Tired of the NYPD's boring old cumbersome M26 Tasers? Check out the hot new X26 model cops are test driving! According to the Taser website, the X26 can "engage" with "targets" at ranges up to 35 feet, and it weighs less than half what the M26 weighs; just 7.2 ounces. It also boasts "greater incapacitating power," records the time and date of each "activation," and allows for "plug-and-play download via USB connection." Oh, and it sprays confetti every time cops fire it. Besides making the occasion festive, each colorful piece of confetti doubles as an ID tag "to deter misuse by felons." Watch:

15 of the new Tasers are being tested out in five precincts, and four others will soon be available to officers assigned to the Emergency Services Unit, the Daily News reports. 600 of the old M26 models are still in use by the department, but critics say police here and elsewhere have been too quick to use Tasers, with sometimes tragic results. In Sidney yesterday, police killed a sexual assault suspect with a Taser, and the supposedly non-lethal weapon has led to deaths worldwide. The Raw Story notes a 2008 report (PDF) from Amnesty International which found 351 Taser-related deaths in the US between 2001 and 2008, a rate of just slightly above four deaths per month. And another database of Taser-related deaths counts 96 deaths related to the use of Tasers since January, 2009.

Over the weekend, a Taser fired at an allegedly knife-wielding man in Inwood failed to work, and cops shot the suspect dead. Could the Taser have saved Emmanuel Paulino's life? Should Tasers be used only when a suspect poses an imminent threat, or should police feel free to Tase liberally, like when chasing streakers or silencing rabble-rousers? All we know is it's funny when cops Taser themselves: