Stun Gun Vs Taser


Which is better: Stun Gun or Taser?

Imagine this: It’s the middle of the night and you’re strolling down the street just trying to innocently make it to your lone car in the middle of the almost vacant parking lot when a guy in a hoodie approaches you from behind one of the cars parked near you. His eyes are bloodshot, and he looks like his breath reeks. He’s coming at you, pulling out a knife, and is yelling at you to give him your purse or bag.

Thankfully, you come outside prepared for this kind of thing. You quickly catalog the contents of your bag. Your keys, wallet, phone are in your pocket — and you miraculously have both a stun gun disguised as lipstick AND a Taser in your bag. The question is though, which do you use because this violent-looking dude is getting closer and your options are limited.

Some people think stun guns and Tasers are one and the same. The truth is that they’re two very different but very effective weapons for self defense, to use in two very different kinds of situations. This article on stun guns vs Tasers will help you decide which one you need in your particular circumstance.

Stun Gun vs Taser Infograph
Shout out to for infographic

Table of Contents

How do stun guns and tasers work?

To know which one to use or buy, we first have to learn how each of them works and what they do.

How does a stun gun work?

A stun gun is a very small device that is made to carry along with you in a bag, pocket, or purse. They can be disguised to look like lipstick, a flashlight, or even a cellphone.

The basic idea of the stun gun is that several small prongs are activated inside the device, and when you hit the oncoming attacker, the prongs send electricity to the bad guy rendering the attacker temporarily knocked out with pain.

Even though it is a pure electric energy that you’re pumping them with, it is not powerful enough to permanently hurt or scar someone, only to stun them through pain so that you can safely get away.

How does a Taser work?

The Taser’s basic premise is almost exactly the same as a stun gun for self defense. When you hit an attacker or target, it sends electricity through two prongs to stun or disorientate them. The only difference is that instead of jabbing the two prongs into them, you shoot the prongs instead.

Inside every taser is a compressed gas cartridge, and when you shoot a taser, the gas cartridge explodes and fires out two wires with prongs at the end. As soon as the prongs latch on to the target by their clothes or skin, it sends electricity through the wires and into the prongs to electrify the target.

The current is so strong it will typically freeze the target completely, freezing their nervous system giving you ample time to get away.

What are the pros and cons of the stun gun?

So now that we know how both the stun gun and taser work, how do we know which one to choose? Let’s look at the pros and cons of both of our weapons and compare them to see which is best in your particular situation.

Pros of the Stun Gun

Let’s go over the pros of the stun gun first.


With a stun gun, because it’s so small and concealable, you can make it look like a lot of normal things, like lipstick or chapstick, a cell phone, flashlight, or even a walking cane!

This makes it easier to get a weapon out when being approached, as the attacker doesn’t expect you to stun them with lipstick! I don’t think most people looking to attack an elderly person will expect to be rendered unconscious by their cane.

The cancelable nature of a small stun gun is a huge reason to buy one because everyone can hide one in their pocket for those late night unexpected parking lot runs.


Stun guns are amazingly inexpensive! Especially for a weapon that can save your life!
Stun guns are extremely affordable yet still pack a HUGE punch. Depending on the size and features they range roughly from $30 – $100. Even though your life is priceless, that doesn’t mean the things to protect it have to be pricey!

Fast takedown

Because of how small and concealable a stun gun is and being able to catch the enemy off guard, you are able to immobilize and stop the enemy very quickly compared to pepper spray or a larger weapon.

Because the small stun gun is based on pain, how fast you take down the attacker is reliant on how much pain tolerance they have or how intoxicated they might be.

Nothing is a guarantee, but the peace of mind of knowing you have a small and powerful weapon in your pocket or purse to quickly take down the enemy is very reassuring. Time is of the essence when your life is at stake.

Easily ownable

Because the stun gun doesn’t do permanent damage to the attacker, it is much easier to purchase than say a gun. If you would like to learn more about your state’s specific laws – check out our Stun Gun Laws page.

Cons of the Stun Gun

With pros, there are always cons of using a stun gun for self defense instead of a Taser. Let’s look at a few of those.

Close range

To use a stun gun effectively, you have to jab it into the target so the prongs touch the target’s actual skin or clothing. If the attacker has a gun or something ranged to hurt you from far away, then you can’t and shouldn’t use a stun gun against them.

If you do, you run the risk of being shot or hurt severely. A stun gun is designed to be effective for close-range attacks or if they have gotten close enough to grab you. This is one thing to consider when deciding on your purchase.

What are the pros and cons of the Taser?

Even though there is only one major con for the stun gun, let’s see what the Taser has to offer.

Pros of the Taser Devices

Long range

As I said earlier, unlike the stun gun, you can shoot the Taser’s wires and prongs up to 15 feet with most Tasers. This helps in situations such as a bad guy coming at you with a bat or bottle.

You can shoot them from far away instead of letting them get close enough to grab or hurt you. Tasing an attacker from a long range allows you to run the opposite direction and get a longer head start than a close range attack.

A laser sight

Okay, I can for sure say that this sounds super awesome already, but the laser sight is there for a purpose, instead of just looking cool. In the middle of the two shootable prongs, the laser sight helps you know exactly where you’re shooting, instead of just firing blindly and hoping that the two prongs will hit the attacker.

You just aim, shoot, and the Taser will do the rest for you. Shooting anything blindly risks missing the intended target and hitting something else. It also doesn’t allow you to get away if the target is still coming at you.

Looks menacing

All Tasers have the shape and shell of a gun, and when you point the laser sight at the chest of the attacker, you know they’re at least going to take a step back.

This is a benefit because it makes it to where you might not even have to tase them at all. The person might just decide to run away or retreat in fear of being shot.

This helps, because with Tasers, you only have one shot to hit the person coming toward you before you have to replace the gas cartridge. So if the attacker decides to flee instead, it saves you the risk of missing when you don’t have a replacement cartridge.

It doesn’t just hurt the enemy, it immobilizes their muscles

Okay, this is probably the coolest part of a Taser. So, instead of just pumping electricity into the target to make them fall in pain, it actually puts the electricity into their muscle and makes the muscle contract on itself, which makes the target forcefully fall over.

This helps for high pain tolerance attackers or highly intoxicated attackers that might not feel the pain as severely. Unlike the stun gun, this forcefully makes them fall or kneel over instead of even giving them the chance to fight against the pain.

Cons of the Taser

Now we will go over the cons of using a Taser instead of using a stun gun.

Both prongs must hit the target to actually tase them

This is the biggest con with the Taser. In order to successfully hit and tase them, both prongs must hit them to work. This is a major downside because unless you are using the laser sight, you can’t perfectly shoot both straight at them.

You only have one pair of eyes. The laser sight on some Tasers helps remedy this, though. I see this as a huge con since a situation with an attacker is usually a high adrenaline situation and you only have a split second to make a decision.

Trying to perfectly shoot your intended target in a stressful situation is hard. That’s a given. But it’s important that when using a Taser, you take the time to practice your aim like you would a lethal gun.

Needs to have the gas cartridge changed out every time it’s shot.

Another big downside to the Taser, the gas cartridge inside the Taser that helps the two prongs to shoot has to be changed out every time the Taser is used.

This is a major downside because if you miss your target once, you’re defenseless against their attack. Your only option then is to run, and I realize that’s not very reassuring or an option a lot of people would like to choose.

As I stated above, if you have a Taser, I’d recommend practicing with it before you find yourself in a stressful situation.


Tasers are much more expensive than most stun guns; however, they are very different devices as we reviewed above. The ability to completely incapacitate a target may be required in your situation.

Ultimately, it is your life and possibly others at stake – so even at a higher price tag – you have to ask yourself, what is my life worth?

So which is better: a Taser or a stun gun?

Finally, we are in the meat of the article. I personally would go for a stun gun, as even though they are extremely effective in the example I gave earlier, it is also extremely affordable.

But, stun gun vs Taser they are both fantastic devices for self defense and you can’t go wrong with either.

If you do find yourself constantly in bad situations and dark parking lots, I’d give some thought to where you’re parking in the future. Best of all, that unsuspecting criminal is going to have a bad time when you pull out your electric lipstick and make him regret HIS life choices!

Alex Bradley

Written by

Alex Bradley

Multitasking guru who’s not just wrangling words as a witty blogger, but also juggling the roles of a husband, dad, and dutiful son to an age-defying parent. With a keyboard in one hand and a toolbox of tech gadgets in the other, Alex weaves playful blog posts that crack open the world of senior-friendly gizmos. Drawing inspiration from his family adventures and late-night “Eureka!” moments, his posts are your compass to navigate the realm of safety-enhancing and smile-inducing devices for the golden-aged generation.