Those against personal handguns often cite that we wouldn’t need to use guns in self-defense if the bad guys didn’t also have access to guns. The problem with this type of logic is that as a woman, I will never be as strong as a man regardless of his gun toting status.
Many of my friends are uncomfortable with the idea of carrying a gun and the controversy surrounding guns does nothing to encourage them. Fortunately, we have other options, we have a choice. From a self-defense perspective our greatest allies include the handgun, stun baton, stun pen, and taser. Which one is right for you?
Weapon Range and Protection
GUN – As women, we never want to get too close to our attacker. In this sense, owning a handgun is appealing. Of the four options, a gun offers the farthest range and the most protection.
STUN BATON – Think of a stun baton as a longer stun gun. Most batons are around 17″ in length. The average human arm stretches 25″. Will you still be within grabbing distance while protecting yourself with a stun baton? Maybe. Also, a stun baton is designed to stun. Stun. It’s a weak verb when compared to injure, incapacitate, or disable. When protecting yourself, do you really want to be weak? Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher Johnston says,
“While a stun gun does cause pain, the shock doesn’t have any stopping power, which means an attacker could still cause harm after being shocked.”
STUN PEN – A stun pen is around 6″ long and you must touch the pen to your attacker in order for it to be effective. In regards to the level of protection offered, this depends upon the power of your pen. In general, they are equal to stun batons in that they will only give you a window of time to get away. A stun pen may buy you as much as 30 seconds. Is that enough of a head start?
TASER – Tasers have an advantage over Stun Pens and Stun Batons in that you do not have to be touching someone in order for the weapon to be effective. A taser can launch around 15 feet traveling over 100 mph to hit and stun its target. They are more powerful than stun pens and batons and can stop an attacker for several minutes as opposed to seconds. Like a gun, using a taser requires skill as you must shoot and actually hit your target. If you miss your target while using a gun you can try again. If you miss your target while using a taser you may have the option of using it as a stun gun assuming you purchase a model that offers this feature. However, a taser can only load one cartridge which means you have one chance to hit your target from a distance before it becomes an arms length fight. What many people do not know is that hitting your target can be challenging. In fact, the Warren Police Department in Macomb county has dropped the use of tasers. Officers reported problems with tasers 23% of the time they attempted to use them; think dead batteries, stuck cartridges, and missing targets. If a trained officer can’t hit their target, can you?
WINNER: Gun wins this category followed by a taser, stun baton, and a stun pen.
GUN – With a carry permit, you can take your gun anywhere that guns are allowed. Of course, you must take proper measures to protect yourself while carrying. For that reason tucking a gun into your waistband is not recommended. Instead you should invest in and practice using a holster or something specifically made for women.
STUN BATON – The Stun Baton is the least portable of the four options due to its size. The average baton is 18″ long, not exactly something you can slide in your purse or down your pants. I like the idea of keeping a stun baton in the car for easy access but it isn’t portable by nature.
STUN PEN – Stun Pens were created to be portable. They are usually around 6″ long which makes them easy to conceal. In fact, you could even slip a pen into your pocket for easy access, something I wouldn’t recommend doing with a gun.
TASER – Like a gun, a taser should be carried in a holster. Does it have to be carried in a holster? No, but it should be; because yes…it can accidentally discharge.
WINNER: Round winner? The Stun Pen followed by a tie between the Gun and Taser trailed by the Stun Baton
Ease of Use and Legalities
GUN – Guns and tasers are the most difficult weapons of these four options to use. I would argue that a gun can be even more challenging than a taser. In order for a gun to be effective you need practice and lots of it. Even getting a gun out of a holster can prove trying if you allow your skills to become rusty. Also, guns carry the greatest amount of personal liability as they are; after all, a deadly weapon. Guns require skill and accuracy. Are you willing to invest the time into becoming a responsible gun owner?
STUN BATON and STUN PEN – In regards to ease of use and liability both the stun baton and stun pen are the same. They require no skill to use and are lower risk than Guns and tasers. They are legal in most states though not all.
TASER – A taser is more difficult to use than stun gun type options. When you shoot a taser two dart like objects project out of the gun. In order for the taser to be effective, both darts must hit the target. Some tasers like the C2 include a laser for more accurate aim but that doesn’t mean accuracy is guaranteed.
In regards to liability, tasers aren’t risk free. In fact, tasers are illegal in several states; the same states where stun guns are illegal. It is also required that you pass a background check before being allowed to purchase a taser. A background check is not required to purchase a stun gun.
WINNER: Tied for first is the stun baton and stun pen followed by the taser and then the gun.
GUN – The cost of a gun can range from a couple hundred to thousands of dollars. In addition to the cost of the gun there may be licensing fees, taxes, and of course the cost of bullets. FACT – licensing can become rather costly. According to OutdoorLife.com,
“Costs for a first-time applicant to receive a concealed weapons permit or license to carry, including background check, can vary from zero in Alaska, Arizona, Wyoming and Vermont — where concealed carry is legal without a permit — to $250 in Providence, R.I, to almost $450 in New York City…”
STUN BATON – You can purchase a decent stun baton for around $45.
STUN PEN – A 500,000-volt stun pen runs around $25.
TASER – Tasers can be just as expensive as a handgun with the Taser C2 basic package starting at $300. Like guns, there are residual costs with taser ownership. The cartridges, for example, do expire and replacing them can cost around $70 for a two pack which isn’t any less than ammo which does not expire. A taser also requires batteries which can cost between $40 and $70.
WINNER: This category winner is the Stun Pen followed by the Stun Baton, Taser, and Gun