The tickle of curiosity. The gasp of discovery. Fingers running across the keyboard.

The tickle of curiosity. The gasp of discovery. Fingers running across the keyboard.

The World of Iniquus - Action Adventure Romance

Monday, May 13, 2013

Self Defense - Electric Weapons: Stun Guns v. Tasers - Information for Writers

Tasers? yep..
Tasers? yep.. (Photo credit: number657)

DISCLAIMER - This is a non-political site that is geared to help writers write it right. I am presenting information to help develop fictional characters and fictional scenes. In no way am I advocating any position or personal decision.

In the beginning there was a Taser and a stun gun. And while they come from the same family of electric self defense weapons they are not at all alike.
Many writers will use the terms interchangeably.

Who would carry and electric self defense weapon?
This weapon can fit with any character over the age of 18.

Is it even legal to carry this type of weapon?
For the most part the answer is yes. Though check your characters' state codes. This link takes you to a state by state review of applicable laws.

So what is the difference between the two weapons?

The Stun Gun 

A Stun Gun making an electrical arc between it...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
*A stun gun is a brute force weapon. You must make personal contact with
  your assailant.
* Though the prongs DO NOT need to make direct skin contact.
* The contact that is required is LONG 2-3 seconds
   to be precise. While this doesn't sound too bad.
   Think about the last time you were waiting for your
    microwave to ding. I know! 
   Now imagine those 2-3 seconds while someone is
   stabbing you or even punching you. 

*  2 seconds can cause muscle spasms and a state
    of shock lasting up to fifteen minutes - enough to
    get away. 5 seconds is best.
* The current will not transfer to you even if you are
   grabbing at each other
* Water is not a problem even if you are standing in water.

                                                      How does it work?

On the packaging, the manufacturer will indicate the voltage. It is not the voltage though that makes the difference it is the pulse rate frequency.

Yes, the more volts the better, but the pulse rate determines the gun's power to put an attacker down. You see, it's the frequency rate that disrupts the neural pathways in the body - and believe it or not it's a sugar thing. As the electricity pulses the muscles, they produce lactic acid and consume the glucose causing the loss of muscle control (like a Type1Diabetic seizure). Your character should look for at least 100k volts to ensure enough pulse power to be effective.

The Taser 
English: Police issue X26 TASER
English: Police issue X26 TASER (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

*A Taser is a distance weapon.

*You can use this weapon from fifteen feet (5 meters)

* The Taser works by shooting out tiny metal probes that embed
   in the flesh. These probes are attached to wires that connect to
   the Taser unit.


* It works by interrupting the communication between the muscles
  and the brain, effectively attacking the central nervous system.
  This interruption continues as long as the electricity is

Unlike Stephanie Plum in the Janet Evanovich novels, electrical weaponry no longer depends on batteries but is plugged into the wall to charge overnight like a phone.

Also, if you are looking for plot twists - some of the stun guns have a probe in the bottom that attaches to the lanyard around the wrist. If the attacker tries to take the weapon, as it is pulled away from the victim, the pin releases and the weapon is no longer operational. But some do not have this safety.

Electric weapons are effective on sub-creatures including Vampire, Werewolves, and Zombies - but do not have an effect on phantoms or ghosts.

Perhaps your heroine wants to be clever and arm herself with a camouflaged electric weapon - try these on and see if they serve:

       Cell Phone Stun Gun (1:48)

English: Electro-shock Stun Gun like a celphon...
. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

      Lipstick Stun Gun (1:49) 

Electric weapon
Electric weapon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tampon Taser (3:47) No, I'm not kidding
Telescopic stun baton (3:33) similar to asp    

Advanced M26 TASER Stun Pistol - The United St...
Advanced M26 TASER Stun Pistol - The United States military version of commercial TASERs for non-lethal detainment. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Video - Taser v. Knife (1:05)
The Taser Explained (7:05) Shows an experiment where a man was able to overcome the Taser showing
                                           that it is not fail safe.
Female review and demonstration of flashlight/stun gun (3:42)
Why a stun gun isn't fabo. (8:19) Excellent descriptions and explanations.

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  1. Tampon tazer? You couldn't make this stuff up, could you?

  2. Doesn't that sound terrifying? But honestly, it's beyond silly. I'm not walking around with a pink tampon in my hand, and weapons in the bottom of a purse are useless.

  3. Tasers sound more useful, except for concealing purposes. I kind of like the idea of disguised stun guns. Maybe I've seen too many James Bond movies. The tampon one just sounds creepy though. Maybe it could stop a very gropey dae. I don't think I would carry one in any case, being male, as that would just raise questions in itself.

    Do they really have the ability to knock someone completely unconscious like you see sometimes? I know a woman who was zapped with a stun gun who just said it hurt a lot. I wondered if being knocked completely out was realistic.

  4. Bahaha! Yes, lots of questions about the tampon Taser (which is beyond weird and creepy - have you ever seen a woman walking around with tampons in her hand?) or the lipstick for that matter. You have fewer choices. I think the phone is your only option. Why this is a good option is that you can have it in your hand while your walking. Someone who might attack would not be aware that you have a weapon. With a stun gun this is important. You need them to be right up on you, and you need to keep them there in order to affect the muscle long enough to be useful.

    Stun guns - she was probably stunned for a very short time - say 1-2 seconds. It would hurt, badly. NOT effective. The truth is that you have to electrocute the muscle long enough that the muscle uses up its lactic acid and consumes the glucose. Now believe it or not, some of this has to do with size. Over weight people, people who have just eaten something sugary, they are going to take longer to affect. The people who haven't eaten since lunch, and now it's time for dinner, and they just came from the gym? They're going to succumb much faster.

    You don't pass out from a stun gun, though. What happens is you go into shock (say 15 seconds of applied stun gun). Disoriented, unable to stand - this will last for up to half an hour (or if they're diabetic you could send them into a hypoglycemic coma, and they could die with or without immediate medical attention. So no playing around. Stun guns are for protection only)

    Neither the Taser nor the stun gun will put someone out. The Taser is only effective while it's being fired.

  5. I don't think I'm going to be getting a stun gun or taser anytime soon, but the disguised ones are kind of cool. I could see it being a good thing to put in a story, especially for a female character.

    I don't remember the exact details of the story behind the woman getting tazed, but it involved alcohol and willingly having her brother use it on her for a second or so. I know, not smart, but she didn't pretend it was either.

    I just always wondered if someone could really be knocked unconscious by one of those things. I know most ways of knocking someone out in fiction don't work in real life, at least not as easily or safely as they do in fiction.

  6. It's pretty hard to knock someone out. It's even harder to knock someone out for any period of time. It's even harder to knock someone out and not do some damage that needs immediate medical attention/puts them in immediate life threatening risk. This includes weapons, strikes, medications (mainly because these take a while to work - nothing instantaneous). So if you're writing, try really hard not to have unconsciousness part of the plot equation.

  7. I'm butting the cell phone stun gun in my heroine's hand. On'Ya Fiona.

  8. Nowhere do I see that TASER is a legally protected registered trademark. Writers MUST capitalize it at minimum, and include the R in a circle at best, and ONLY when referring to that specific product. Otherwise, use stun gun and stunner. The trademark owners are aggressive at searching for improper usage and pursuing legal satisfaction in the matter.

  9. As above in this article, Taser should be capitalized. Since we don't do such things as put a circled R after we write Coke or Band-aid, I'd suggest that's not applicable in a novel. Also, a Taser is not a stun gun as is explained in the above article. I have never heard a stun gun referred to as a "stunner," nor could I find it in a quick Google search, but I would defer to the colloquialisms of the locale where you set your story.

  10. Very informative. Thank you. I have a feeling something here is going to turn up in one of my stories soon. :-)