Self-defense does not necessarily mean you have to use lethal force. There are different levels of force. In those instances where a firearm is not quite called for yet, it is always good to have in-between options for use of force. Two of the most popular being some type of chemical mace or pepper spray, the other a Taser or stun gun.
Almost everyone has heard the name Taser. When it comes to Electronic Control Devices (ECD), Axon’s Taser brand dominates the market. You would be hard-pressed to find a police department that does not issue Tasers. Taser’s name brand recognition is so widespread that Taser has basically become a generic term for any Electronic Control Device (ECD).
So what is the difference between a “Stun Gun” and “Taser”? A stun gun is another generic term for ECD. Even though it has “gun” as part of its name, a stun gun doesn’t actually shoot anything; they are contact devices. With Stun Guns you have to be close enough to the perpetrator to touch them directly with the device. A Taser has shootable prongs that contact the perp and deliver electricity from a distance.
Is one better than the other? In my opinion distance is always your friend. If you have to wait for a criminal to be within arm’s reach, you’re cutting it much too close. I would consider that a last resort. But that does not mean a stun gun is useless. Stun guns have a unique and quite un-nerving electrical shock sound that can be used as a deterrent. The theory is that you can tell the suspect to go away, then use the stun gun to create an audible warning that you are not an easy target.
That said, having distance on your side will come with a price. Even the cheapest Taser with shootable prongs is $409.99 on Amazon. (That’s more than you’ll pay for many budget handguns!) Another thing to know is that you actually have to fire the probes to get the first electrical shock. Now once you have shot the probes, you can then use your Taser as a contact type stun gun.
Taser Myth 1: Total Incapacitation
The biggest ECD myth is that when you shock someone, they will pass out. It is comical to watch a movie or tv show where they show someone being knocked out by the shock. I can personally tell you, that when you are hit with a Taser, it does indeed suck. Big-time. For the 5 seconds I was enduring the shock, my mind was perfectly clear and all I thought about was how much this hurt. I did not have control of my body; every muscle was contracted. Imagine a full body Charlie horse. But here’s the thing: I did not pass out, and as soon as the cycle was done, I was ready to fight. I’m not alone, either; I have seen training videos in which people shot with Tasers managed to shrug off the effects and keep fighting.
Taser Myth 2: Non-lethal
Tasers are not non-lethal. Tasers are less-lethal. The body uses electrical signals to function and some people are more susceptible to having them thrown off; cardiac arrest is a real risk. Then there’s the fact that a subject who has been Tased is likely to fall; if they impact something on the way down, the injury could kill them. There have even been examples of suspects who had accelerants on their person when shocked by a taser. The suspect is engulfed in flames. Any time you are choosing to use self-defense tools, there could be serious consequences. This is the reason Tasers are for your EDC rig, not a TikTok challenge!
Taser Myth: 15 feet of safety
Remember when I said distance is our friend? Civilian models of Taser products have an effective range of 15 ft. The Toyota Rav 4 is181inches long—that’s just about 15 ft. Are you really comfortable letting someone who intends to do you harm get the distance of a Rav 4 close to you? It’s extremely common for self-defenders to deploy their Tasers while the target is still out of range. Tasers are also less effective against heavy clothing, like a leather jacket. (Just know even if your shot does not work, you can still use your Taser as a contact device!)
Taser Truth: Any distance is better than none.
While 15 ft is not a large distance, any distance is better than none. Taser takes this to heart with their Safe Escape Product Replacement Program. If you have to use your Taser, the company wants you to leave the taser behind and escape the area. The Taser product will continue to pulse shock the suspect for 30 seconds. Remember that as soon as that 30 seconds are over, you can potentially have one very angry bad guy. So use the 30 sends to get out of Dodge. Tasers Bolt 2 civilian model includes bluetooth connectivity with your phone. When you fire the Bolt 2, it sends a signal to your phone, that will then use an app to contact law enforcement and let them know you are in trouble with your GPS coordinates. Without you having to do anything the calvary is on the way. Once you get your police report, send it to Taser with your receipt and Taser will send you a replacement.
Taser Truth: Legality
You can possess and use a taser in 49 states. Now most states do have restrictions like permitting, but even in California, Hawaii, New York and Illinois Tasers are legal. Tasers are allowed in some restricted places where firearms are not, giving you better options than having to go hands-on with a criminal. Taser now has a 30-year track record to back their goal of making the world a little bit safer.
The truth is that you should never have all of your self-defense eggs in one basket if you can avoid it. It’s best to layer your security. Simply being alert and observant of your surrounding world can give you the chance to avoid confrontation. Carry the tools you’re legally permitted and learn how to use them.
—James the “XDMAN” Nicholas Mr. UnPewFessional Himself!
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