Before you purchase a stun gun it is important to understand the mechanics and the principles behind the operation of a stun gun.
This will help you manage your personal protection weapon and use it most effectively for self defense.
Stun guns work to disrupt the body's electrical pulses that are sent from the brain to the limbs and other parts of the body. Most stun guns only send .5 to 2 milliamps, which disrupt the body's electrical system causing it to temporarily shut down. When a stun gun is used, the body is temporarily paralyzed because the signals from the brain to the various muscles are being disrupted. The brain is confused and shuts down for a moment. Because of all this disruption, the muscles start to work extremely hard trying to figure out what they are supposed to be doing. This takes a great deal of the energy from the body by depleting the blood sugar and incapacitating the attacker for a short period of time.
Stun guns have internal transformers designed to increase voltage and reduce the amperage that is passed into the body. An oscillator is integrated into the circuitry which works to produce the pulsing action. The charge is built up with a capacitor and the electrodes are responsible for delivering the charge. These are the only elements of a stun gun.
Stun guns sare able to produce voltages ranging from 50,000 to 10,000,000 or more. This is more than enough to go through the thickest of clothing. Typically, only 1 milliamp of current is actually used, which is why there is never any long term effects or damage to the body.
The great thing about stun guns is that when the current flows between the two test electrodes it ionizes the air particles and results in a spark that is visible. You can also hear a loud crackling noise that is very intimidating.
The purpose of this is so that an attacker can see that you have a stun gun. Usually the visible sign of the electrodes sparking and the sound of the crackling is enough of a deterrent for personal protection. Most attackers will go away.
There are many different types of stun guns and they come in many shapes and sizes.
Keep in mind that when stun guns are used, the electrodes have to be touching the assailant. They are very effective in disabling a person and temporarily paralyzing them. You cannot kill someone when you use a stun gun on them. Also, the voltage going into the attackers body will not pass back to you even if you are touching the attacker.
A stun gun is classified as a “non-lethal” weapon. Its purpose is to temporarily incapacitate, not to kill. Stun gun powers are listed in volts. Typically, the higher the voltage, the more powerful the stun gun is. It’s not the volts that are dangerous in electricity; it’s the amps.
What then is the perfect balance between powerfulness and non lethality, in terms of voltage? To answer that, one needs to understand what amps are versus volts. Amps (or amperage) means electric current. Volts are electric pressure.
Electric current is a flow of electrons traveling from one place to another. While a few flowing electrons equals low current, a great number of flowing electrons equals a high current. As the current increases, the lethality of electricity increases – so the higher the amperage, the higher the current, and thus, the greater the potential of being fried to death by that current.
Voltage represents the strength with which the electric current is “pushed” from one place to another. In other words, voltage refers to the amount of pressure that urges electrons to move. By itself, voltage cannot electrocute a person. Voltage depends on the intensity of the ampere (electric current) to do so.
So a high electric current (high ampere) and a relatively low voltage can result in lethality. (High Electric Current) + (Low Voltage) = (Lethality). That’s why a serious jolt is delivered from a 12-volt automobile battery: despite its low voltage, the battery is delivering a very high electric current of a hundred amperes or more!
On the other hand, a low electric current (low ampere) combined with a high voltage is definitively not lethal. (Low Electric Current) + (High Voltage) = (Non Lethality). That’s the design principle in the case of stun guns.
In order to overcome the electrical resistance of the assailant’s body, stun guns use high voltage to forcefully push a very low electric current. Despite the high voltage electrical discharge provided, stun devices actually don’t have enough current (amperage) to kill someone in normal circumstances. It only takes about one amp to kill a person. It only takes 200 milliamps (2/10 of an ampere) to make the heart beat uncontrollably (fibrillate). This alone can be fatal. Stun guns only pack a wholloping 3-4 milliamps, far below 200 milliamps and much farther below one amp. As a result, stun weapons are able to temporarily incapacitate an attacker for a few minutes without causing any lasting harm.
To answer our original question of how high a voltage is best: Just get the highest voltage stun gun you can afford. It will only push a low (non lethal) current harder…and more effectively.
Due to the human body’s electrical resistance, it will take a high voltage to force enough electrons through a person, in order to temporarily incapacitate him/her. While a low voltage may not be able to accomplish that task, a high voltage stun gun definitively increases the effectiveness of the stun gun.
Getting the highest voltage you can is important for other reasons. For instance, larger size persons require a stronger discharge than smaller individuals in order for your stun device to be effective. Likewise, if the attacker happens to be in a good physical condition, the required discharge might be higher as well. As a general guideline avoid stun weapons with less than 200,000 volts (TASER guns are the only exception, but they work on a completely different technology than stun guns). The best rule of thumb is to get the highest voltage stun device you can afford.