4 Key Facts to Know About Operating a Stun Gun

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The High-Tech Art of Self-Defense

There are many ways to protect yourself while you’re out and about: pepper spray, a well-placed kick, calling the cops, and of course electrifying the oh-jeez out of your assailant. We’re here today to talk about the most fun of all those options, and as we all know, stun guns are tools of great pain and make for an excellent means of protecting yourself on the fly. However, keep in mind that these are not toys and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

It helps to know about how a stun gun works, what the various types are and how to best handle one. Firstly, there are two common types: your standard-issue electrode prodder and the gas-ejected taser. The former is the traditional design that’s also used in cattle prods, although such prods are merely used to inflict pain whereas stun guns are designed to full-on incapacitate the target. Tasers are typically used by police for long-range dispatching, and they function by ejecting barbed electrodes to snag on the target and disable them from up to 20 meters out.

All stun guns principally utilize a battery — typically a nine-volt juicer that’s stored in the handle — and a circuit board called a transformer that amplifies the electrical signal from the battery when the trigger is pulled. This sends the result to an oscillator that forms a pulse out of the charge, which is then sent to the electrode tips for discharge. Most stun guns and tasers will utilize two sets of electrodes: one set for jabbing the target with effect and another set for arcing the charge to intimidate the target from a distance.

As you read on, we’ll discuss four essential cornerstones of proper stun gun usage and how to keep yourself safe with one of these. We’ll also debunk a myth or two along the way to help you feel comfortable with your little electroshock therapy stick.

The Four Essential Points

The target can’t shock you by touching you while you’re discharging the stun gun into them.

This is a common myth, and it’s wholesale bunk on its lonesome. The electrical charge doesn’t travel through the target when you stab them with a stun gun; the current stays inside their system and affects only them even if they grab you while they’re being shocked. It doesn’t matter if they touch your clothes or skin; you’re safe either way.

Keeping the battery charged is as important as it is easily forgotten.

This is an unfortunate consequence of owning a stun gun that doesn’t include a battery indicator: You use it a few times and warm up to how it works, and then when a situation unfolds where you need to use it for real, the battery doesn’t have enough juice to affect the target. A weak battery means a weak discharge, and there are several factors that can lead to a weak battery such as exposure to stressful temperature changes, long-term exposure to very low or very high temperatures, and leaving the battery in contact with the compartment prongs for extended periods of time without proper discharge. If in doubt, just replace it — nine-volt batteries aren’t expensive.

Know where to hit your target.

In short, the best place to hit your mark is between the waist and neck. If the situation makes this difficult, you should at least aim for the target’s thighs to immobilize them. The arms are also an option, but these aren’t terribly effective points to hit. Nonetheless, once you manage to hit an appendage, you can follow up with a direct center-mass strike to bring them all the way down. Keep in mind that experts recommend at least three seconds of discharge into the target to fully incapacitate them; however, longer is usually better.

Get comfortable handling your stun gun and take note of the safety switch.

Chances are that the panic of a situation where you’d need to use your stun gun will override much of your active thinking capacity, which means that while you might be comfortable using the stun gun normally, that could change when it’s time to use it seriously. Experiment with holding and using it, releasing the safety switch and pulling the trigger to burn the experience into your instinct for quick response in a moment’s notice.