Self Defense/stun gun


hi..i am considering getting a stun gun, but after looking at u tube vids about them, and seeing teenagers shocking each other and laughing, i question how powerful these things really are. yet i see the police carry them. so, when you get a stun gun, how do you know it will really work vs. having someone laugh at you like i see on u tube? thanks!!

Okay, that's not as simple of a question as you might think. To understand the answer there's some background information you need to know. When it comes to 'weapons' there's
Less than lethal

Non-lethal means there's no chance of causing death on a healthy person (Stingers, sjamboks, whips, peppersprays etc) They hurt like hell, but they don't really cause injury. (Injury herein defined as something you have to go to the hospital to have fixed.)

Less than lethal generally don't cause death or injury but they can. This especially if the guy has some kind of medical condition or is whacked out on certain drugs or if they are applied to specific places on the body. These include stun guns, tasers, billy clubs, etc. (A strike to the thigh with a billy club hurts like hell. Whereas that same strike to the head might kill. The same strike to the knee, might break it.)

Lethal means it not only injures, but is likely to cause death (especially if untreated)

That's one point. The second is 'how fast does it work?'

The answer to that is 'it depends'

What it depends on is how dedicated is the person to getting you?

That is the huge wobbler in this whole equation. There's an old saying "Don't fear the man who isn't afraid to die. Fear the man who doesn't mind to achieve his goals."

See someone who isn't afraid to die can be easily accommodated. Usually because they're sloppy and stupid in their attacks. But someone who will endure pain and even death to get you, is going to be a handful.  To the point of what was known as the Deadman's 10. (Those are the ten seconds a committed attacker -- even with lethal wounds -- can still keep up and attacking.) The bad news is that it's actually a lot longer.

That is why pain alone is an unreliable means to stop an attacker. But that comes with a caveat.

With many --especially those with low commitment -- it'll be enough. Hell the threat of pain will be enough to make them change their minds about attacking in the first place. If it hurts too much, MOST will break off an attack, turn and run. Which is why non-lethal and less than lethal works MOST of the time. Hell the threat of pepperspray will change many troublemaker's minds. You pull a stungun and whole lot of folks will hot foot it before you have a chance to use it.

Basically it works until it doesn't.

When it doesn't tends to come in three forms.
1) The guy is a professional and has come better armed (or out numbering you)
2) You've done something to piss this guy off specifically at YOU.
3) Pain just pisses the person off.

1- People don't understand that criminals are professionals. They make their living through crime. Now many of them aren't that good at it, but the violence and commitment they have is a completely different ball game. Yes most will choose easier targets,(so a stun gun as a deterrent works) but if they decide to move against you and your stun gun, it's because they got something they know will top it. This is a serious limit to stun guns. They work great against crazy strangers. But against an experienced mugger? He might have things set up so you don't get a chance to use it.

2 - Someone who has an emotional commitment to getting you, can override the pain of stun gun and keep on coming.  The obvious answer is DON'T piss people off. Don't be afraid to apologize. Don't justify your bad behavior. Don't refuse to withdraw. And most of all, don't fuck people over.(Oddly enough these habits tend to greatly reduce your chances of being attacked in the first place.) Emotions and dedication to getting you usually go hand in hand .

Here are some ideas about that

3 - There are people out there (myself among them) that pain just pisses us off. Inflicting pain increases our commitment and triggers a stronger attack. Putting it mildly dealing with such folks is an unpleasant experience. In order to survive, you have to do something OTHER than just offensive.

That is a topic that goes way beyond the scope of what I can write about here. (I have an ebooklet in the "Writing Violence" series coming out in the next few months on defense. Which I will cover the difference between actual defense and calling offense 'defense' As in the BS lie of 'the best defense is a good offense' (It doesn't work when the incoming attack is already happening.)

All of this was to set up this point. Know the limits of the stun gun.

There are conditions, times and places that it is freakin' fantastic. It works. Its use is easily legally defensible in the correct circumstances (Although knowing when that is is critical). Most trouble will walk wide of you when you have one.

Having said that. There are times, places and circumstances it won't. So like any other tool. It's good, but you gotta know when it's the right tool for the job and when it's the wrong one.  

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Marc MacYoung


Street self-defense, crime avoidance and personal safety


I grew up in the streets of Los Angeles in 'situational poverty.' I have dealt with criminals and violent people all my life -- both personally and professionally. I have written 15 books and 6 videos on surviving street violence. I was originally published under the name Marc Animal MacYoung. (Animal was my street name). I've taught police and military both internationally and within the US. I've lectured at universities, academies and done countless TV, radio, newspaper and magazine interviews. I'm a professional speaker on crime avoidance and personal safety. And I am an expert witness recognized by the US court system. My bio is at My abridged CV (Curriculum Vitae) is at

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Read "In the Name of Self-Defense" the streets don't give a Ph.D in scuffle.

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