Over the years I have received many requests from personal safety device seekers asking if they should buy a Taser, stun gun, or pepper spray. They always seem to be wondering the same thing. I typically interpret their question as this, “Which one of these non lethal defense products will provide me with the most protection?” or “Which one should I buy?” Rather than steer those individuals to my favorite option – the X26 Taser – I do my best to explain to them the pros and cons of each of the three options listed above.
In this article, I’ll do my best to provide an honest evaluation of each option. I’ll also try to show examples of how each choice may affect personal safety in the real world. After looking through all options hopefully you’ll be able to decide which option is right for you and your family.
First, we will examine the pros and cons of owning a stun gun for self-defense. Let’s start with the bad news. The biggest con that I can think of with relying on a stun gun to protect yourself is proximity. Whenever possible, we don’t want to be any closer to the enemy than we have to be. The range of a stun gun puts you in close proximity with the bad guy so this is definitely a con.
Now realistically, it is going to be difficult for many people to recognize from a distance that they are in danger so a stun gun may prove useful so long as you can get to it before the attacker gets his hands on you. One pro for stun guns is that if used properly, a stun gun should at least disorient your attacker. This will hopefully provide you with enough time to make your escape. Regardless of which of these tools with which you choose to defend yourself, the name of the game is flight. Do whatever you have to flee the scene and then call for help.
Now on to pepper sprays. There are several pepper sprays on the market to choose from. Everything from Mace Police strength sprays, Mace night defense products to Vampire pepper sprays, you have many self defense options. One of the biggest benefits of pepper sprays is they extend the useful range from close proximity to a few feet. This puts valuable space between you and you’re attacker. This “safety zone” unfortunately also may create a huge con. In order for pepper sprays to be effective, you have to hit your attacker with a direct shot to the face. Anything less and you’ve just poked the bear. The last thing you need is an even angrier assailant coming at you. If you want pepper spray to be effective for self defense you will need to invest a good chunk of time perfecting your aim.
Finally let’s talk about Tasers. Believe it or not, I’m not going to go for the hard sell here. That is not my intent with this article. My intent rather is to inform you of the pros and cons of each personal safety device and let you decide which one is right for you. I think you’ve probably guessed by now what I feel is the biggest pro of using a Taser. You’re wrong! There are actually two that I find of equal importance. The first you probably guessed. Tasers give you a 12 to 15 foot buffer between you and your assailant. However there is another pro that I bet you overlooked. Not only do Tasers have an extended useful range but they also greatly increase the size of the target. Remember, with stun guns the attacker has to be within arm reach and with pepper sprays your intended target is only the size of the human head. That’s not a very big target even if you’re aiming at the noggin of the most narcissistic criminal.
If you’re using a Taser, you now have the entire body to aim for not just the head so accuracy becomes a much smaller issue. In newer models such as the Taser X2, you are even able to see where you’re going to hit your target. The X2 features dual lasers to pinpoint precisely where each probe will contact your assailant. It also has a backup shot feature so if for some crazy reason you miss, you get another shot. Like everything in life there is a down side – or con – to using a Taser. There are actually a couple.
The first con is the associated cost. Buying a Taser is going to be the most expensive option, even if you buy it at a cheap price. It may be a good idea to spend a little extra on additional cartridges because just like using pepper sprays, you’re going to want to get good at hitting close to where you’re intending to hit. Another down side to using an X2 or X26 Taser are the hoops you will have to jump through to attain one. In several states it will require you to have a CPL (Concealed Pistol License) while in others a background check will be all that is needed. Many states do not differentiate between Tasers and stun guns so these steps may be a con associated with stun guns as well. Do a quick search for your states laws regarding non lethal weapons to see what you’ll be up against.
I hope this article has given you some insight into the level of protection each self defense device may offer you and your family. Whichever option you choose, be sure to arm yourself with plenty of training. Stay safe out there and God bless!