Stun Gun vs Taser: How They Are Different and Similar

Stun guns and tasers are two types of electroshock weapons. They differ in range and function. You will learn about these differences in this article.

As non-lethal electroshock weapons, stun guns and tasers have a similar effect on their targets. After doing research, I learned about the most important difference between them. This is what I learned.

Stun guns can deliver electroshock at an arm’s length. Tasers deliver electroshock by shooting two darts up to 15 feet away from a target.

Stun Gun Vs Taser

Stun Guns and Tasers are Different Weapons

Stun guns and tasers are both electroshock weapons. However, stun guns and tasers deliver electricity in different ways.

Stun Guns are a short range electroshock weapon. Stun guns produce electricity between two metal prongs at the end of a handheld device. They don’t shoot projectiles.

Tasers shoot two dart-like projectiles that deliver electroshock. This allows for up to 15 feet of distance between a user and a target. Tasers are aimed and fired just like a handgun.

Because stun guns and tasers differ in function and range, they are considered two distinct weapon types.

Stun Gun or Taser: Which One Should You Choose?

Stun guns and tasers are both effective non-lethal self-defense tools. However, they are very different in function and use case

  • Stun guns are highly effective at incapacitating one very close attacker.They are close proximity electroshock weapons. If you think you will need to defend yourself from a single very close attacker, then a stun gun is the better tool.
  • Tasers are great at incapacitating one or two attackers from a distance. Tasers shoot one or two pairs of darts that deliver electroshock for 30 seconds.

Benefits of Stun Guns

Stun Gun Use
  • Low Cost: Stun guns are much less expensive than tasers. Excellent, highly rated stun guns can be purchased for as little as $10 to $20. The least expense taser sells for about $400. Stun guns are a much more economical self-defense tool.
  • Intimidating Noise and Electrical Arc: Activated stun guns make a crackle sound and a bright electrical arc. It is better to surprise an attacker with a stun gun shock. However, there can be situations where intimidation can stop an assault before it begins. For example, an aggressively approaching dog might back down when seeing and hearing electricity.
  • Anti-Grab Shock Plate: Unlike tasers, there are stun guns designed to prevent an attacker from grabbing and removal from the users. These stun guns have anti-grab shock plates that will shock someone trying to grab it. By being connected to the electrically charged front prongs, these shock plates deliver painful electricity to someone trying to grab a stun gun.
  • Built-in Flashlight: Most stun guns, including highly rated and effective models, have built in flashlights. These built in flashlights provide two great benefits. It allows a stun gun illuminate an area and an attacker. This extra visibility in a dark area allows a defender to decide between fight or flight and to see a viable escape path. Additionally, a built in flashlight allows a stun gun to be disguised as a flight light. An attacker who is fooled by a disguised stun gun is unlikely to pay attention to it and be more vulnerable to getting shocked.

Drawbacks of Stun Guns

  • Long Time for Maximum Effect: It takes 5 seconds of direct contact to maximize a stun guns effects. That’s how long it takes to stun gun to cause confusion and disorientation in an attacker. 5 seconds might not sound like a long time, but it’s plenty of time for a defender to get serious and permanent bodily harm.
  • Short Range: Stun gun can only be deployed at an arm’s length. This leaves a defender vulnerable to being grabbed, thrown, or tackled. This short deployment distance is more of a downside to those with below average arm lengths. If an attacker’s arms are substantially longer than a defender’s arms, then an attacker can punch a defender’s face and totally avoid a stun gun shock. There are long stun gun rods that provide more reach for stun gun users. However, these long rods are inconvenient to carry and conceal in public.
  • Short Incapacitation Time: Even with a good strong shock, stun gun’s effects can last only a few seconds. This might not be enough time to run away. If an attacker can run faster and farther than a defender, he might be able to chase his victim down.

Benefits of Tasers

Cop Shooting Taser
  • Distance: Tasers shoot their darts up to 15 feet out. This separation distance between user and target is the most important advantage tasers have over stun guns.
  • Long Incapacitation Time: Tasers shock their targets for 30 seconds. During this time, the target will lose muscle control. This includes a loss of arm and leg control. As a result, a taser user has at least 30 seconds to run away after the shock has been delivered.
  • Built-in Flashlight: All taser models have a built-in flashlight.
  • Pistol Functionality: Taser are operated just like pistols. They have pistol grips, triggers, and sights. If you want a non-lethal self-defense tool that operates and feels like a pistol, then a taser is right for you. Tasers are so similar to pistols that police have mistakenly fired pistol bullets into people when they intended to tase them.

Drawbacks of Tasers

  • Expensive: Tasers are one of the most expensive self-defense tools on the market. At $400, the Taser Pulse is the least expensive model. You could get both a pepper spray and pistol for $500 to $600. These include excellent name brand pepper sprays from Mace and Sabre and pistols from Glock, Springfield, CZ, etc. The high purchase price is the biggest reason to not use a taser.
  • Aiming: Tasers require aiming and firing just like a pistol. They include front and rear sights for this purpose. Poor vision and disabilities can prevent a user from effectively aiming. Tasers have red laser sights that can be used instead of the front and rear sights. The laser can be used instead of the front of rear sights when an attacker is too close for line of sight aiming.
  • Two Dart Contact: Both taser darts must enter the target to deliver a shock. It’s fairly common for one or both darts to miss the target. If only one dart enters the target, then drive-stun can be used to complete the circuit. A drive-stun is done by touching the target with the electrical points on the front of the taser.
  • Single Company Source: Tasers are produced by one company. They have no competition in the marketplace. Consequently, relying on a taser requires complete trust in one company.

Tasers are Better Than Stuns in Almost Everyway

Tasers are far better than stun guns because of the 15 foot separation they allow between a user and target. If you want an electroshock weapon and you can pay $400 or more for a weapon then a taser is right for you. Having said this, I think pepper sprays are even better than tasers. High quality peppers from outstanding companies only cost $10 to $20. Also, some pepper sprays can shoot their contents even farther than the 15 feet that tasers shoot their darts.

Andrew Jordan

I’m a lifelong native of Memphis, TN. Shooting drills especially with 22LR are one of my passions. My concealed carry permit application was submitted on my 21st birthday. The P10C is my EDC pistol. I invented the patented 15 round 5.56 stripper clip. You can also find me on the “Concealed Carry Andrew” Youtube channel.

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