A stun gun delivers a charge of electricity to its target, incapacitating them without killing. They come in a number of different varieties: some fire electrodes connected to wires at their targets (using gas charges, much like a BB gun or air rifle does), while others require you to touch the tip of the stun gun to the target in order to work. They contain a number of advantages over other forms of self defense, which helps explain their popularity. Does this Spark an idea?
Because they are non-lethal, stun guns tend to be much safer than other forms of weaponry. They cause no permanent damage to the brain and there are very few long-term neurological effects. Most guns possess a voltage far below lethal levels (2 to 3 milliamps in most cases—a tiny percentage of the 1 amp necessary to kill someone). That means any unintentional victims will recover if they are accidentally hit with a stun gun. A large number of stun guns also have safeties and on/off switches, letting the user decide when to active them.
Once they have been charged, stun guns can be used multiple times before they need to be recharged again. Unlike pepper spray—which must be directed at the face or eyes—a stun gun will work on any portion of the body. Most stun guns work on standard alkaline or lithium batteries, making replacement charges very simple to find, while others use recharging kits that let you plug them into the wall. Stun guns can fit into a purse or jacket pocket very easily (letting you carry them anywhere you wish), and while firearms require practice and training to use safely, stun guns require much less time in order to master.
Most stun guns are very effective when incapacitating an attacker: the effects depend on the gun’s voltage and how long you hold it to the attacker. Low voltage stun guns carry about 100,000 volts, while high end models can carry 1 million volts or more. Holding a stun gun against an attacker for several seconds creates a loss of balance and an inability to control the muscle spasms which wrack up and down the attacker’s body. This state lasts for up to 15 minutes: plenty of time to affect an escape and call the authorities. Even brief contact (1 second or less) with a stun gun is sufficient to cause disorientation and confusion in an assailant. Some stun guns will also shock those to try to grasp the far end of the handle, making it more difficult to disarm someone who wields it.