Taser X12 XREP: A Taser in a Shotgun Shell

In 2008, Taser release the X12, a Mossberg 500 shotgun modified to use a miniaturized Taser cartridge called the XREP (eXtended Range Electronic Projectile). The idea was to create a Taser system that could be effective in the intermediate range (30-100 feet) where a regular handheld Taser could not reach, but from which thrown projectiles could still be a viable threat against someone.

Where a normal Taser fires two barbs tethered to the unit (which holds the battery and completes the electrical circuit), the XREP had to be fully self contained to have the desired range. So the electronics package and battery were scaled down and shock-proofed, and the payload divided into two parts connected by about 12 inches of wire. The front part would hit with 4 barbs, and then the rear part would swing around and impact elsewhere on the person, completing the circuit and initiating a 20 second pulse. One of those wires was left uninsulated, so that if a person tried to grab them to pull the projectile off, that action would itself complete the circuit.

The shotgun used was a Mossberg 500, but fitted with a crossbolt safety like an 870. It was also given a special proprietary bolt face which would not function with regular 12ga ammunition. The XREP cartridges were cut to fit this bolt face, and this ensured that one could not accidentally load lethal ammunition into the X12 shotgun. It also used a rifled barrel, with a fast 1:18″ twist to properly stabilize the XREP. Ultimately, the project was a commercial failure, primarily because of the cost of the cartridges. At something like $125 each, they were nearly five times the cost of regular Taser ammunition.

Thanks to Deviant Ollam for the loan of the gun!


  1. I went through the training as an instructor on this system. The device was accurate out to 25 yards and appeared to be superior to other less lethal alternatives such as bean bag rounds and 40mm foam baton rounds. It was disappointing that they did not become available, I attempted to order some for my agency and they never could ship them. I was an instructor on firearms and less lethal (Taser- impact- chemical) for about 20 years.

  2. “The shotgun used was a Mossberg 500, but fitted with a crossbolt safety like an 870.”
    That cross bolt safety is standard on the Maverick 88, Mossberg’s lower-priced version of the 500. Interesting that the receiver is clearly marked Mossberg 500, though; given its unique serial (X12xxxxx), it makes me think Mossberg just pulled off a bunch of 500 receivers before they had the normal holes cut up for the tang safety.

  3. I got to fire a later version of the tazer shot shell. It was really pretty interesting. The demonstrator said that the item was used on the border and unfotrtunately for the criminal the deployed electronic spiked balls balls actually hit the perp’s “balls” OUCH

  4. In a “crowd” (riot) situation, it would be interesting to see what would happen if that second wire “looping around” would hit a second target rather than the first.

    If either one were standing on a sewer grate or manhole cover, things could get very interesting indeed.



    • Stupid question: If I were to shoot someone IN THE FACE point-blank with this, with the someone in question attempting to bash me over the head with a HUGE ROCK after knocking me down on my back, would I get away with a self-defense plea?

  5. How real is the chance that this device’s spikes hit eyes or throat? It seems like a very real danger to me.

  6. My agency sent me through Taser’s “Technician School” about the time these were announced, and I was lucky enough the be able to fire it once. Pretty nifty idea, provided you could get the bad guy to stand still, in the open, long enough to get the thing on target. What killed it from any consideration at all for us was the cost. You KNOW something is too expensive when even the SWAT guys don’t have the budget for it.

  7. I looked at this about the time it came out; just for general knowledge, didn’t actually know it required “a flail” type hit… Figured it just stuck in and cracked on.

    So that was interesting, to find out about the “flail” lark. I remember thinking (Super soaker flame thrower) but with iron fillings… De-ionised water, something “wasn’t an advanced thought” but the essence was water, a stream of electrified water.

    Water being conductive (in that; radio falls into the bath connected to the mains, fried persons.) Could you not electrify a stream of water via a “taser” electric’ing… The water.

    No idea if you can, even now.

  8. This and the linked video is by far the clearest explanation of this tangled story that I have come across.ANYTHING that is less lethal – doesn’t involve killing people, deserves very careful consideration (though everything is subject to misuse). Being surprised that the shotgun version didn’t see at least ‘some’ take up – there are always situations (or organisations / regimes) for which nothing is too expensive for.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.