Barret Kendrick

Stun Gun vs Taser

Barret Kendrick
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Duration:   3  mins

In our stun gun vs Taser comparison, PDN Contributor Barret Kendrick of Bearco Training discusses how these less-lethal weapons work. They are different both in the technology they use and the results they produce.


A stun gun arcs an electrical charge from barb to barb and is 100% pain compliance – it shocks the person at the surface. If you have seen movies where a stun gun renders someone unconscious, that’s not how it works in real life. Stun guns do not cause anyone to lose consciousness.

A stun gun only causes a person pain while the device is actually touching that person. When it is no longer touching the person, he no longer feels any pain. This can potentially cause problems in a self-defense scenario.


Taser is a brand name for a conducted energy weapon that works on very different technology than a stun gun. It is not all surface-level pain like the stun gun. The Taser fires out two different barbs when you press the trigger on it. The barbs are designed to have some deviation as they go out. The conducted energy uses the body to complete the circuit. It passes through the body and penetrates and shuts down control over the muscles that the barbs penetrated.

Under perfect conditions, where you do get a neuromuscular shutdown, a disconnect between the muscles and the brain happens. During that disconnect is when a person loses control and falls over. This can give you the chance to back away and get away.


A traditional stun gun does not produce a neuromuscular incapacitation. Only conducted energy weapons like the Taser do that. Before using either weapon, you should have a good understanding of what they are, how to use them, and what limitations they have. Then get training with them.

Stun gun vs Taser, pain compliance vs neuromuscular incapacitation: Which one is right for you?

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