Question of the Day: Stun or Kill?

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TASERS are pricey but practical. The $369 C2 is about the size of an electric shaver. Available in “fashion pink,” a C2 can incapacitate an aggressor at 15 feet. Bonus! You can now buy one with Anti-Felon Identification (AFID): “A system to deter misuse through enhanced accountability, AFID includes bar-coded serialization of each cartridge and disperses confetti-like ID tags upon activation.” Tag! You’re it! But really, is a TASER a suitable substitute for a gun? Surprisingly, the company’s web-based ad copy touts the TASER for people looking for the next best thing: “I bought my wife a TASER because she wasn’t comfortable using my gun. I wanted her to have the next best thing.” What’s your take? Would you feel “under-gunned” with a TASER? If you carried both, would you worry about using the wrong shaver—I mean weapon?

comments

  1. avatar Scuba Steve says:

    No, I would not carry one. It would be for the same reason I no longer carry a pepper spray device on me. Just one more thing to carry. Keep telling yourself that – just one more . . . EDC – lets see: wallet, cell phone, knife, gun, spare ammo, keys, maybe a small flashlight, and . . . nope – don’t want to carry anything else.

    I understand the less than lethal force option, but pepper spray would be a better choice.

    I thought I have read somewhere that some folks have died after being tased. You might as well have shot them.

    If I had nothing else to carry on me for self defense, I would still not carry this; I would rather use my body’s natural weapons. Two shots, slow to reload, taser now tethered to the bad guy, his buddies approaching, etc. Better start running.

    1. avatar outdoorrat says:

      Agreed… Who wants more stuff to carry, and still try to look inconspicous..

    2. avatar Phydeaux says:

      Supposedly, tasers are the most comprehensively tested non-lethal weapon ever – and no scientific consensus has evolved that 1) tasers kill, or 2) a theory of how tasers have killed.

      Taser related deaths fall into a category of “in-custody” deaths. Some who subsequently died in-custody were tased, some were OC sprayed and some got both. Many, if not all of, these deaths were caused by Excited Delirium.

      Over the last 15 or 20 years law enforcement has learned to recognize ED and respond accordingly. (Insert erectile dysfunction joke here.) Without a proper response and timely treatment (chemical restraint and an ice bath) those with ED have a very low survival rate.

      The only known effective method for restraining those with ED is by physically overwhelming them. Tasers, OC spray and pain compliance techniques are completely ineffective.

      All that said, ED is pretty rare (as are alleged taser deaths). Having a non-lethal tool would be nice to have. Perhaps after I’ve gotten all the guns I’d like to have for personal carry, I’ll spring for a taser.

      I’ll bet Nick has some perspective on this – these days, many EMTs have a specific protocol for ED diagnosed patients.

  2. avatar Michael says:

    I know the rule is not to pull your gun unless you’re ready/willing to pull the trigger, but the statistics show that the majority of DGU’s don’t involve actually shooting someone. The presentation of the gun alone ends the situation.

    I don’t think a taser would be as effective.

  3. avatar caffeinated says:

    Having seen the X26 fail more than once, I would not trust my life to it. As a side note, if deadly force is justified why are you gambling with less lethal?

  4. avatar cellude says:

    Yes, being a student conceal carry is not an option on campus. However, in my state at least a Taser is not seen as a firearm so there are no restrictions on where one can go like pepper spray. Living in a windy state, pepper spray however is not the most useful outside and can easily be blown right back at me. When I looked at my options of approved self defense products, I factored in range, ability to resist drugged up offenders, and available deployment target area (OC’s can only be used on face so headshots required for effectiveness).

    In terms of deterrence at night walking around, because of the built in LED and laser offenders can’t really tell what is pointed at them if it is lethal or not.

  5. avatar bontai Joe says:

    Since a TASER has only a one shot capability, and has to be used at VERY close range, I would never carry one as my primary self defence weapon. Bad guys around here travel in packs.

  6. avatar Low Budget Dave says:

    There are a number of places where carrying a gun is a felony, but carrying a taser is allowed. Check the law carefully, though. The internet can save you from a ton of jail time.

  7. avatar Bill Baldwin says:

    nope, nope, nope, nope. A TASER is less reliable than a firearm at stopping a threat. If you carry both and the DA starts to wonder why you shot someone instead of deploying the TASER, you might find yerself on the wrong end of a prosecution, or persecution, depending on the DA. If you deploy the TASER, and it works as designed, what do you do with the bad guy once he regains his senses, and while you’re still waiting on the Po Po to show up? Do you zap him again or let him stand up? Carrying a TASER with a firearm would be equivalent to loading your firearm with rubber bullets, IMO, a dumb idea.

  8. avatar LT says:

    I’m not sure I’d carry both but I’d certainly like to own a taser or two, if for no other reason than the “fun toy” factor. Still, I’d rather spend the money on guns, ammo, and accessories – you could get a S&W M&P Shield for close to the price of one of those C2 tasers!

  9. avatar Ralph says:

    I’d carry one, but they’re illegal in MA. So I can ventilate a BG with ten rounds of .40 cal hollowpoints, but I can’t stun him because that would be cruel.

    1. avatar LT says:

      But only ten rounds, and only from a gun with a 10-lb or greater trigger pull – not sure if that law applies to firearms purchased outside of MA and transferred into the state, though.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        The Massachusetts trigger is a “consumer safety” regulation. It’s perfectly legal to own a gun with a light trigger, and SA guns are not covered by the regulation, but FFLs can’t handle new guns that are off-list or not compliant with the regulation. Normal capacity magazines are illegal to possess unless they were legally in the state prior to the AWB.

        1. avatar Sean says:

          How would they prove that they magazines were in the state before then? Especially for guns like SIGs, Berettas, Paras, etc…A Beretta mag from 94 and 2012 look the same.

  10. avatar KA-BAR-A-RANG says:

    I’ve seen the shoot and drop taser. Where you fire it and stuns the person for 10 seconds. In that time you are suppose to run. I could see that useful for someone not trained in firearms in a E&E kind of situation and I believe the company will replace the taser also!

  11. avatar Tom says:

    Seems as though to carry a Taser in Indiana, you must have a Handgun Permit. More to carry.

  12. avatar Mark says:

    From my own research on the topic, I absolutely do not trust Tasers and would feel better armed with a cane but very much prefer a .45

  13. avatar Chris Dumm says:

    IMHO, the price of a Taser is all out of proportion with its defensive utility. I haven’t kept a detailed statistical survey, but a lot of my accused clients end up getting Tased while resisting arrest, and a large fraction of those Taser applications are unsuccessful. Moderate clothing will defeat even the higher-velocity law enforcement Taser probes, and many bad guys have learned how to physically yank the probes out of their skin to continue their rampage.

    While a Taser might not be the answer for me, it is advisable to have a variety of tools for responding to threats of various levels. Not all threats are lethal, but *only* lethal threats will justify pulling or firing a gun.

    If you’ve got the pockets to carry it all, a high-intensity flashlight and a can of OC spray are excellent additions to your CCW kit. I like the $40 Kimber Pepper Blaster II, which gives two debilitating shots of OC out to about 15 feet and carries flat and discreetly in a front pocket or jacket pocket.

  14. avatar Tim says:

    No way I would carry a taser when I have a gun. I know a couple of people that carry a taser and pepper spray instead of a gun because they can’t stand the thought of killing someone, even if that person is a threat to them. Personaly, I did some seriouse thinking before I started carrying and decided I could deal with that. Also, like Bill said, if you’re carrying both a gun and a taser it could lead to some questions about weather you used the appropriate amout of force against an attacker if the gun is used.

  15. avatar Aharon says:

    It seems like many of you who do CC or OC use a semi-auto. What about in addition to a real primary gun carrying a revolver with rubber bullets? Would it be too confusing in a high-stress attack that requires fast response with the right tool? Is it practical? BTW, I know nothing about rubber bullets.

    1. avatar Tim says:

      I would imagine any situation serious enough that you have to draw a weapon on someone is going to be high-stress and require quick action. You might not have time to make a decision about the amount of force you want to use. My advice would be to make a decision about how far you are willing to go to protect yourself, and go from there on choosing a weopon. For example, if you don’t want to kill someone use pepper spray or a taser for a primary weapon, but don’t go any higher in terms of force. If you can handle taking a life, use a gun with real bullets in it.

  16. avatar Sanchanim says:

    Well given a choice it is the next best thing next to OC.
    If I can’t carry a gun then maybe a taser, if not that then pepper spray.
    Some defense is better than none.
    In your case your wife didn’t want to carry a gun but is ok with something else so that is a tactical decision she has made based on her comfort level.
    Would I trade a gun for a taser or carry both, no.
    To be honest I am more comfortable with a gun. Yes it is lethal, and there are no if, and’s, or buts about it. But it is a single decision based on the situation that if I need to draw my weapon it has come down to that.
    I guess it comes down to what is your threat level at any given moment, where do you travel, work, play?
    I live in an incorporate area in a rural community. There are lots of folks out at night on farms who could come across a mountain lion, or some other predator of the non human kind, so for them it makes sense. We also have other issues, but that being said, a gun is a better option for me.
    What is the environment you exist? Someone mentioned being in the windy city so there is a valid point that a can of OC probably would not be recommended. a Taser would probably be better. Again you need to be comfortable with what you carry regardless of what it is.

    1. avatar Tim says:

      Exactly right. A person needs to be comfortable with whatever they’re using for protection. If someone is carrying a gun, but isn’t prepared to take a life, they will most likely hesitate when they have to defend themselves. That hesitation could cost them their life. If someone who isn’t prepared to take a life has a less than leathal option available, they will likely not hesitate to use it when needed. It doesn’t matter if it’s a gun, a knife, a taser, or pepper spray, you should be comfortable with it and mentally ready to use it when needed.

  17. avatar David W. says:

    Not to hijack the thread, but I always thought that an actual firearm encased in toy like furniture would be a nasty little weapon. It might not (let the lawyers fight this one out) not be considered a gadget gun as it is a gun. The barrel could even be covered in plastic and blown threw when the need arises. Weight would be an issue, but only the person handling that would know.

  18. avatar GS650G says:

    Incapacitate the invader, tie them up in the basement, and then the fun can begin. I’m thinking of Pulp Fiction, “we gonna get medieval on your ass”

  19. avatar Aaron says:

    Why the discussion of Tasers, when the item depicted is a laser?
    Biggest problem with lasers is making one that will inflict tissue damage similar to that of a bullet, in a portable package. That takes a lot of energy storage – laser “batteries” would be several thousand times the volume of a few modest grains of gunpowder.
    As soon as a human target is “lit up” he/she will move in some fashion or another, immediately spreading out the effect of the beam over a larger area, diminishing its penetrating power – so a beam weapon of any kind would also have to let out a tremendous amount of energy in one helluva huge, short burst in order to have antipersonnel effectiveness.
    That’s one of the challenges faced by directed-energy antimissile systems – keeping the beam on one spot while the target is whistling through the air at high speed, and rotating, too.

  20. avatar JOE MATAFOME says:

    I’ll never understand why RI and MA would ban stun guns that would only disable the BG(hopefully), but they’ll let us have a real gun that would most likely kill or seriously injure someone. I would rather get stunned than shot, but I don’t make the rules. My Florida permit allows guns, clubs, stun devices and knives.

    1. avatar Parthenon says:

      The reasoning is that they can’t ban real guns, no matter how much they would like to. But they can ban stun guns, so they will. Anything to make the public less safe.

  21. avatar Daniel says:

    IF the taser used magazine-fed ammunition,
    IF the taser thereby allowed multiple, successive shots to be fired,
    IF I could change out said magazine with another,
    IF the taser had the reliable design of my M&P,
    I would have NO problem replacing my pistol with a taser that is capable of rendering a more effectively incapacitating charge to a bad guy. Think about it: The electrical current of a taser is meant to temporarily shut down the body’s ability to function. That is highly preferable to the use of deadly force in most circumstances. Seems to me there is enormous market potential once the R&D is completed, the product patented, and the latter is subsequently allowed to expire. But therein lies the problem.

    @JOE MATAFOME:
    You seem to be operating on the flawed logic that politicians in the northwest employ reasoned logic to the decisions they make. Tsk. You put too much faith in elected officials, methinks.

    1. avatar JOE MATAFOME says:

      You’re right Dan, and you made some excellent points. I wouldn’t feel to safe using a taser after reading all your “IF’S”. There are to many things that could go wrong. I also used to be told what to do by our public officals, and where I live you do as your told or get sent to the corner.

  22. avatar Frank says:

    Well my feeling is, if your wife was uncomfortable using YOUR gun, then get her one of her own that would make her feel comfortable. This looks more like a toy and I don’t think it would be taken seriously by anyone.

  23. avatar Pistolero says:

    No! It’s possible for certain felons (usually the very worst ones) to continue functioning effectively after receiving a solid TASER hit. If it needs shooting then I’ll stay with a pistol. To my mind the: repeatability, increased range, improved lethality, and overall reliability of a powder-actuated firearm are far more practical than attempting to rely upon, ‘the energizer bunny’ in order to deter criminal behavior and save life.

    No police officer relies upon a TASER as a primary weapon; and, until the police do, neither will I.

  24. avatar Jack Whistler says:

    No one is a perfect shot.
    Taser: You miss….you’re boned
    Springfield XD: You miss….a dozen more rounds of .45 ACP await your command

    $0.02

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