I get this question often..”Should I buy a flashlight stun gun, a baton stun gun or a compact unit like a cell phone stun gun?” There’s no easy answer, since your personal safety is not a “one size fits all” approach.
A better question might be, “Are stun guns the best option for defense?” Once again, it is a very personal choice, and there are several things to consider, like.. How strong are you? Are you prepared to train with it and use it? And even, what time of year is it?
Wait- What Time of Year?
Yes. I’ll explain that in a moment. A stun gun, just like a firearm, pepper spray, martial arts or for that matter, any defensive tool, is not something you just buy and then drop into your glove compartment or purse. You must practice with it and become familiar with it.
First and foremost, in a high stress situation, your body will go into “fight or flight mode.” You will experience things like auditory exclusion, intensified sound, tunnel vision (1) among other things. You will also lose your fine motor coordination, meaning that your dexterity will be impaired. So flipping a switch or a safety will become more difficult. If you don’t know instinctively where that switch is – you’re in trouble. It happened to me. Thankfully, it was on a shotgun tactical course at my academy, and it only caused a lot of embarrassment and good-natured ribbing. In a fight, I might have been killed or seriously injured.
You Will Revert To Your Training.
And if you haven’t trained at all- you guessed it- you’re in trouble. Finally, using a stun gun requires you to come into physical contact with your attacker. If you’re of small stature, or older, you might be overpowered and the stun gun used against you.
But Frank, What About The Time of Year?
If it is winter, the stun gun’s prongs might not penetrate through heavy clothing. Have you trained for “Plan B?”
OK, So What Are The Advantages?
* There are inexpensive baton stun guns on the market that have metal strips on the outside so that if your attacker grabs it, he will receive a shock.
* Consider a stun gun that is “disguised”, such as a flashlight stun gun. These can be kept handy when jogging, walking to your car, etc.
* If possible, keep it in your hand and ready to use as in the above.
So, in conclusion, stun guns can be effective, but don’t fall for the hype. They require some training and lots of practice.
As Dirty Harry once said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.”
Please let me know what you think in the comments below, and
(1) The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace,
Dave Grossman, Loren W. Christensen