Everybody has seen that scene in a Hollywood movie or TV show in which someone is knocked unconscious after being attacked with a stun gun. This makes people wonder if that is really always the case when you use a stun gun. The curiosity is normal since you want to know what will actually happen after you make use of this weapon for the first time.
Now, the stun gun is considered one of the best non-lethal weapons that you can get, especially if you don’t have any experience with weapons. For that reason, it’s not only important to know how to use it but also all the possible consequences of doing so.
So, to answer your question as objectively as possible, can a stun gun knock someone unconscious? According to law enforcement agents, the answer is no. You’re likely to not knock someone unconscious with the use of a stun gun. In most cases, if you use the stun gun for more than a few seconds all it’s going to happen is you burning the offender’s skin and causing a lot of pain.
Now, there are a few cases in which someone may lose conscience for a few minutes. We’ll explore more these particular cases below if you really want to know, but the general answer is that it won’t knock someone unconscious.
Also, if the goal is to knock someone unconscious there are other weapons that do a better job. Even the taser will have the same effect that the stun gun has.
It’s interesting to point out that the voltage of the weapon won’t affect its capacity of knocking someone unconscious. Also, remember that even though it won’t knock someone unconscious, the stun gun and the taser will shut down muscle control for a few seconds to a few minutes, which is important when you’re in a self-defense situation.
The most common side effect from this is that the target loses his/her ability to control their bladder causing them to piss on themselves. Again, even though the target does not lose consciousness, it does lose muscle control which is important.
Now, about the very few cases in which a stun gun can knock someone unconscious, it’s important to list them here because depending on each scenario you may want to know what to do afterward.
This is why it’s so important to know the weapon you’re choosing before having to use it. Quite often people don’t do enough research and end up buying something they don’t really know how to use.
Imagine being in a life and death situation and not being able to properly use the gun that you chose as your self-defense weapon. You don’t want anything remotely similar to that. That’s why it’s important to know your weapon inside out.
So, below is also what happens if use the stun gun for far too long. Again, this is a non-lethal weapon but in very few cases it may trigger something else that can be deadly. To make sure you know everything, keep reading below.
What the Stun Gun Actually Does
So, starting from the main point that the stun gun doesn’t actually knock someone unconscious in most cases, what does it actually do? That it’s easy to answer and also helps you make up your mind if it’s actually the best choice for you. So, if used properly, the stun gun will make the target lose muscle control and create spasms of the same muscle group.
Now, to produce the desired effect the gun must touch the assailant’s skin for a certain period of time. For example, if the stun gun touches someone for just 1 minor second, it will only cause pain. The normal response will be for the assailant to get repelled. So, 1 second is enough to repel the assailant and cause pain but not enough to make the person lose muscle control or get disoriented.
When the target is hit for a period of 1-3 seconds, the effects are deeper pain, muscle spasm, and nausea. In a threatening situation, this gives you enough advantage to run or get the upper hand. It’s also important to point out that where you hit is as important as how long you hit. So, do your research on the most desired muscle groups for this situation. For example, around the neck, close to the shoulders, it’s usually a good spot.
Anyway, if what you want is for the assailant to lose muscle control, have mental confusion, and be unable to move for a few seconds to a few minutes, what you want to do is to hit the target for around 3-5 seconds. This is the ideal period of time that the stun gun should touch the assailant.
Now, what happens if you hit someone with the stun gun for a greater period of time? It’s actually quite simple. Many people think that if you touch someone for a long period of time, eventually, the person will drop unconscious. That’s just not the case. What happens is that you’re likely to cause a burn. The electric shock will only burn the skin. Nothing else besides a lot of pain.
Another common myth is to believe that if the person touches you, you’ll get shocked as well. That’s simply not the case at all. A stun gun doesn’t produce enough current to travel through all the assailant’s body and get to yours. So, even if the person touches you during the attack, you won’t get hurt.
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Particular Cases that It Can Knock Someone Unconscious
There are few and rare situations in which the use of a taser alone will knock someone unconscious but it’s not completely unheard of. The stun gun is considered by many specialists not a non-lethal weapon but a less lethal weapon, since any object that is considered a weapon has the potential of killing someone.
Now, even though Dr. William P Bozeman, professor of emergency medicine at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, estimated that only 1 in 870 people die from the use of a stun gun or taser in the September 2005 issue of the Annals of Emergency Medicine, there’s still the danger of using the weapon.
In the cases that the stun gun will do more than making the person lose muscle control and piss on themselves, the shock may cause cardiac arrest, respiratory failure, malfunction of a pacemaker, injury to the nervous system, and other effects. In those cases, the stun gun may do more than just knock someone unconscious. Scientifically speaking, any attack that can render somebody unconscious is dangerous and has the potential of being lethal.
Another important thing to remember is that stun guns are not advised to be used against a pregnant woman since the chances of causing miscarriage are quite high.
So, the more likely scenarios that the stun gun will knock someone unconscious are if the person has a preexisting condition, especially cardiac diseases, makes use of drugs, or is under the influence of alcohol. In those cases, the stun gun can not only knock someone unconscious but also be lethal.
Taser or Stun Gun
Now, when it comes to the stun gun vs taser dispute in terms of effectiveness to knock someone unconscious or any other effect that it can produce, there is no difference between the two.
Both the taser and the stun gun are weapons that work on the principle of being high-voltage but with low currents. The high voltage doesn’t impact the power of the weapon as much as manufacturers claim.
As a matter of fact, the current is what determines the power of the electrical shock in this case. The current, that is measured by amperes, is usually low in these devices otherwise it’d kill people instantly.
This is important to know because you don’t need to give much importance to the voltage as most people think you should and beware of a manufacturer who makes an outrageous claim of high voltage models.
As for the debate of the taser vs the stun gun, here it’s more of a personal preference than anything else. The advantage of the taser is that you can hit the target up to 10 feet. This is important because even though you must be at a close range from the assailant, you don’t have to be at an arm’s distance from the person. The disadvantage, in this case, is that you must know how to aim for the target and hit.
Now, for the stun gun, the advantage is that you can’t really miss. You have a bit more control than with the stun gun. Also, since you don’t need to learn how to hit the target, there is no learning curve for you to master this weapon. Still, the biggest disadvantage is that you have to be really close to the target to hit. You also have to be fast. If you aren’t, you run the risk of the person blocking your attack, especially if they’re physically stronger than you.
Alternatives to the Stun Gun
When it comes to alternatives to the stun gun, everything will depend on whether or not you want alternatives that are non-lethal or lethal. Assuming that you’ve already shown some interest for the stun gun, you want something for self-defense that isn’t lethal.
Besides the taser, the best alternative is the pepper spray. With the pepper spray, you have more control over what’s happening and you get a more efficient alternative. Obviously, you won’t be able to knock someone unconscious with one of those.
Now, if your goal is to just cause mental confusion and disable the assailant long enough to give you an advantage or even time to run and call for help, the pepper spray is even better.
You can also look for other alternatives such as batons, knives, and other weapons. Still, if you want something clean that gives you more control of the situation than the stun gun, the pepper spray is the best one. Since the stun gun can be lethal depending on the situation, this can put you in a situation that you can’t entirely control.
So, obviously this will be entirely dependent on your style and what you want, but, ideally, you should have even both options if you can. Then you can assess the situation and make the decision of which one is the best for each scenario.
Remember though, that if you’re the indecisive type, it’s better to have only one. You don’t want to be in a dangerous situation and have to think about which weapon to use.
Remember, Voltage Doesn’t Matter
If you’re going for the stun gun anyways, remember that voltage doesn’t matter. As pointed out above, many manufacturers make atrocious claims about the voltage of their models even though it doesn’t influence as much as you may think about the intensity of the electrical shock. That’s why it’s so important to buy your stun gun from a trusted brand.
Since stun gun regulations are a bit confusing since there is not much clarity in who can own and how to get your permit, if you need one at all depending on your locality, it can be confusing on how you go about purchasing one.
Still, have in mind that the current is what matters and not the voltage. 1 ampere is enough to kill a human being. The stun gun, obviously, produces a much lower current so it isn’t lethal. Again, you run risks with any weapon but they are low in this case.
So, when you’re purchasing your stun gun or even your taser, remember to search for the current and ignore the voltage claims to a certain extent. As long as you buy from a trusted brand, you’ll be fine.
As you can see, the stun gun will rarely knock someone unconscious. It’s actually widely accepted that it won’t. Apart from the rare cases, if you want a gun to knock someone unconscious, you better go looking for other options.
Now, if you do decide to go for the stun gun anyway, just do your research on the model, the brand, and the current. Also, take your time to consider if the results the weapon is capable of delivering are the ones that you actually want, so you can get satisfied with your choice.