Taser vs. Pepper spray

Flea

Beating you all over those fries!
MT Mentor
Joined
Nov 22, 2008
Messages
2,005
Reaction score
97
The other day, a friend offered to give me a taser. I've been carrying a canister of pepper spray that's old and should probably be disposed of. After some thought, I accepted his offer (he'll drop it off later.)

I know neither is a perfect solution. Here are the pros and cons as I see them:

Spray:
* you can use it from a longer distance
* it's cheaper
* it's more legal
* you have to worry about the wind direction
* its effectiveness depends on whether the target is under the influence of __

Taser:
* it's more effective in stopping someone
* a 9v battery is easier than re-ordering a new canister
* you have to be at arms-length to use it
* more legal implications
* you have to get training (I'd want it anyway)

Both:
* either one is a good visual deterrent just by carrying it
* an assailant can get it away from you and use it himself
* again with the potential legal implications
* I'm afraid of getting over-reactive and using them unnecessarily. In reality this isn't likely, but these are rough times in my already rough neighborhood.

I've researched it, and at least for the moment I like the taser option better. I'm sure that I'm missing several points with the above and I'd love some more education on this. I'm sure there's no single "right" answer as to which is better, or if it's better to use something else entirely or nothing at all. Ultimatley my biggest SD is going to be moving to a safer neighborhood, but that will take some time.

I'd want to take it in any case, but is training required for owning a Taser? And where can I get that?

Also with the pepper spray, how long does that stuff last? Mine is about 3 years old. And is there a correct way to dispose of it?

Thanks from the bottom of my paranoid little heart.
 

jks9199

Administrator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2006
Messages
23,507
Reaction score
3,852
Location
Northern VA
That's NOT a Taser; it's a stun gun. Basically, a cattleprod. And it only works through inflicting pain on the person. They're not particularly reliable, though they may (stress MAY) intimidate someone.

You can purchase a civilian Taser, the Taser C2, which is much more likely to be effective. Essentially, the Taser, assuming a good hit, will incapicitate most people by locking up the muscles. It makes them all contract at once, overriding neuromuscular communication. And the C2 does it for 30 seconds... Time to get away and get help.

The major drawback of the Taser is that it is a one shot weapon, and it requires a proper hit to work to its best capacity. If you don't get that good hit, it's not much different from the stun gun.

Regarding the OC... it does expire, and you're about due to replace it. The charge that propels it can leak out of the container. Dispose of the container like you would any spray canister. (Or do what I do; use it for things like deterring critters around the home as long as it'll spray...)
 

Archangel M

Senior Master
Joined
Dec 5, 2007
Messages
4,555
Reaction score
154
I think that some of those expiration dates are moneymakers to some extent. I have some old cans about the house that still work fine. I'd fork the cash over for a fresh one if I was going to depend on it though. Better safe then sorry.
 

tellner

Senior Master
Joined
Nov 18, 2005
Messages
4,379
Reaction score
240
Location
Orygun
Both stun guns and pepper spray are the square root of worthless for defense against a serious attack by someone who is trying to commit a violent felony against you.
 
OP
Flea

Flea

Beating you all over those fries!
MT Mentor
Joined
Nov 22, 2008
Messages
2,005
Reaction score
97
Tellner, can you elaborate on that?

A few months ago, I tried to order a C2 but got nowhere because I didn't have a credit card at the time. It's also really expensive on my budget, and as a one-shot deal I can't practice with it. That makes me nervous.

Still combing the real-estate listings ...
 

MJS

Administrator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2003
Messages
30,187
Reaction score
430
Location
Cromwell,CT
I'm not going to speak for Tellner, but I think him and I may be thinking along the same lines here, so I'll toss in my thoughts. If we think about it, a tool, such as a taser, stun gun or pepper spray is only good if a) the person carrying it knows how to use it for maximum effectiveness, b) if it can be deployed quickly and c) if it was already in your hand prior to being used.

So, we look at the violent felony attack.....probably something thats going to happen pretty quick, with a relentless assault on the victim. Are they going to have a chance to reach into their purse, pocket, etc., pull it out, aim it, etc.? You're probably better off using empty hand skills over trying to draw a weapon.

Again, I may be wrong in my assumption of the meaning in his post, but thats the impression that I got from it.
 

Bill Mattocks

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Feb 8, 2009
Messages
15,673
Reaction score
4,538
Location
Michigan
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electroshock_weapon

Contact weapons' effectiveness as self-defense weapons

These devices are usually advertised as effective "personal defense" weapons. However, they may give the wielder a false sense of security and power. Contact-based electroshock weapons can need more "continuous and uninterrupted" contact time with the intended target than is usually advertised, well above 5 seconds, to fully stop a determined assailant, more time than is often available to stop a physically superior or better-trained opponent in close unarmed combat. In such an event, likely outcomes would be the assailant breaking the electroshock weapon, or taking it away and using it against the defender. For these reasons, many security operators and martial arts experts have expressed doubt about these devices' effectiveness against determined, physically strong aggressors in hand-to-hand combat situations, and about their value as a defense weapon in general.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electroshock_weapon#cite_note-19

http://www.ou.edu/oupd/zappers.htm
 

Carol

Crazy like a...
MT Mentor
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Joined
Jan 16, 2006
Messages
20,311
Reaction score
541
Location
NH
So, we look at the violent felony attack.....probably something thats going to happen pretty quick, with a relentless assault on the victim. Are they going to have a chance to reach into their purse, pocket, etc., pull it out, aim it, etc.? You're probably better off using empty hand skills over trying to draw a weapon.

Agreed. Also the effects of OC spray and stun guns can be overcome with sufficient adrenaline.

Opinions may vary on this but personally I am not fond of having defense tools on display. I think they are more effective when deployed as a surprise, and I think that the victims that have been unfortunate enough to have a weapon/tool used against them have been victims that had the tool on display, giving the BG a chance to focus on it and to plan on how they were going to capture it before the victim realized anything was wrong. The power of surprise is then given to the attacker - a power that could have been retained by the defender.
 

KenpoTex

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 24, 2004
Messages
3,001
Reaction score
144
Location
Springfield, Missouri
OC is for dealing with people who are being belligerent or non-compliant (as opposed to combative), or as a set-up for empty-hand techniques. It sucks to get sprayed but it won't stop anyone who is serious about attacking you.

Stun-guns are good for nothing...except zapping people just to watch them jump :D

Tasers are a control tool best employed by LE/security/etc. who also have the option to escalate to deadly force should the situation warrant such.

Bottom line...If empty-hand techniques are not enough, use a knife, impact weapon, or firearm. Also, forget the idea of using the tool as a "visual deterrent"...if you're not justified (and willing) to use it immediately, you shouldn't pull it out.
 

theletch1

Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Jan 21, 2003
Messages
8,073
Reaction score
170
Location
79 Wistful Vista
Here's a quick test for you. Toss either of those items in the bottom of your purse (which is where they will inevitably wind up) have a friend attempt to attack you and see how many times they can touch you before you can dig it out. If you're carrying the spray on a key chain see how many times they can touch you before you can get it operational. Remember that you're doing this in a safe environment and triple your time doing it with an adrenaline rush going on.
 
OP
Flea

Flea

Beating you all over those fries!
MT Mentor
Joined
Nov 22, 2008
Messages
2,005
Reaction score
97
You've all given me a lot to think about.

My main concern is that my neighborhood has a severe crack problem. That means lots of robberies, lots of prostitution, and lots of "creative" behavior. The cheap housing means that there's a few people with severe mental illness - I don't begrudge anyone poor health, but I also don't need to be attacked when some of them get belligerent. In short, it's an ugly place and I spend a fair amount of time feeling like a cowering rabbit. I'm not interested in kicking ***, I just want to live a normal life without ... feeling like a cowering rabbit. It's nice to be able to answer a fried chicken craving at the grocery store at 9pm. I'm not asking for much.

I'm nowhere near the point where I trust my MA skills to get me by. As the economy gets worse things here continue their downward spiral and I need something. None of the options I've found are perfect, but I feel that using something is better than nothing at all. At least until my MA gets passable, and probably past that point until they come out with a form of crack that endows people with reason and -human strength.

*edit* when I carry my pepper spray, it's always in my hand with a finger firmly on the button. No fishing around in pockets for Flea. And I practiced with it when I first bought it. You make a good point though.
 

jks9199

Administrator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2006
Messages
23,507
Reaction score
3,852
Location
Northern VA
I think that some of those expiration dates are moneymakers to some extent. I have some old cans about the house that still work fine. I'd fork the cash over for a fresh one if I was going to depend on it though. Better safe then sorry.
I agree! Though I have seen some canisters that did lose the propellant pressure. But we also test our work stuff more frequently (or at least were supposed to!) than a civilian will test their self defense pepper spray.

I bet most people don't even test it once...
 

jks9199

Administrator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2006
Messages
23,507
Reaction score
3,852
Location
Northern VA
You've all given me a lot to think about.

My main concern is that my neighborhood has a severe crack problem. That means lots of robberies, lots of prostitution, and lots of "creative" behavior. The cheap housing means that there's a few people with severe mental illness - I don't begrudge anyone poor health, but I also don't need to be attacked when some of them get belligerent. In short, it's an ugly place and I spend a fair amount of time feeling like a cowering rabbit. I'm not interested in kicking ***, I just want to live a normal life without ... feeling like a cowering rabbit. It's nice to be able to answer a fried chicken craving at the grocery store at 9pm. I'm not asking for much.

I'm nowhere near the point where I trust my MA skills to get me by. As the economy gets worse things here continue their downward spiral and I need something. None of the options I've found are perfect, but I feel that using something is better than nothing at all. At least until my MA gets passable, and probably past that point until they come out with a form of crack that endows people with reason and -human strength.

*edit* when I carry my pepper spray, it's always in my hand with a finger firmly on the button. No fishing around in pockets for Flea. And I practiced with it when I first bought it. You make a good point though.
It's very possible that your best choice, if you can do so, is to obtain a concealed weapon permit, and carry a gun.

As others have pointed out, most less than lethal self defense tools (tasers, batons, OC, etc), are only part of a realistic defensive scheme. For many people, the best choice to really be safe is to be able to carry a gun. Guns have a much better chance of actually stopping a highly aggressive, motivated attacker much more quickly. As Kenpotex said, pepper spray is NOT at all reliable except in narrow applications, and the Taser was really designed as a tool to obtain control of a combative subject -- not to stop them.
 

MJS

Administrator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2003
Messages
30,187
Reaction score
430
Location
Cromwell,CT
You've all given me a lot to think about.

My main concern is that my neighborhood has a severe crack problem. That means lots of robberies, lots of prostitution, and lots of "creative" behavior. The cheap housing means that there's a few people with severe mental illness - I don't begrudge anyone poor health, but I also don't need to be attacked when some of them get belligerent. In short, it's an ugly place and I spend a fair amount of time feeling like a cowering rabbit. I'm not interested in kicking ***, I just want to live a normal life without ... feeling like a cowering rabbit. It's nice to be able to answer a fried chicken craving at the grocery store at 9pm. I'm not asking for much.

I'm nowhere near the point where I trust my MA skills to get me by. As the economy gets worse things here continue their downward spiral and I need something. None of the options I've found are perfect, but I feel that using something is better than nothing at all. At least until my MA gets passable, and probably past that point until they come out with a form of crack that endows people with reason and -human strength.

*edit* when I carry my pepper spray, it's always in my hand with a finger firmly on the button. No fishing around in pockets for Flea. And I practiced with it when I first bought it. You make a good point though.

Yes, I know, it is a shame that people can't go out and have to be a prisoner in their own home because of the scum on the street. I think you're already off to a good start by having the spray in your hand. IMO, thats just like already having your car keys in your hand before you reach your car. Of course, be sure to carry so as to not give it away that you have something.

As far as a gun goes....once again, I'll preface this by saying I'm not anti gun. However, unless you live in an area where open carry is legal, you're not going to want to advertise that you have it, just like you dont want to advertise a taser, spray, etc. However, if its in a purse, under a jacket, etc., like it was already said, a good test would be to have a friend 'attack' you and see if you're capable of pulling the gun. Obviously a fake gun should be used for this training. If you can't pull it, aim it and shoot, while moving, under pressure, under attack, etc., then IMHO, its no better than any other tool that we could carry.
 

theletch1

Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Jan 21, 2003
Messages
8,073
Reaction score
170
Location
79 Wistful Vista
A gun is out of the question for her. She stated (though gave no detail) that she refused to carry one. I think that, while the OP was about the difference between pepper spray and tazers, she's looking for a good bridge weapon to pass her until she's confident in her martial arts training. My best advice would be to attend as many womens self defense seminars as she can in the mean time to give her some good, gross motor skill techniques but more importantly some good advice on the "How not to need these techniques in the first place info."
 

elder999

El Oso de Dios!
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2005
Messages
9,929
Reaction score
1,451
Location
Where the hills have eyes.,and it's HOT!
OC is for dealing with people who are being belligerent or non-compliant (as opposed to combative), or as a set-up for empty-hand techniques. It sucks to get sprayed but it won't stop anyone who is serious about attacking you.

Stun-guns are good for nothing...except zapping people just to watch them jump :D

Tasers are a control tool best employed by LE/security/etc. who also have the option to escalate to deadly force should the situation warrant such.

Bottom line...If empty-hand techniques are not enough, use a knife, impact weapon, or firearm. Also, forget the idea of using the tool as a "visual deterrent"...if you're not justified (and willing) to use it immediately, you shouldn't pull it out.

What he said.

I've seen really crazy guys put the stun guns on themselves and just smile.

Part of law enforcement training here is to be sprayed with pepper spray and defend yourself hand-to-hand against 2 or 3 aggressors.

A local restaraunt actually adds 15% capsaicin solution to their "nuclear grade HOT" chile. 15% is the same concentration found in most pepper sprays! (Horeman's Haven, Cerillos Rd., Santa Fe, New Mexico-it's so good it hurts! :lol: )

That said, since a gun is out of the question, I'd go with the bear repellant pepper spray that expands into a foam on contact. Not really made in a size that can be carried in a purse or on a keychain, though-not to mention it's probably illegal to use that way in a few places....(on the other hand, it's legal to buy it everywhere, and if it's legal to use pepper spray, you can just plead ignorance. Don't reply to this option, though, except to say that you won't do it, as these posts are a record....)
 
OP
Flea

Flea

Beating you all over those fries!
MT Mentor
Joined
Nov 22, 2008
Messages
2,005
Reaction score
97
Don't reply to this option, though, except to say that you won't do it, as these posts are a record....

Won't do it. :lol:

Of course ... isn't it also agin' the law to jump somebody and pound them senseless? Just asking, is all.
 

sgtmac_46

Senior Master
Joined
Dec 19, 2004
Messages
4,753
Reaction score
189
What he said.

I've seen really crazy guys put the stun guns on themselves and just smile.

Part of law enforcement training here is to be sprayed with pepper spray and defend yourself hand-to-hand against 2 or 3 aggressors.

A local restaraunt actually adds 15% capsaicin solution to their "nuclear grade HOT" chile. 15% is the same concentration found in most pepper sprays! (Horeman's Haven, Cerillos Rd., Santa Fe, New Mexico-it's so good it hurts! :lol: )

That said, since a gun is out of the question, I'd go with the bear repellant pepper spray that expands into a foam on contact. Not really made in a size that can be carried in a purse or on a keychain, though-not to mention it's probably illegal to use that way in a few places....(on the other hand, it's legal to buy it everywhere, and if it's legal to use pepper spray, you can just plead ignorance. Don't reply to this option, though, except to say that you won't do it, as these posts are a record....)

Percentage is not actually a measure of perceived temperature of the solution, but rather the percentage of concentration.......but here's the rub.......purity of batch effects heat, not the concentration of the mixture.......SHU is a more accurate, yet still not entirely accurate measure.

I've been sprayed with a variety of different OC Sprays, including some of the leading brands.......Federal Labs First Defense spray, which is a very popular law enforcement spray, is approximately 500,000 SHU........and is considered 'Food Grade'........it's also a VERY POOR manstopper.....I can not only fight through it all day long, I can spray it in my mouth.

On the other hand, Fox Labs 2% solution is rated at 5.3 Million SHU.......it's also what my department carries. It is fast acting, hard hitting and i've yet to have anyone who hasn't been extremely adversely affected.......that's not 100% incapacitation, but it is somewhere in the neighborhood of 90%.

One should always remember that OC Spray should be counted on as, first and foremost, a distraction tool......one should not anticipate incapacitation. If one gets incapacitation it should be looked at as a bonus.



Foam is not a good alternative either....nor is stream......the best bet is a cone spray for self-defense. The key with applying OC Spray is to saturate the eyes, nose and mouth thoroughly.
 

sgtmac_46

Senior Master
Joined
Dec 19, 2004
Messages
4,753
Reaction score
189
Won't do it. :lol:

Of course ... isn't it also agin' the law to jump somebody and pound them senseless? Just asking, is all.

When picking a spray, make sure it's potent AND has a reliable delivery mechanism, in cone spray, not stream or foam.

I recommend the following OC sprays in order.....

Fox Labs 5.3 http://www.foxlabs.com/home.shtml
Sabre Red http://www.sabrered.com/
Zarc http://www.zarc.com/

As to platforms, i'd recommend the Tigerlight T100

With Sabre Red cone spray insert. About $90.00, it's a stable, refillable platform that also provides a highly useful LED flashlight that's very portable and easy to use. http://www.tigerlight.net/Home_Page.html





The Taser C2 is a very serviceable, yet more expensive option. But for stopping power it's without compare. It also cycles for 30 seconds, allowing it to be dropped on the ground, while shocking the suspect, to cover your retreat. And if it's lost in this manner, Taser will replace it if you provide a valid police report.

As for training, any Law Enforcement Taser M26/X26 instructor can provide the class, so contact your local police department. Last time I checked Taser International actually provides a credit when you buy the C2 which pays the officer $100.00 for your training which means it shouldn't cost you any extra....check with them to see if that is still the case. http://www.taser.com/pages/default.aspx



And, finally, remember that tools like the Taser and OC Sprays should only be a part, not all, of your self-defense plans and contingency strategies. They are very useful, but be prepared with Plan B, Plan C, and Plan D should Plan A fail.......and the best self-defense strategy is situational awareness and avoiding confrontations before they occur.
 

tellner

Senior Master
Joined
Nov 18, 2005
Messages
4,379
Reaction score
240
Location
Orygun
Tellner, can you elaborate on that?

A few months ago, I tried to order a C2 but got nowhere because I didn't have a credit card at the time. It's also really expensive on my budget, and as a one-shot deal I can't practice with it. That makes me nervous.

Still combing the real-estate listings ...

KenpoTex answered the question nicely and accurately.

Neither stun guns nor OC will stop a motivated attacker.

OC is recommended for "non-compliant non-violent suspects" which means that Bubba doesn't want to get into the car but isn't about to pick up a cinder block and hit you with it by way of punctuation. So you get his attention by hosing him down. Works fine against prisoners through the bars of a cell. Works great against non-violent protestors who are already handcuffed. Doesn't work for squat against someone who is serious about hurting you. The professional literature and a whole bunch of controlled experiments (cf. Phil Messina), a number of dead cops, plenty of personal stories have settled the issue. More details if you really want them.

I also don't like relying on a weapon which is completely at the mercy of the weather, will probably affect me even if it's deployed properly, can't be used in enclosed spaces, makes my attacker stronger and which I know won't stop fat, asthmatic middle-aged me let alone a young, strong, angry guy.

Stun guns? I've been zapped several times in training and just out of curiosity. Some of them had been specially modified to give a stronger zap than is normally allowed. A hornet sting hurts more. Mr. Ayoob uses it as a signal to start firing in some of his advanced firearms classes. So far nobody's fallen to the ground and started twitching. He has gotten punched a few times when the amped-up student reflexively struck out at the source of the pain.

The fine print on the last two stun guns I owned suggested that you should hold the contacts against the eyes, throat or genitals for four to six seconds continuously. I maintain that if you can do that you are already in complete control of the situation.

Tasers? Yes, they work if you hit with both darts. But they work as a way of temporarily immobilizing. When the electricity stops so does the effect. That's great if you're about to land on him with handcuffs and a swarm of officers. Otherwise you're left with a guy who's still capable of hurting you. You've lost the element of surprise. And you've used up your one shot. Unless you're going to take those few seconds to start stomping the bad guy's head really hard you really haven't gained much. And if you're going to do that you might as well shoot him with a real gun as far as the laws concerning deadly force are concerned.

Besides, Tasers are very expensive. And each shot costs more than an entire box of pistol cartridges.
 

Latest Discussions

Top