Stun guns are a very popular and effective method of non-lethal self-defense. Stun guns are permitted in many areas where firearms are not. Furthermore, a stun gun may be the best self-protection solution for a person who is not permitted by law, for whatever reason, to own or carry a firearm. There are also moral, ethical or religious reasons that a person may opt for a stun gun in self protection instead of a firearm.
The questions and answers below are some of the most common ones that an individual may have when considering a stun gun for their method of self protection.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A STUN GUN AND A TASER?
A stun gun and a Taser® are essentially designed with the same goal in mind, but with distance being the variable. A stun gun is designed to be used in close proximity. A Taser® (often misspelled as Tazer) is a brand name device which shoots out two metal prongs up to 15 feet which attach to the attacker’s body with barbs that penetrate the skin.
While a Taser® gives you a distance advantage, you will not want to stick around to detach your Taser barbs from the attacker’s body; essentially rendering it a product that you should be prepared to leave behind at the scene and replace if you are ever in a situation where you must use it in an emergency. Because of this, Taser® provides a lifetime warranty on their products that will replace your weapon with the same, or a similar model, if ever used in a real-life self-defense situation. Taser® has an incredible reputation for reliability, accuracy and effectiveness, making this an excellent choice for self-protection. The drawbacks are few but notable.
1) The Taser® is not going to fit into your cute velvet clutch purse when you go on that first date. 2) Most Taser® models come with 2 live cartridges, so it is still wise to have a back up self defense weapon such as a kubotan or stun gun in your possession, in case you miss your target. And speaking frankly, in a panic-heightened situation, you have a higher risk of missing unless you are proficient and practiced in firing your Taser®. 3) Much like a firearm, the more you practice with your particular Taser® model, the more accurate you will become. 4) Taser® models are not cheap. They range in price from $400 to almost $1400.
My personal opinion is that Taser® is the excellent choice for home protection and a stun gun is preferable for every day concealed carry self-defense. Put the Taser® in your nightstand. Put the stun gun in your purse.
WHAT IS A STUN GUN?
A stun gun is an electrical self defense device that affects the nervous system of an attacker, in such a way, that he becomes immobilized. However, the electrical current is low enough as to not cause any permanent bodily harm to the attacker; it is non-lethal.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR A STUN GUN TO BE EFFECTIVE ON AN ATTACKER?
The length of time that the electrical current is applied to the attacker, will determine the extent of immobilization that occurs. Generally, a half second application will cause some pain and muscle contraction but not immobilize an attacker. On the other hand, if a stun gun is applied to an assailant for over three seconds, the result will drop him to the ground with complete loss of balance, cause extremely painful and severe muscle spasms, and severe mental confusion/agony. Simply put, there is no “magic amount of time”. You should apply your stun gun’s electrical jolt for the number of split seconds it takes to stop your attacker and provide you an effective escape to safety.
Remember, the #1 objective is to escape to safety and not to “punish” your attacker with an unrelenting 5 minute electrical shock. After you reach safety, you can call the police and let them handle the distribution of appropriate justice.
HOW DOES A STUN GUN WORK?
In layman’s terms, a stun gun shocks the “bejeebers” out of an attacker. Biologically, a stun gun is designed to attack the nervous system by administering a high amount of electrical energy into the system at a different vibration than the pulse waves coming from the brain. When these two energies collide at the nerve level, it affects how muscles react; resulting in muscle contractions and spasm. It also affects balance and the body’s ability to maintain equilibrium; causing your attacker to drop to the ground. The brain waves are affected with confusion and disorientation- all very effective ways to immobilize and attacker when they occur at the same time, yet not resulting in any damage to the heart or vital organs.
WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO BE HIT WITH A STUN GUN?
First, I advise all of my readers to apply the stun gun to the tip of their finger so that they have some idea of what it feels like to be targeted. To give you an idea, a stun gun feels like millions of tiny needles being poked into your body in a concentrated area. The resulting pain, mental confusion, muscle spasms and emotional panic are extremely effective in stopping an attacker dead in his tracks.
PEPPER SPRAY OR STUN GUN- WHICH IS BETTER?
There are pros and cons to each of these self-defense weapons. A stun gun works much faster at stopping an attacker, but the effects of pepper spray last much longer. An attacker will recover sufficiently from a stun gun current in a few minutes, but the effects of pepper spray can last up to 60 minutes. Furthermore, most pepper sprays contain a “dye” color, which leaves an identifying and obvious stain on the attacker; making them easily identifiable to police. Yes, the stun gun will leave a very identifiable mark on the skin. But it is not the same as someone walking down the street with an orange or green stained face and shirt.
On the other hand, consideration must be given to the very real possibility that in windy conditions or close “hand to hand” situations, pepper spray can adversely get into your eyes, nose and throat as well as your intended target.
I recommend to clients who choose pepper spray as their self-defense choice, to always spray it on their hands then rub it into the eyes and face of their attacker if they are in close range (touching) with their assailant.
WHAT ARE THE MOST EFFECTIVE PLACES ON THE BODY TO USE A STUN GUN?
The old adage, less is more DOES NOT apply here! Ideally, you want to exert the electrical current on large muscle mass areas of the body. The best places on the body to use a stun gun are the chest, back, buttocks and thighs. In reality, if you are in an emergency situation, you will probably not have the time or mental calmness to strategically place your “charge”, so simply aim, fire and don’t let up until your attacker drops and you can exit to safety.
CAN THE STUN GUN ELECTRIC CURRENT PASS FROM MY ATTACKER TO ME?
No. The electrical current is localized in the part of the body that is receiving the “charge”. Even if you are being held by your attacker, the current will not pass through their body to your body. Even if you are standing in water, the current will not pass from one body to another. The reason being, stun guns use DC (direct current) which has very different properties than AC (alternating current). The flow of electric charge in DC (direct current) runs in only one direction, whereas AC (alternating current) periodically reverses direction.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE IN VOLTAGES ON ALL THE STUN MODELS?
When you look to purchase a stun gun, you may get confused about the various voltage units that are on the market. Prices typically will be higher for a higher voltage unit. However, I recommend any stun gun with voltage of 1,000,000 units or greater will drop your attacker effectively and efficiently. Basically, the difference is that it may take a few more milli-seconds to immobilize your attacker than with a unit that exerts a 10,000,000 or 20,000,000 volt electrical jolt. Other than that, the price differences that you see in stun guns has alot to do with additional features they may offer.
SHOULD I PRACTICE USING MY STUN GUN OR WILL IT HARM THE EQUIPMENT?
Absolutely test fire your stun gun! However, do not test fire it in the air for more than 2 seconds because it can damage the unit since it is not grounded to an object. I recommend practicing against a brick wall. It is imperative that you practice for two major reasons. First, the most important aspect of any self-defense training is to practice it to the point of it becoming instinctual. In a real life emergency, panic will rise quickly and your actions need to be second nature. Secondly, it is important to periodically test the battery of your stun gun to ensure it is fully charged and effective in case of an emergency. Your stun gun should be fully re-charged once a month to ensure effective use.
ARE STUNS ILLEGAL IN SOME PLACES?
Laws change frequently, but stun guns are legal for individuals 18 years of age or older in most states. However, they are illegal in some states and some particular cities. Some also may require you to have a concealed carry permit or purchase from a firearms dealer that is licensed to sell firearms in that particular state. For more information and a visual map, please visit: Stun Gun Laws before purchasing a stun gun or Taser. Please do not consider this list all-inclusive as the laws change all the time. It is your responsibility as an individual wishing to secure self-protection to know the laws that apply to your particular area.