Stun guns and Taser devices are often misunderstood, leading to various myths and misconceptions about their functionality, effectiveness, and safety. Here are ten common myths about stun guns.

MAR 18, 2024


“Stun guns must make direct contact with your attacker's skin in order to be effective."


Stun guns and Taser devices are often surrounded by myths and misconceptions, leading to misunderstandings about their functionality, effectiveness, and safety. In this article, we will debunk ten common myths about stun guns, providing you with accurate information to better understand these self-defense tools.

Myth #1: Stun Guns Are Dangerous in the Rain

Stun guns and Taser devices are both completely safe to use in rainy, snowy, or otherwise wet weather. However, this is only true if your stun gun case is in good working and water sealed condition. Any exposed wires or cracks that would allow water to reach the internal workings of the stun gun would make it dangerous to use in wet conditions.


Myth #2: Stun Guns Provide Instant Knockout Power

One of the most common myths is that stun guns can instantly render someone unconscious. In reality, stun guns and Taser devices do not render an attacker unconscious at all. Stun guns work by causing volatile muscle contractions and excruciating pain.

This non-lethal form of self-defense is designed to disable an attacker’s ability to control the muscle group that is being flooded with electrical shock and provide you an opportunity to escape the attacker.

Myth #3: Stun Guns Only Affect Humans

Another myth is that stun guns only work on humans. While they are primarily designed for use on humans, stun guns are also highly effective on aggressive animals. In fact, simply discharging your stun gun in the air is often enough to cause an animal to retreat because they sense the high voltage electrical discharge of the stun gun.

It is worth noting importantly, stun guns may be less effective on attackers who are amped up on stimulant drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine. The additional adrenaline coursing through their bodies allows them to tolerate the high voltage shock more so than a sober individual.


Myth #4: Stun Guns Can Cause Cardiac Arrest

There is a misconception that stun guns will cause a heart attack. Technically, there is some truth to this but with a caveat. Like the electrical shock EMS deploys to a cardiac arrest victim, a stun gun applied directly to the heart can change the heart’s current rhythm and cause a heart attack.

The caveat to this scenario is, more likely than not, you will not make direct contact with your attacker’s heart when you are defending yourself. Large muscle groups, like the chest, are excellent contact points for stun gun deployment. However, most attackers will have their arms extended to protect the torse region of their body. You are far more likely to make contact with an attacker’s shoulder, neck, or thigh muscles in self-defense.


Myth #5: Stun Guns Work Through Clothing

As a rule, any layer of clothing between the stun gun and your attacker’s skin is going to reduce the effectiveness of your self-defense. Stun guns must make direct contact with the skin to operate as intended. If it is Winter and your attacker is wearing a wool coat, you will need to make contact with his neck or face to emit any form of self-defense.

On the other hand, Taser devices which are quite different than stun guns, operate through clothing without any decrease in their effectiveness. This is due to the design of Taser devices, which emit two electrically charged barbs into your attacker’s flesh. The pointed barbs on a Taser device are designed to pierce through shirts, jeans, and jackets without any loss in self-defense power.


Myth #6: Stun Guns Only Works on Large Targets

Because they are most painful when targeting large muscles, it is a myth that stun guns are only effective on larger individuals. Stun guns are effective regardless of the target's size and will create the same violent muscle contractions and pain no matter the size of your attacker.

“Taser is actually a brand name and Taser devices are very different from stun guns in how they operate.

Myth #7: Taser Devices and Stun Guns Are the Same

While both Taser devices and stun guns are electroshock weapons, they operate very differently. Stun guns require direct contact with the skin to deliver the shock. Tasers can be deployed from a distance and shoot two barbed projectiles on wires into the attacker’s body to deploy the electrical current.

There are pros and cons to both stun guns and Taser devices. Please read the article, “The Differences Between a Stun Gun and a Taser Device” for a more in-depth understanding.

Additionally, Taser devices may have stricter restrictions and legal requirements in your area. It is important to verify the legal requirements for any self-defense product before purchasing and brandishing your personal defense weapon.


Myth #8: Stun Guns and Taser Devices are Legal Everywhere

There is a misconception that stun guns and Taser devices are legal everywhere because they are non-lethal self-defense products. However, laws regarding stun gun ownership, possession, and use vary by jurisdiction.

Some cities may prohibit them entirely and others may require a license to carry permit. Many businesses, government building, and universities have rules in place related to carrying any type of self-defense weapon.

Generally, laws tend to be stricter regarding conceal carry of Taser devices more so than stun guns. With that being said, it is imperative to contact your local jurisdiction and abide by their rules and restrictions.

Myth #9: Stun Devices Provide Guaranteed Protection

It is easy to gain a sense of complacency once you are equipped to defend yourself. Do not allow a false sense of security be your downfall. While stun guns can be effective self-defense tools, they are not foolproof and should be used in conjunction with other safety measures and self-defense techniques.

Furthermore, any self-defense weapon is only going to be effective in an emergency if you have it in your hand and have trained to use it efficiently. Consistent and routine practice are necessary to keep your self-defense skills sharp.


Myth #10: Stun Guns Don’t Require Any Training

Due to the ease of buying them online and the simplicity of their design, there is a myth that using a stun gun requires no training. While stun guns are relatively simple to operate, proper training and familiarization with the device is imperative for them to be an effective form of self-defense and to ensure their safe use.

Much like a firearm, your skills in deploying a stun gun will increase the more you practice. Learning to deploy fast and accurate self-protection is a skill that needs to become a part of your monthly routine to remain sharp.


It is important for individuals considering the use of stun guns for self-defense to understand these myths and seek accurate information to make informed decisions about their safety and effectiveness. Additionally, consulting local laws and regulations regarding stun gun ownership and use is crucial.

By debunking these myths, we hope to provide you with a clearer understanding of stun guns and Taser devices, enabling you to make informed decisions about their use for personal safety.

Defense Divas® wants you to be equipped to defend yourself not only with a self-defense weapon, but also with the practical knowledge of safety awareness and prevention.

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