"This new less-lethal device is definitely worth a look."
PhaZZer Enforcer ECD
By: LAW and ORDER Staff
PhaZZer® Electronics has aggressively entered the less-lethal market with two carefully developed, beta-site tested devices. These PhaZZer devices are clearly superior to the earlier attempts by other companies, and in fact are direct, feature-by-feature competitors to the existing products. The Enforcer ECD cartridges are interchangeable with the TASER® cartridges. The EqualiZZer ball projectiles are interchangeable with PepperBall® projectiles. (More on the EqualiZZer launcher in a future issue.)
The PhaZZer devices are fully as effective as the current options; they have some unique features but are essentially simple and no-frills devices. That makes them the low cost alternatives—the only such alternatives in this market—at between 25 and 40 percent less expensive than their competitors.
The PhaZZer Enforcer is a less-lethal Conductive Energy Weapon (CEW), also called an Electronic Control Device (ECD). It is a direct competitor to the TASER series of ECDs, specifically devices like the X26. In fact, the PhaZZer fires standard TASER X26 cartridges.
Like the TASER, the peak open circuit voltage is between 55,000 and 65,000 volts, and the voltage immediately drops when the circuit is closed. The wave form is the traditional-shaped pulse delivered at between 18 and 20 pulses per second.
The Enforcer uses nitrogen as a propellant like the TASER. As such, the PhaZZer in not considered by the BATF as a “firearm.” Recall that some ECD false-starts by other companies in the past have used primers as the propellant, which indeed did classify those as a firearm.
Plenty of Battery
The Enforcer uses a 7.4-volt, 700-milliamp-hour (mAh) rechargeable lithium-ion battery capable of delivering 3,000 five-second deployments. The Enforcer battery is also replaceable—a significant feature. The non-proprietary replacement battery is readily available and fairly inexpensive. The ready replacement of the battery encourages officers to test fire the device, to check it for level of charge prior to going on each day.
The PhaZZer Enforcer has an LED battery light indicator on the rear of the weapon, just below the safety activation switch, which performs two functions. When the unit is charged, the light is green. The Enforcer is capable of 50 five-second (full) deployments before requiring a recharge.
When the unit requires a charge, the small LED will change to red notifying the user to charge the weapon. When this notification takes place, i.e., when the light switches from green to red, the Enforcer still has 70 percent of the charge left. At this level, the battery still allows dozens of deployments and plenty of time to recharge the Enforcer in the next few days.
It is almost exactly the same overall size as the TASER X26 with one major advantage. The X26 has a two-finger groove grip, while the Enforcer has a larger, three-finger groove grip. Compared to the popular handguns, the TASER X26 is just smaller (grip-wise) than a Glock 26/27, while the PhaZZer is midway between the Glock 26/27 and the Glock 19/23.
This 1-inch extra grip length and heft simply makes the Enforcer easier to hold, point and accurately shoot. On the other hand, it makes the Enforcer a bit larger to carry on the duty belt. The Enforcer has a non-slip textured grip surface. Over the grip, the Enforcer has one extremely nice feature—the Enforcer comes with a rubber grip sleeve, which gives it an excellent feel. The PhaZZer Enforcer comes in Black and in Yellow.
The Enforcer also has an integral Picatinny rail at the top of the frame. This allows the mounting of lights or sights, but it especially allows the Enforcer itself to be mounted to a less-lethal launcher or patrol rifle.
Limiting Less-Lethal Liability
With each trigger pull, the PhaZZer delivers a five-second application of energy. This can be shortened by mechanically turning the device off. The PhaZZer will deliver three such full-cycle applications. Then safety shutdown circuit technology activates, in compliance with current American Academy of Emergency Medicine, Department of Justice, and American Heart Association studies and guidelines.
This automatic three-cycle shutdown technology is used to limit liability that may attach due to too many energy applications. This safety circuit can be manually overridden in the case that additional force is reasonable and necessary.
160-Lumen Light Plus Laser
The PhaZZer Enforcer uses a 160-lumen white light. It could easily be used to clear a room. Not too long ago, a mere 70 lumens was considered a “tactical” level of light. The Enforcer LED white light is very bright, and has plenty of reach—up to 45 yards. The powerful light, which rivals a belt-carried flashlight, is one of the Enforcer’s biggest competitive advantages.
Importantly, the LED white light is activated by its own, ambidextrous switches. The switches are located on either side of the frame, right above the trigger. One is in easy reach of the shooting hand index finger, while the other is in easy reach of the support hand thumb. Unlike the competition, the white light operates independently of the main power switch—you do not have to activate the energy deployment feature in order to activate the white light.
Activate the Enforcer
The activating—arming—safety switch is located at the rear of the frame, just below where a rear sight would be. This is a different location from the competition, but was easy to get used to. The TASER switch works like a safety on many auto pistols. However, the Enforcer switch works like the safety on the venerable Mossberg 500 police shotgun. No one had trouble sliding the Mossberg safety off come game day.
When the Enforcer switch is turned on, the red laser emanates from the top of the frame to serve as a laser pointer. The white light does not come on unless separately activated.
Without a cartridge in place, the unit can be spark-tested. One pull of the trigger results in a five-second deployment cycle. That cycle can be immediately stopped, just like the TASER, by turning the device off. The Enforcer can also be used as a drive-stun on the same subject, or another subject, after the cartridge has been fired.
The PhaZZer Enforcer and TASER X26 use virtually the same technology; for example, both use a programmable microcontroller. The controls on both are fully digital microchip-operated. The high-volt section of the Phazzer Enforcer also combines the latest pulse and high-volt generation offered by today’s electronic suppliers of discreet components like the gas discharge tubes.
Wireless Data Port
The PhaZZer Enforcer jumps over old hard-wired technology to use wireless, Bluetooth-like technology for their deployment-recordable operation (Data Port Feature) for witness and court required documentation. The Enforcer’s wireless digital-information download feature is well worth noting.
The Enforcer comes with the Wireless Dataport Unit installed. However, it requires the TC100 Data Port receiver unit, which is ordered separately. When the Enforcer is activated and it is within 10 feet of the computer that has the TC100 installed, a detailed weapon activity report will be automatically transmitted to the TC100. This report shows the unit identifier, time and date of discharge, and number and duration of discharge.
Variety of Cartridges
Like the original TASER M26 and the X26, the Enforcer fires one cartridge at a time. The Enforcer uses a wide variety of PhaZZer brand cartridges. These include Dart Pro 15 Foot (Yellow); Dart Pro 21 Foot (Lime Green); PepperBall 30 Foot (Red); Rubber Bullet 30 Foot (Black); Paint Ball Marking 30 Foot (Green); Pepper Powder 8 Foot (Pink); and Dart Pro Taining 15 Foot and 25 Foot (Blue). The cost of the PhaZZer brand cartridges is the same as the cost of the TASER cartridges.
Heads-up! The colors of the PhaZZer blast doors are different from the colors of the TASER blast doors for similar functions! Yellow means “15 feet” for both devices and Blue means “training” for both devices. However, the 21-foot TASER cartridge has Silver blast doors while the 21-foot PhaZZer cartridge has Lime Green doors. On the TASER, Green means 25-foot Extended cartridges, while Green means Paint Ball on the PhaZZer. Neither color-coding is an advantage nor disadvantage—just be sure you know what cartridge you have loaded.
The PhaZZer Dart Pro cartridge has a probe deployment angle of 3 degrees above and 3 degrees below the red laser. This 6-degree total spread is a bit narrower than the 8-degree spread of the TASER-brand cartridges. The two TASER X26 probes spread out to about 24 inches by 14 feet. In comparison, the Enforcer probes spread out to about 19 inches by 14 feet. There are Pros and Cons to how quickly the darts spread. Too little and the neuromuscular effects are lessened. Too much and one of the darts could either miss the target or strike an unintended area.
The PhaZZer brand of cartridges does not have anti-felon identification tags (AFID). If an agency requires the use of cartridges with AFID encoding confetti, the TASER cartridges can easily be used. Both makes of cartridge load and unload exactly the same way. For that matter, both cartridges have drive-stun features built into the cartridges. They are located in slightly different locations—but the perpetrator will never know the difference!
The PhaZZer Enforcer is available in two different, thumb-break style holster designs: one with and one without an integral extra cartridge holder. The holsters are also available in two finishes: plain Black and Black basket weave.
PhaZZer Electronics has developed an 8-hour Operator training certification program for the Enforcer. This course covers the entire topic of ECD/CEW deployment—the overall effects of electro-muscular disruption, how to deploy the device, the various features of the device, significance of distance to target and dart spread, and post-deployment guidelines. The course concludes with a written test. PhaZZer requires a two-hour annual training update and re-certification.
PhaZZer also conducts a 16-hour Instructor training certification program. Their program requires that the officer have prior instructor training experience. The Instructor course includes a number of scenario training exercises and the deployment of more and a wider variety of cartridges. Instructors must re-certify every two years with an eight-hour update course.
We fired a few of each of the PhaZZer-specific cartridges, almost a dozen of the Dart Pro 15 Foot cartridges and we test-fired/circuit-checked/spark-tested the PhaZZer more than 500 times. It always fully cycled properly in automatic mode. When we moved the safety switch by hand, it always shut down the cycle, and did it immediately. We had the Enforcer for almost three months, some of that in 15 deg F weather, cold enough that patrol gloves were worn. The PhaZZer Enforcer actually has more room inside the trigger guard than the TASER X26.
The ambidextrous, sliding switches for the LED white light were easy to operate under normal patrol conditions. However, we would prefer slightly larger or more raised or higher friction switches to be sure they could be found and operated under the most adverse situations, including glove wear.
Likewise, the activating switch could be slightly larger, more raised, or of a higher friction material or surface texture. This is especially true since the traditional grip has to be “broken” to activate the unit. The ambidextrous ON switches of the TASER X26 are nearly the same size as the safety/decocker on most auto pistols. The Enforcer is a slightly larger ECD and certainly has the room for more prominent, high-stress tolerant switches.
The wireless download is a useful feature; the brighter, 160-lumen white LED light is outstanding, and the bigger overall grip is a strong advantage. Where the TASER X26 has a price around $855, the Enforcer is around $589. Except for the two easy-to-fix switch concerns, the PhaZZer Enforcer is fully comparable to the TASER X26 and X26P…and that is high praise.