What's a stun gun?
Stun guns or "stun guns" are non-lethal weapons and are one of the few weapons that are freely available for self-defence in Germany from the age of 18.
However, it should be noted that only devices that carry the seal of approval of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB seal of approval) are legal. If this label is not present on the device, the stun gun is considered an illegal weapon and possession can result in serious penalties.
Stun Gun Types
Stun guns are available in different types - for direct contact as well as for distance and in different sizes/lengths. At the moment, however, only the "handheld devices" are approved by the PTB, " pole devices" not yet. "Distance devices" have been banned for the civil market since April 2008.
1. Handheld devices
The most widespread stun gun variant in Germany is the so-called " hand device "; it is compact and handy and can also be worn hidden. However, the defensive radius is very small and you have to get very close to an attacker or let him get close to you. You can't hold it much longer than at arm's length.
2. Baton devices
Stun gun in the form of a more or less long baton; mostly robust models with significantly more power, which not only shock but can also be used to drive people/animals away. The devices are not as easy to transport as the "handheld devices" (usually they are carried directly in the hand or in a clearly visible holster), but their length also increases the defensive range, so that an attacker can usually be held at much more than just one arm's length, which is often an advantage.
3. Distance devices
Distance weapons, such as the well-known models of the company "Taser". These weapons fire projectiles equipped with hooks, which are connected to the weapon by a wire. The projectiles penetrate through the attacker's clothing, directly into the skin - therefore these devices also require a much lower voltage ("only" approx. 50,000 volts) than conventional hand or baton devices. The electrical impulse is transmitted from the weapon through the wires into the projectiles. Once the attacker is "on the hook", electric charges can always be transferred to the attacker through the weapon and the attacker can easily be kept under control.
In the USA and other countries, these devices are used throughout the country by police and security forces and therefore offer an effective alternative to conventional firearms. In Germany, they are forbidden for private individuals and may only be used by the police and special forces.
Difference between PTB & Export stun guns
Every stun gun that can be legally purchased in Germany needs a test seal of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB testing seal) to be approved for the market. Devices that do not carry this seal are considered illegal weapons and possession may result in severe penalties. The PTB seal of approval states that the stun gun is harmless to the health and cannot be used for the torture of persons.
A main feature is that these devices cannot be used continuously: they switch off automatically after a few seconds and take a forced pause of several seconds. The current is also throttled to avoid permanent damage.
Export devices without PTB test seal usually do not have these safety measures and may therefore not be sold, acquired or managed in Germany - possession is punishable by law. These devices are not throttled and can therefore cause serious or even fatal injuries through improper use or torture. Devices without the PTB seal of approval that were demonstrably purchased (invoice with date of purchase) before 1 January 2011 may still be owned and used for defence purposes, but may no longer be sold.
The effect of stun guns
Stun guns can be a very effective tool for repelling. Just the loud discharge noise and the resulting light arc can inspire respect in an attacker or attacking animal. If an assault nevertheless occurs, the culprit can at best be forced to flee by a blow of up to 500,000 volts (currently the maximum of PTB devices). Contact causes severe pain and muscle spasms, which are characterized by uncontrolled shaking and can cause an attacker to fall. How severe these symptoms are depends entirely on the strength of the respective electroshocker.
The strong cramping of the muscles and the temporary overloading of the nerve tracts cause short-term after-effects such as muscle and nerve pain (physical effect), confusion and shock states are also possible (psychological effect). However, these (at least with PTB devices) are only temporary and subside again without leaving any lasting damage behind.
The higher the voltage, the higher the effect?
Not necessarily. As mentioned before, Taser's distance devices, for example, have a much lower voltage and are still among the most effective devices on the market. This is due to two essential points:
1) The projectiles penetrate through the clothing directly into the skin.
A higher voltage is only needed to penetrate the protective layer of clothing - more/thicker clothing weakens the effect. 100,000 or 200,000 volts are already completely sufficient for normal clothing (e.g. shirt, T-shirt or jeans) and animals. Higher voltages are only required for thicker clothing (e.g. leather) - the effect on bare skin is always the same, regardless of the voltage of the electric shock.
2. The distance between the (outer) electrodes.
This is the area where the electricity flows. The Taser shoots two projectiles as already described. However, these are not fired parallel, but with a slight angle: the further the projectiles fly, the further is the distance to each other with a hit. Thus, at 6 meters one gets an effective range that corresponds approximately to the width of the upper body - far more than at a stun gun with a distance of approx. 5 cm between the electrodes.
A stun gun with a greater distance between the electrodes and a lower voltage can therefore be more effective than a stun gun with a higher voltage and a smaller distance between the electrodes.
On the market there are many different devices with different voltage specifications. Devices with 1,000,000 volts or more are nothing special nowadays. But it also always depends on the measuring method used to determine the voltage. A device advertised with a high voltage can quickly become an average model when measured with another method. In principle one should therefore focus on quality instead of quantity.
In addition to the voltage and the electrode distance, there is also the criterion of the current strength which, however, has been limited to a maximum of 500mA for the PTB devices admitted and therefore no comparison is required.
Use of stun guns
Because of the closeness to the attacker, it is essential for hand and staff devices to quickly and effectively head for vulnerable points on an opponent.
Shoulder: If the stun gun is attached to the shoulder, this leads to pain and paralysis in the respective arm and can possibly help in disarming.
Abdomen: A hit in the abdominal area also causes severe pain. The abdominal muscles cramp and the opponent is restricted in his movement. In rare cases, vomiting can also occur.
Hip/abdominal wall: If you are hit at the hip, the leg can be paralyzed and fall. An optimal possibility to escape.
Leg/abd: A hit on the abdomen leads in the best case to very strong pain which lets an attacker quickly go back to distance. If, on the other hand, one hits the legs, it can fall like a hip hit and create time for an escape.
For an optimal effect there should be as little clothing as possible between skin and shocker. Since this is rarely the case, however, we generally advise you to buy the strongest stun gun in order to be able to penetrate e.g. leather or winter clothing. Even if head and neck are usually uncovered, we advise against these body regions in principle: on the one hand it is difficult to hit a moving target there, on the other hand hits in these areas can cause serious injuries - even with PTB approved devices.
Dangers when using
Unfortunately, in films and television it is often suggested that the electric discharge of an electric shock leads to total body paralysis (or even fainting) over a longer period of time - but this is not the case: although painful muscle cramps occur, they only affect individual muscle groups and only last until the current flow is interrupted. People who are under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol usually have a reduced sensation of pain, which significantly reduces the effect and can make a situation much more dangerous due the distance to the attacker.
In the ideal case you bring down an aggressor by the shock and therefore buy yourself some time for further action (e.g. escape, care for people in need etc.). Stay away from the attacker, as he can recover quite quickly and attack again!
As already indicated, the thickness of the opponent's clothing is a decisive factor for the effectiveness of the electric shocker. The more fabric there is between skin and contacts, the less the attacker feels the electric shock. Devices with up to 300,000 volts are completely sufficient for pure animal defence. Stronger devices can cause considerable injuries to the animals.
We strongly recommend that you practice the use of your weapon in order to avoid unpleasant and dangerous situations.