Stun guns and TASER® devices are two of the most effective self-defense options to protect yourself. However, because of their similarities, they are often confused for one another. When purchasing a self-defense product, it’s important to know the difference between a stun gun and a TASER® energy weapon so that your personal defense weapon fits your lifestyle and meets your expectations.

SEP 04, 2022

the differences between stun guns and tasers

“TASER® energy weapons deploy from up to 15 feet away. Stun guns must come in direct contact with your attacker.”

The Difference Between TASER® Energy Devices and Stun Guns

First and foremost, TASER® is a brand of less-lethal self-defense weapons owned by a company called Axon. Similar to Kleenex® (facial tissue) or Velcro® (hook and loop attachments), the brand name is so well known that the entire grouping of stun guns and all electric voltage self-defense gear has come to be used interchangeably by the public. TASER® energy weapons not the same as stun guns.


A TASER® energy weapon is actually very different from a stun gun in its’ capabilities, features and price. The most obvious difference between them is that a TASER® device discharges two metal barbs from a cartridge that are attached to the weapon by copper wires which transmit the high voltage electrical current.

how a taser works diagram

Benefits of a TASER® Energy Weapon

·      Reliability: The brand name you know and trust for self-defense is TASER®. There’s a reason for this. Axon Enterprises, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries manufactures TASER®, the most reliable electric and non-lethal self-defense products on the market. Their products are trusted by police forces across the United States.


·      Range: TASER® models deploy electrified barbs a distance of 15 feet minimum and up to 25 feet in some device models. Distance is very important in self-defense because you want to keep as much distance between you and your attacker as possible. With that being said, accuracy is an absolute must if you choose this form of self-protection. Missing your target means missing your opportunity to escape because TASER® devices require cartridges (the copper wires and barbs) to be inserted into the handset for use. Once you have used your cartridge, you will need to load another before it can be used again.


·      Resources: Training is readily available through TASER® Academy. Unlike stun guns, the parent company of TASER® brand, Axon, has an extensive library of free and paid training options. In fact, some states require TASER® training certification before you can own one. As laws are always changing, we suggest that you contact your local police department to inquire on the laws in your area.

taser pulse in female hand

Considerations When Purchasing a TASER® Device

·      Weight: TASER® energy weapons weigh more than traditional stun guns. This is something to consider when you think of how you will carry it. Will it be in your purse? Will it be on your body in a holster?


·      Ease of Use: Unlike traditional stun guns which are immediately ready to use over and over by simply recharging them in any power source, TASER® self-defense weapons require high compression cartridges that contain the copper wires and projectile barbs in order to operate.


·      Accuracy: As mentioned previously, TASER® devices deploy one opportunity to make contact with your target and then must be reloaded to use again. Practicing is crucial to ensure that you are accurate with your TASER® model of choice when you need it in an emergency.


·      Style & Features: If you are looking for a “non-gun, gun”- then a TASER® Pulse is the self-defense option for you! However, because TASER® is one brand and stun guns are an entire self-defense category, there are many, many more options available when selecting a stun gun versus a TASER® energy weapon.


·      Price & Warranty: As a general rule, TASER® devices are more expensive than stun guns. TASER® less-lethal self-defense products are serious self-defense weapons and the quality is very similar to a well-built firearm. Just non-lethal. Axon Enterprises, Inc.  stands behind their TASER® brand and offers one of the best warranties in the business.

taser pulse in female yoga pants pocket

While TASER® devices discharge two projectiles 15-25 feet that are attached by copper wires to the unit, stun guns operate in a very different manner. Stun guns are handheld electrical self-defense weapons too, but they use actual contact with the handheld unit to send their electric amperage into your attacker. This is done by means of 2-6 (depending on the model) conduit prongs on the front of the unit that generate electrical current between them when you press the button.

“Stun guns only require a fully charged battery to operate effectively. TASER® devices require cartridge inserts.”

Benefits of a Stun Gun

·       Easy to Conceal and Carry: As a general rule, stun guns are relatively light and small compared to other self-defense options, such as a firearm. This makes their portability a big bonus.


·      Easy to Maintain: Stun guns are basically batteries on steroids. This means that as long as you recharge your stun gun monthly by simply plugging it into a power source, your self-defense weapon is always ready to defend. Many of the models come with a lifetime warranty if you register your purchase.


·      Options Galore: There is a stun gun model to fit any lifestyle. We carry stun guns for runners, stun guns for home security, keychain stun guns and even stun guns that look like pen lights. Many of our stun guns come with multiple features so you are not getting just a stun device but also a flashlight and/or panic alarm feature too. Options are nice and should be considered when selecting your self-defense weapon.

revelator stun gun electric voltage

Considerations When Purchasing a Stun Gun

·      Range: The biggest consideration when purchasing a stun gun is distance. A stun gun must come in contact with the attacker. This means that you must be within arm’s reach of your assailant. If we can be blunt, you must consider what you are purchasing your stun gun to defend yourself from. If you are seeking protection for a domestic violence scenario, your attacker will most likely be in your personal space. If you are seeking to protect yourself from a dog, you probably want pepper spray instead of a stun gun. If you are seeking non-lethal home security,  one of the TASER® energy weapons is a great option.


·      Legality: While pepper spray is legal in all 50 states, some require you to apply for a permit in order to carry a stun gun. Check your local laws before purchasing.


stun gun designed for runners self defense

What is Right for You?

Although both defensive weapons have similarities, they also have huge differences. It’s vital to assess your personal situation to find the model that fits your lifestyle. In summary, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

1.    What are you most seeking to protect yourself from?

2.    What is legal in my state?

3.    What is my budget?

4.    Will I be carrying pepper spray too for distance safety?

5.    How do I want to carry my self-defense weapon? In my purse? On my keychain?

6.    What other features (if any) are important to me?

razor stun gun with panic alarm feature

Defense Divas® is here to answer any questions you have while choosing the best self-defense weapon for your lifestyle. With over 15 years in business and certified self-defense instructors on staff, we can provide you with expert answers to your self-defense product questions.

Legal stuff: TASER® is a trademark of Axon Enterprises, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

Copyright©2022 All rights reserved. This article or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of Defense Divas®.

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