Is a stun gun the same as a Taser?

This is the number one question that I am asked, so I will try to give a detailed explanation of the differences. At first glance, the most obvious difference is pricing and the size, or shape, of the unit. Tasers are well over $300, versus $100, or more, for a good quality stun gun. Civilian-legal C2 Taser models are also much bigger than the typical stun gun. Yet, the most important differences are how it works, and how the body is affected. Below are some of the major differences between a stun gun and a Taser.

Amperage and voltage – While all devices that use voltage and amperage to disable an attacker are similar, there are differences.  As previously stated, a good stun gun will have a reading of 4.5 mA (miliamps), and at least 1 million volts.  In comparison, a Taser (a trademarked brand) delivers much more amperage (reported to be as much as 150-160 mA), but only 50,000 volts.  

Another main difference is that the Taser product will shoot probes that embed in the target (bad guy), keeping the user at a distance.  With the probes embedded, the Taser will cycle for a period of time (typically 30 seconds for the civilian model).   This is a nice feature, although the Taser (while being a fine product) has its downfalls.  A few things that will affect a Taser “hit”, making the Taser less than effective:

  1. Probes fail to penetrate skin – If both probes do not have good penetration in the skin (due to heavy clothing), or either probe is too far away from the skin, the connection will broken, and there will be no flow to the subject.
  2. Loss of connection – The initial “hit” of the probes may complete the circuit, but the circuit becomes broken due to movement of clothing, a probe breaking loose, the wire carrying the probe breaks, et cetera.  Once this happens, the effectiveness is lost.

Physiological Effect – In reality, the two products will affect a subject differently.  The Taser will “lock up” a suspect’s muscular control, rendering them in a fixed, convulsive state while the cycle is running through their body.  Once the cycle completes, the target person recovers quickly.

A good stun gun, due to the high voltage and amperage combination, will work against the body in three, key areas:

  1. Interference with the body’s ability to process or think clearly – Due to the incredibly high voltage (20x or more than a Taser), a good stun gun will literally scramble the brain, leaving the target confused and disoriented.  Depending on the person, this can last from 15 seconds to a minute or more.
  2. Loss of muscle control – Not only does a good stun gun disrupt the communication between the brain and the nervous system, it literally causes the user to lose muscle control in an ingenious way.  The rapid deployment of both the right amount of amperage and high voltage depletes the glucose in the major muscle groups, with the result of a large build-up of lactic acid.  This is happens extremely fast, while body is being subjected to the stun gun, and literally causes the person to drop on the spot.  To understand this concept, imagine how fatigued one can feel after an intense workout.  Sometimes it can literally be hard to walk or stand up.  Now, imagine that feeling of weakness times fifty, and you get the idea…
  3. Pain – Everyone has seen videos of a person being subjected to a Taser.  Now, imagine that same pain, but bump up the voltage from 50,000 volts to 1 million volts or more.  The only word to describe the pain is excruciating, and pain can be a very effective compliance tool just by itself.
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I’m a man, and I carry a stun gun!

When people find out what I do, they often ask, “Do you actually carry one”? I have come to love this question, because the root of the question is hidden with complexities and misconceptions. Over time, I have realized that there are only a few reasons for asking this question of me:

  1. I live in Nevada, and they figure that I should just carry a gun (Usually asked by someone who is a CCW permit holder and carries a firearm).
  2. I am a man, and stun guns are for women.
  3. They don’t think they work, or they have seen ineffective stun guns and assume all stun guns are the same.
  4. They didn’t know that stun guns were legal.

I’ll address each one in reverse order, with numbers 3 & 4 first, since these are questions that relate to the product themselves.

#4 – The legality of stun guns is highly misunderstood. Most people think they are for law enforcement only, or that you need a special permit. Nothing could be further from the truth. Stun guns are actually less regulated than pepper spray. Currently, there are only eight states that prohibit stun guns, and only a handful of cities in other states have prohibitions or regulations.

#3 – Stun guns work, as long as they have the proper combination of amperage and voltage. Not only do they work, they work so good it is scary. I have spoken with many people who have been on the receiving end of a good stun gun, and the story is always the same. They got hit, and went down hard.

My most recent conversation was with a combat veteran who served in Iraq. He was on a house-to-house search, and got zapped, in the side, as he stepped through a doorway in a house. He said the pain was incredible, and he was out for a good minute or two. Now, every time he hears the “crack” of a stun gun, he jumps…

#2 – Many men (subconsciously) think that stun guns are for women only, as if somehow only women can benefit from a non-lethal form of defense. I don’t know about you, but I think having a tool that can drop a person instantly, without using blunt trauma or lethal force, and fit in the palm of your hand, is a powerful tool. Big or small, no other tool offers the instant compliance capabilities of a stun gun.

#1 – Although a firearm has the ability to permanently stop an assailant, the key word is permanent. The truth is that not all confrontations deem a response with deadly force. On top of that, even if the use of deadly force is justified, the legal and civil implications can destroy one’s life as they know it.

This is the number one reason that I carry a firearm and a stun gun. Initially, I would have never considered a stun gun in addition to a firearm, but common sense and wisdom has challenged me to realistically seek a non-lethal form of defense for those situations that are less-than-lethal confrontations.

In the end, each individual must decide what is best for them.

God bless, and be safe!


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5 Safety Tips for Women

  1. Trust your instincts & be aware of your surroundings – Take the iPod earphones out of your ears. Don’t talk on your cell phone while you are walking, especially at night. Know where you are going and what’s going on around you. If someone or something doesn’t feel right, leave immediately or get help.
  2. Think about what you are wearing – Don’t wear “hoodies” or sweatshirts with hoods that can be pulled over your eyes and face in an attack. In public, cover up provocative outfits, as to not attract attention to yourself. Whenever possible, wear shoes that allow you to run.
  3. Use confident body language – Keep your head up, swing your arms, and walk briskly with purpose. Research has shown that sexual predators and muggers are experts at body language, and will make a decision to attack based upon how you walk and how aware you are of your surroundings.
  4. Lock your doors – Have your keys ready in your hands as you walk to your car. Once you get into your car, lock the doors and drive away. When you get home, make sure your doors are locked once you are inside. An open door, no matter where you are, is an invitation for anyone to enter.
  5. Have a plan – Know in the back of your mind what you would do if attacked. In your mind, envision gouging an attacker’s eye, landing a hard blow to the nose, or using a defensive tool (such as a stun gun or pepper spray). Know what you are going to do before it happens, and practice it in your mind. This will enable you to react reflexively, instead of panicking and freezing in fear.
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