What to Look For when Buying a Stun Gun [2020 Buying Guide]

A stun gun is a popular item for self-defense.

However, choosing the right one is easy said than done. All those promises of 1 million volts and 300 million volts are shallow. In reality, thousands of volts are all that are needed for immobilization. There are a lot of other things to consider here as well.

So, here is a guide on what to look for when buying a stun gun.

Buying a stun gun in 2020

How Do Stun Guns Work?

Stun guns are self-defense weapons and they’re not meant to permanently harm or maim an opponent. They’re used to stop, disarm, or immobilize an attacker in their tracks.

The high voltage jolt delivered to their bodies usually causes mental confusion, muscle spasms, and, sometimes, unconsciousness.

This makes the attacker extremely vulnerable and you can escape, bound and gag them, or defend yourself.

  • A half second contact usually repels the attacker.
  • 1-2 seconds of contact is enough to cause multiple muscle spasms.
  • 3 seconds is more than enough to cause a loss of balance and disorientation.

Usually, someone receiving the high voltage of a stun gun can be immobilized for up to 30 minutes.

The best part about a stun gun is that they can fit in your pocket or in your purse. They can also be very handy in a situation when the attacker is restricting you to close quarters.

A taser, a different type of stun gun, can also be useful when you need to catch someone running away.

I’ve got a whole post on how tasers affect you that you can check out here!

What should you look for in a stun gun?

Choosing a Stun Gun

Step 1: Choosing a Type

There are various types of stun guns.

  • The most basic one is a handheld stun gun. That is very useful for close quarters combat. You can immobilize attackers, but you have to get close to them.
  • The second most basic one is the taser, which shoots projectile electrodes. This is great for faraway combat. It will immobilize the attacker who is moving away from you. Any thieves trying to get away are also easy targets.
  • Stun batons are also useful for far away combat. They also have the added benefit of being used as batons. They can take down and intimidate large attackers, including dogs.

Step 2: Choosing the Voltage

As I said before, voltage isn’t the be-all and end-all of stun guns. It’s the amperage that matters more.

It doesn’t matter how fast the current is administered to the body if there isn’t much in the first place.

There was a time when there were accurate voltage ratings on the stun gun packets. However, today, there are labels of a million volts or 300 million volts.

From an engineering point of view, that’s just not possible. Delivering that much energy within a taser will either melt it or blow it up.

Know that you should go for a high voltage stun gun, with amperage of 0.5-1 coulombs per second. That will ensure you immobilize the attacker with even 1 second of contact.

Step 3: Looking for Stun Gun Features

Remember that not all stun guns are created equal.

You need to go for stun guns which are well equipped with some basic features. This is not only to make sure the stun gun is worth the money, but so that you’re safe.

It also pays to make sure that the stun gun features some extra bells and whistles if you’re getting one.

Disable Pin

This is a defense mechanism which keeps the stun gun from being used against you.

There is a strap that fits around your wrist attached to the stun gun. If the attacker is able to snatch the gun away from you, it will pull the disable pin from it.

Hence, the gun will be rendered useless. So even if you’re disarmed by the attacker, you’ll be safe.


This is something that should be considered, even for a mini-stun gun. You need to be able to reach for the holster as soon as possible in a high stakes situation. Also, the visual deterrent of having a stun gun on your person works very well. People will think twice before approaching you.

Rechargeable Battery

This is slightly more expensive as a feature. However, you will save money in the long run if you get a rechargeable battery type stun gun.

Some tasers now even have a built-in charging plug that you can insert into the socket directly.


Some stun guns come equipped with an alarm which wards of attackers. This does seem like it would be a feature meant to scare children, but it works. It can often make the attacker run or panic.


Some flashlights also come equipped with tasers. You can shine them in the eyes of the attacker which gives you an advantage. It also gives you an edge in the dark.

Step 4: Warranty

Make sure that you’re choosing a manufacturer that offers you a life time warranty.

Also choose a reputed manufacturer that has been in business for over a decade or more. That’s a mark that they’ve not been scamming their customers.

Is it legal to have a stun gun?

Laws Regulating Stun Guns

Many states allow the use of stun guns within their jurisdiction.

However, there are states where the use of these guns by citizens is not allowed. These include Wisconsin, Rhode Island, New York, Michigan, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Connecticut. All of these states will either not allow you to own a taser, or have a legal limit for ownership.

So if you live within these states, don’t buy stun guns. However, if you don’t, it would still be a good idea to check with your local police department.

If you are buying something for self-defense, they may help you out by suggesting what else you could purchase instead.

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