How Do Stun Guns Work?

Last updated: December 13, 2022


The electric eel is a remarkable animal capable of producing electricity using electric organs that make up most of its long body. Sensing a threat, the eel sends a signal through its nervous system that prepares the electric organs to discharge hundreds of volts. If the threat gets too close, the electric eel defends itself by directly shocking the threat using hundreds of pulses in quick succession. This renders the threat stunned and immobile, allowing the eel some time to escape. Does this self-defense mechanism sound familiar to you? Experts have developed a device that performs the same way — the stun gun.

A stun gun is a less-lethal weapon used for self-defense that utilizes an electric shock to immobilize and incapacitate an attacker. They have been widely used by law enforcement officers for quite some time now, but they’ve also become popular consumer items recently. 

If you wish to discover how they work, just continue reading this article.

What Are Stun Guns And Tasers? 

There are basically two types of commercially available devices for self-defense that temporarily stuns and immobilizes an attacker using an electric charge.

Stun Guns

A stun gun is a small hand-held device that administers high-voltage electric shock on direct contact. It is considered an electroshock weapon as it incapacitates a target with non-lethal amounts of electricity and subdues the target through pain compliance. Stun guns come in various sizes and types, such as flashlight stun guns, mini stun guns, or regular stun guns. They are mostly affordable, costing only $10 to $25 per unit. However, some taser stun guns could cost as much as $400. 


A taser, also known as Tom A. Swift Electronic Rifle, is a pistol-type device that disables a target by transmitting a debilitating 50,000-volt electric shock. However, unlike stun guns, the taser shoots two small probes attached to thin, flexible wires up to a distance of 15 to 20 feet. Once the dart makes contact, electric pulses travel through the wires and pass between the probes, which incapacitates the target. When the probes are in place, the person with the taser can fire off multiple cycles of electricity.  

How To Choose The Best Stun Gun

You should always take your safety and security very seriously. Aside from learning self-defense, it is also best to carry a device for personal protection, such as a stun gun. When choosing a stun gun, you’ll want to pay attention to some of these important details:


When it comes to voltage, just remember, “the higher, the better.” A higher voltage means that your stun gun could immobilize an attacker faster. A stun gun that can administer greater levels of voltage provides you with a self-defense device with immense stopping power. It also means that the current produced by your stun gun can pass through more layers of clothing, making it more efficient in disabling an attacker. 


With a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and even colors, today’s stun guns offer you countless options. You can let your lifestyle needs and preferences dictate the type of stun gun you purchase. If you are petite and prefer a model that will easily fit in your hand or purse, then consider getting one of the smaller units, such as a mini stun gun. If you like the idea of two-in-ones, you might be interested in flashlight or pen stun guns.  

Safety Mechanism

The whole point of having a stun gun is to incapacitate your assailant with a powerful shock, but what if the attacker manages to get the stun gun away from you? Some stun guns have a disable pin that is pulled from the bottom of the unit. Without the pin in place, the stun gun is rendered unusable, which means the assailant can’t use your stun gun against you.

How Do Stun Guns Work

The purpose of a stun gun is to shock the nerve system of the attacker. It uses high-voltage energy but low ampere charge to instantly paralyze them upon direct contact. An attacker is rendered immobile through loss of muscle control and confusion.

A direct discharge of short bursts of high-voltage shocks (which can reach hundreds of thousands of volts) disturbs muscle functioning. These causes people’s muscles to contract quickly but ineffectively. This quick and inefficient work cycle causes a person’s blood sugar to drop, which saps their energy. Now, even the simplest moves would be quite challenging, especially with the feeling of intense pressure and discomfort. 

Typically, a stun gun will have two exposed electrodes that are pressed against your assailant. On direct physical contact, the stun gun sends hundreds of electrical pulses in quick succession, which disrupts voluntary muscle control. This causes your enemy to lose their balance and become disoriented, rendering them immobilized and disoriented for a short period of time. You could utilize this opportunity to flee or request assistance.

If you are interested in buying your own stun gun, visit Security Forward today and learn the best places where you can buy stun guns.

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