The Ultimate Guide to Buying Tasers and Stun Guns
For people acquainted with or interested in personal self-defense items, it’s likely that they have heard about TASER® before. In some cases, maybe you’ve heard the phrase tasers and stun guns used interchangeably. Is there a difference between them? How long have tasers been around? Let’s take a deep dive together, learning the finer details about tasers and stun guns so you can make an informed purchase.
The History of the TASER®?
You might not know this, but the name TASER® is 1) an acronym and 2) came from a novel written by Thomas A. Swift in 1911.
The creator of the TASER®, Jack Cover, who invented the device in the 1970s, was interested in developing a non-lethal weapon that could be used to incapacitate a criminal without a fatal risk—e.g. stopping an airplane hijacking, where a gun would prove unsafe for all passengers onboard. Cover was inspired by a science-fiction novel he loved as a kid, Swift’s Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle. In the novel, Tom Swift invents an electric rifle for personal protection and elephant hunting. Thanks to this inspiration, Cover fell into his invention. Moreover, he ended up with the name T.A.S.E.R: Thomas A. Swift Electric Rifle.
Origins of the Stun Gun and TASER®
You’ve probably seen a cartoon depicting a dog biting a mailman. While this has become a joke, untrained and unleashed dogs physically attacking mailmen used to be a serious issue. For a time, mailmen relied on carrying cattle prods, which they would use to shock dogs if they were ever attacked.
Following Cover’s invention of the TASER®, Nova Technologies adapted their patent in 1983 to create the Nova XR-5000—a non-projectile, hand-held stun gun. After gaining popularity with people in the US Postal Service, stun guns began spreading into the world of personal self-defense.
The Importance of TASER® Guns for Policemen
As TASER® guns and stun guns entered the public market, people began quickly relying on them for personal protection. But as useful as they were for the public, they proved equally beneficial for police departments across the U.S. With over 500,000 police officers now carrying tasers, officers have a non-lethal option at their disposal to incapacitate potential criminals while maintaining a safe distance. Batons were the only non-lethal option in the past, forcing officers to resort to hand-to-hand combat or their guns. TASER® guns have made it easy for police officers to effectively de-escalate tense situations without having to rely on violent methods.
What’s the Difference Between a TASER® and a Stun Gun?
In essence, a TASER® is simply the brand-name for one type of many stun guns & tasers in the industry. But there is a key difference between a TASER® and a stun gun: a stun gun is a hand-held device that must come into direct contact with a person to deliver a high-voltage shock to the body. A TASER® is a hand-held shooting stun gun which fires probes into a person’s skin, providing that high-voltage shock.
So whereas a traditional stun gun will need to be used face to face with an assailant, a TASER® can be accurately fired at an individual from 15 to 30 feet away. Stun batons act as a near intermediary device. While they do not shoot off probes that provide an electric shock, the device is long enough to shock an assailant while maintaining slightly more than an arm’s length in distance.
TASER® vs. Stun Gun - How do they work?
How a TASER® works:
TASER® guns fire a set of electrodes into a person’s skin. Those electrodes are attached to insulated wires. When a person pulls the trigger, a burst of pressurized gas, often carbon dioxide, forces the electrodes to shoot out of the gun (between 15-30 feet in distance). Once the electrodes hit a person’s skin, pulses of up to 50,000 volts will be discharged for 5 seconds. This high-voltage, low-amperage shock will cause temporary paralysis, incapacitating an aggressor.
How a stun gun works:
Stun guns emit a high-voltage electrical pulse through two electrodes jutting out from the device. Once coming into contact with a person, the high voltage will ensure the pulse affects the person’s body, hopefully debilitating the aggressor long enough to escape an unsafe situation. However, the electrodes do not shoot out of the stun gun. It is a handheld device which a person must stick into an aggressor.
Defending Yourself with a TASER® or Stun Gun
You should be properly trained to ensure you are prepared to use your device, if needed. To use a stun gun, you should ensure the device is held away from your body once it is activated. When using it on someone, you want to “push” the device—to increase your chances of making contact—and aim for an area of bare skin or thin cloth to ensure the voltage is able to incapacitate the person. For a TASER®, you should first engage the weapon and let the person know you will shoot if they do not stop. Following your warning, if you feel like you must shoot, use the weapon like a gun, aiming for their center of mass to ensure that you can make direct contact.
What is the best type of stun gun?
Every stun gun available at The Home Security Superstore is recommended by our staff, as we sell only the best self-defense weapons. For two reliable options, we recommend …
- A traditional TASER® gun: with a range of 15-17 feet - this device has the necessary accuracy to keep you safe in an unpleasant scenario.
- A taser baton & electric stun gun - these devices often include a built-in flashlight. Stun batons provide you with a multifaceted self-defense weapon and extra distance compared to a stun gun.
- A stun gun flashlight - this device is small enough that it can be stored in the glove box of your car. Stun gun flashlights can be used as both a powerful weapon and to investigate a possible disturbance.
Can you carry a TASER® or stun gun in all 50 states?
Laws related to TASER® guns and stun guns vary state by state. If you’re interested in learning the finer details about each state’s laws, feel free to read our blog dedicated to taser laws by state. For the basics, here are some things you should know ...
- Background checks are required in Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Minnesota
- Permits are required in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, New Mexico, West Virginia, and Wisconsin
- Devices are illegal in Hawaii and Rhode Island
How To Choose a TASER® or Stun Gun based on Your Lifestyle & Daily Activities
Runner or Bicyclist
Whether running or biking, you should expect to be alone at some point, especially if you’re exercising in a city park. You want something light and easy to carry. You can easily carry your mini stun gun by hand or in a shallow pocket for immediate protection.
Work in the City
You might regularly find yourself alone in a parking lot or parking garage before and after work everyday. The Streetwise™ Triple Sting Ring Rechargeable Stun Gun offers you a brass knuckles-like device that can be used the second danger strikes.
If you’re walking dogs at night, you’re going to need a flashlight. But you should also consider protection, too. Flashlight stun guns offer you a multi-purpose device that can be used even while holding onto your dog’s leash. Instantly transitioning from a flashlight to a stun gun, you can incapacitate an attacker if they jump out of nowhere.
What if someone goes too far after an on-road incident and tries to attack you in a fit of road rage? Have a TASER® gun nearby to de-escalate the situation.
In the event someone breaks into your home, you need a way to protect yourself while quickly identifying them. A flashlight stun gun or stun baton are your best options, providing you with a tool that can stop an intruder and give you time to contact the police.
How Stun Guns compare to Handguns
At its most basic, the only comparison between stun guns and handguns are truly related to TASER® guns. Both are projectile-based weapons which work by shooting said projectile at a target. Both can be used to incapacitate a person, but handguns are—in general—used to fatally wound a person or animal.
Stun guns are non-lethal weapons, designed to incapacitate aggressors with high-voltage, low-amperage shock pulses. While there have been a few cases of lethal firings of TASER® guns, these occurred because of a victim’s prior health condition, often related to their heart. Otherwise, stun guns and TASER® guns are non-lethal weapons.
Tips for buying a TASER® or Stun Gun
When buying a TASER® or stun gun, there is no “perfect” self-defense weapon on the market. The only “perfect” stun gun is the one that is right for you. While perusing our vast inventory of stun guns & tasers, you want to consider the following:
- Situational Usage: how and when do you plan on using this stun gun? Will you be using it in your home, on your commute, out on a run or walking your dogs? Would you be better off with a TASER®, used while maintaining distance, or a stun baton, which will be used in a physical way such as swinging and hitting?
- Quality: do you need the top-of-the-line with the highest accuracy from a distance of 25 feet or will you get by with a stun gun that is used face-to-face?
- Brand: are you concerned with having a brand name TASER® or are you alright with having another type of product?
Why TASER® Guns Make Great Gifts
If you’re looking to provide a loved one with the utmost sense of personal security, it’s worth giving them the gift of safety with a TASER®. Rather than providing them with another trinket, you can give them a device that will keep them safe, and they’ll remember who gave it to them when they need it most.
The Best TASER® Guns for Women
The self-defense needs of men and women tend to be similar, but there are some TASER® products that work best for each sex. For women, the best TASER® self-defense products are ones that can offer premier protection at any time of day.
Some of the best stun guns for women include hand-held devices and Sting Rings that can be stored in a purse, placed on a keychain, or wrapped around your fingers while on an evening run. For women looking to keep their distance while staying safe, the TASER® PULSE+ Subcompact Shooting Stun Gun w/ Noonlight is a great option. Electrified probes can be shot up to 15 ft. accurately and the connected Noonlight app can be downloaded to your smartphone to inform local authorities whenever you fire your TASER®.
The Best TASER® Guns for Men
TASER® guns for men can run an equally wide gamut, but there are some products that might work best. In particular, men might be more comfortable using devices requiring physical contact. Stun devices requiring physical combat include taser batons & electric stun guns and stun gun flashlights. Both types of self-defense devices provide men with an intimidating non-lethal weapon that can ward off potential aggressors and be used for excellent protection if the situation worsens. And the multi-purpose uses of a stun gun flashlight make it perfect as a guide during a nightly walk or an added form of protection stored in your car’s glove compartment.
The Benefits of Owning a TASER® or Stun Gun
Proven to be medically safe
100s of independent medical research studies have reported that stun guns and TASER® guns are safe self-defense weapons when used for personal protection. These studies make them the most trusted source of non-lethal protection for police departments all around the country and world.
Protected with distance to spare
TASER® guns provide users with a non-lethal self-defense option even while maintaining distance. Able to accurately shoot over 15 feet, these devices allow citizens and police officers to keep a safe distance between themselves and an aggressor.
Legal to carry
While there are some states that have laws requiring permits to carry a stun gun, and some that outright make it illegal to do so, most places across the globe allow ownership of a stun device for concealed carry. This legal protection means that you can keep a stun device directly by your side. So, even while you’re out in public you can have a form of self defense on your person when trouble strikes.
The type of TASER® or stun gun you decide to purchase depends on your personal needs: what you’re comfortable with carrying, what type of quality you desire and the legality within your state. But the bottom line is that TASER® guns and stun guns provide citizens and police officers with a non-lethal, self-defense weapon for ultimate protection. Whether protecting your home or remaining safe while on an early-morning walk, you can defend yourself with a stun gun in your hand.
What Does TASER® Stand For?
The word T.A.S.E.R. is an acronym for Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle, which came from a novel written by Thomas A. Swift in 1911.
What’s the Difference Between a TASER® and a Stun Gun?
A stun gun is a hand-held device that must come into direct contact with a person. Comparatively, A TASER® is a shooting stun gun that fires probes into a person’s skin.
How Do Stun Guns Compare to Guns?
Guns are generally used to fatally wound or harm a person, while stun guns are a non-lethal weapon.