of a stun gun. “It will truly cause incapacitation,” Taser spokesman Steve Tuttle said. Taser hopes to release the product next year. The Office of Naval Research funded the approximately $500,000 it took to develop the shotgun shells, Tuttle said.
The company has been selling its stun guns to law enforcement agencies since 1998. Today, more than 175,000 Tasers are being used by more than 8,500 U.S. agencies. Test models of the XREP shells currently reach 100 feet, though the military has challenged the company to extend the range to 330 feet. “It’s going to give you a pretty good thump when it hits,” said Taser President Tom Smith, “but our design goal is to make it safe even at the muzzle.”