5 Best Stun Guns [2020]: Top Shocking Picks + Video

Stun guns are one of the most popular forms of self-defense currently available…even more popular than firearms.  

This isn’t particularly surprising.  

All Tested Stun Guns
All Tested Stun Guns

Of course, I’m not telling you that a stun gun is a better option for self-defense than a firearm.  But they each do have advantages.

Firearms can be used at range, can completely incapacitate a threat, and offer protection against other weapons that a stun gun simply doesn’t.

Benelli M2, CZ75, AR-15 (4)
3-Gun: Benelli M2, CZ75, AR-15

Plus, we’re a gun website, and I wouldn’t be very good at my job if I told you not to buy a gun.

There are, however, situations in which a stun gun may be a good alternative.

So we bought and tested 5 of the most popular models. By the end you’ll know if stun guns are your jam…and the best ones out there.

Table of Contents

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Why Carry a Stun Gun?

For one, the cost is a limiting factor for many people in acquiring a firearm.

Cash Cannon
Cash Cannon

If you can’t afford a handgun at the moment, but still want to carry something to protect yourself, a stun gun is far better than nothing – and it can still get the job done.

Another great option would be pepper spray and depending on where you live, pepper spray might be legal where a stun gun isn’t – or the other way around.

See our pics for Best Pepper Spray for Self-Defense.

Sabre 3-in-1 Pepper Spray Size Comparison
Sabre 3-in-1 Pepper Spray Size Comparison

Stun guns are also legal in more places than firearms.  

If you live in or are visiting one of these places, a stun gun is, again, far better than nothing.  And if you have to wait to finish a course or have paperwork processed or for a waiting period to finish or any other delay that your state or local firearm law requires, you may want to carry a stun gun in the meantime.

Finally, stun guns generally aren’t lethal.  

If you know that you would personally have a hard time delivering a fatal blow to an attacker, a stun gun is better than a gun you won’t be able to bring yourself to use.

Best Beginner Handguns
Best Beginner Handguns

See some of our top 9mm handgun picks in Best Beginner Handgun.

The lack of fatality can also be an advantage in that killing someone, even in self-defense, generally causes a lot of legal difficulties.  

Not being fatal also means that a stun gun doesn’t offer the same level of incapacitation as a firearm…so you’ll need to weigh these implications against each other when deciding whether a stun gun or firearm is better for you.

Now that we’ve talked about why you may want a stun gun, let’s clear up a common misunderstanding about stun guns.

What’s the Difference between a Taser and a Stun Gun?

Though the terms are often used interchangeably, a taser and a stun gun are two different devices.

Taser Pulse Lever & Power Indicator
Taser Pulse Lever & Power Indicator

A taser works by shooting metal prongs that embed in the assailant’s skin up to several yards away and deliver a shock.

A stun gun is a smaller device that delivers the shock through direct contact with the assailant via electrodes on the device.

Sabre Dual Stun Gun, Buttons
Sabre Dual Stun Gun, Buttons

Obviously, distance is a huge advantage for tasers, but it comes with a lot of disadvantages.

For one, tasers are illegal under many state and local laws, and even where they are legal, acquiring one has the added difficulty of a background check.  

On top of that, tasers can be pricey to purchase (~$400) and maintain, and some models have a tendency to be bulky and difficult to conceal.

Drawing Taser Pulse
Drawing Taser Pulse

By the time you go through all that, you might be better off just getting an inexpensive handgun.

Most Electrifying Non-Lethal EDC
399
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Plus…you’ll need some decent aim since a Taser shoots out two prongs…both of which need to hit your target.

A stun gun, on the other hand, is much more affordable, is less legally regulated, and is more compact and easier to conceal, all while delivering the same strength of shock as a taser.

If a TASER piques your interest…we review one of the top ones out right now…the TASER Pulse.

Taser Pulse Dual Wield
Taser Pulse Dual Wield

What to Look for When Choosing a Stun Gun

When choosing a stun gun, you’ll want to pay particular attention to a few different traits. These are important in more ways than one!

Voltage

The higher the voltage, the stronger the shock.  You want a stun gun that shoots at least one million volts.  Stun guns that shoot less are generally sacrificing quality for the price.

Power Source

Stun guns use either rechargeable lithium-ion batteries or replaceable batteries. Replaceable batteries mean you never have to wait for the stun gun to charge, but built-in rechargeable batteries typically have a greater battery life and are capable of delivering a greater shock.

Safety Mechanism

The whole point of a stun gun is to deliver a powerful shock, but what prevents an accidental zap?  Some stun guns also have features that render it unusable if it’s taken from you.

Ease of Use

Make sure you’ll actually be able to quickly fire off the stun gun when you need to. If you need to push a lever, slide a switch, and then press a button – will you actually be able to do that under duress?

There is safe and then there is too safe.

Ease of Carrying and Concealment

If the stun gun isn’t easy and comfortable to carry, you’ll probably just leave it at home.  A compact model will be easier to carry and conceal, but there are also covert options that look like everyday objects like a cell phone or lipstick.  

These options have the added advantage of surprising an attacker – especially if you’re a man pulling out what appears to be lipstick.

Robin Williams was a national treasure!

Now that you know what to look for, let’s move on to our recommendations.

Best Stun Guns

All Tested Stun Guns
All Tested Stun Guns

1. Vipertek VTS-989

The Vipertek VTS-989 is one of the most widely recommended stun guns on the market.

It’s incredibly powerful with a voltage of 300 million, making it the strongest stun gun on this list.

The electrodes are sharp spikes designed to penetrate through thick clothing.

It has a safety switch that must be flipped before the stun gun can be used.

Check it out in action (heads up…loud cackling sounds):

It also has two metal strips that go down the sides of the top of the device from the electrodes, preventing the device from being taken away from you.

Just make sure your fingers are clear from it…

Plus, since this model uses a rechargeable battery, it needs to be charged for an hour or two each month, even if it hasn’t been used.

Vipertek VTS-989 with Case
Vipertek VTS-989 with Case

At 6.5” x 2” x 1”, the Vipertek VPS-989 is pretty compact and should be easy enough to carry and conceal.

Vipertek VTS-989, Size
Vipertek VTS-989, Size

And it has a built-in LED flashlight that’s decent!

If you don’t already EDC (every day carry) a flashlight, this is a very handy feature.

Vipertek VTS-989 Light
Vipertek VTS-989 Light

Check it out in a dark hallway…

In our update after trying some other stun guns…the VTS-989 is still our favorite overall.

For the power, price, re-chargeability, and flashlight…we give it our top spot.

24
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

What’s your take on the VTS-989?

Readers' Ratings

4.93/5 (331)

Your Rating?

2. Vipertek VTS-880

If you’d like something a bit smaller, the Vipertek VTS-880 may be right for you.

Vipertek VTS-880, Pouch
Vipertek VTS-880, Pouch

It’s only about the size of a deck of cards, but still packs a hell of a punch, firing 35 million volts.

Vipertek VTS-880, Size
Vipertek VTS-880, Size

It has the same safety mechanism as the VTS-989, but without the grab protection feature, and also features an LED flashlight.

Another cool feature is that you don’t need to charge it with a cable…it has prongs on the side.

Unlike the VTS-989, the Vipertek VTS-880 is available in pink, purple, and black.

Our pick if you want something smaller with a built in charger.

10
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

3. Sabre S-1005 Dual Stun Gun

The Sabre S-1005 stun gun is like the VTS-880 above.

Sabre Dual Stun Gun, Size
Sabre Dual Stun Gun, Size

It’s about the same length but with much more ergonomic of a grip and a larger flashlight.

Sabre Dual Stun Gun, Buttons
Sabre Dual Stun Gun, Buttons

Same basic operation with a safety and light-only mode.

I would opt for the Sabre S-1005 over the smaller Vipertek unless you think you’re going to misplace the charging cord.

Plus it also comes in three colors: black, pink, and baby blue.

17
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

4. Vipertek VTS-T03

Looking for something more nondescript…and probably more useful on a day to day?

Check out the Vipertek VTS-T03 flashlight stun gun.

Vipertek VTS-T03, Pouch
Vipertek VTS-T03, Pouch

Housed in a nice aluminum body…it’s a decent flashlight for night walks and won’t scream “I HAVE A STUN GUN.”

Vipertek VTS-T03, Size
Vipertek VTS-T03, Size

Just practice moving it from flashlight safe mode to stun mode.

And of course…there’s a variety of colors to choose from!

Our choice if you’d like a more functional flashlight and something less threatening to hold while out on a stroll.

18
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

5. Police 305 Stun Gun

Sometimes we save the best for last…but in this case the Police 305 was terrible.

Police 305, Size
Police 305, Size

The whole thing felt like cheap plastic and the on/off button was on the bottom of the unit.

Police 305, On Off
Police 305, On Off

The only sort of thoughtful thing was a protective shroud to go over the prongs. But if you think about it…it adds another thing to think of in the heat of the moment.

Police 305, Protective Cap
Police 305, Protective Cap

No thanks.

How to Use a Stun Gun

Now that you have a good sense of which stun gun to get…let’s quickly go over how to use a stun gun!

Step 1.

Turn off the safety as soon as you feel threatened so you’ll be ready for an attack.

Step 2.

To use the stun gun, press the trigger and hold the probes firmly against the attacker, ideally aiming for the torso, particularly the neck, shoulder, underarm, groin, and abdomen between the hip and ribs.  If you can’t hit the torso, hit any part of the attacker that you can reach.

Be Careful

You obviously want to avoid hitting yourself, but you won’t be hurt if the attacker is touching you when you hit them with the stun gun, so take any opportunity you have.

You’ll generally need to hold the stun gun against your attacker for three to five seconds.  A large or particularly determined attacker may need a few additional seconds.

Practice using your stun gun regularly to create muscle memory and ensure you won’t be fumbling when you need to use it.

Conclusion

Stun guns are less regulated than firearms, but they aren’t legal in all places.  Be sure to check your local laws before buying one to make sure you won’t be in legal trouble if you ever have to use your stun gun.

If stun guns are allowed in your area, any of these would be a great choice for you.  

My personal favorites are the Vipertek-989 for carrying and the smaller Vipertek VTS-880 if you think you’ll forget a charger.

24
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Or the Sabre S-1005 for something more svelte.

17
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Lastly…the Vipertek VTS-T03 for a flashlight feel.

18
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

You should choose the one (or ones) that best fits your lifestyle. If you’re looking for a real firearm though, you won’t go wrong choosing from one of our Best Concealed Carry Handguns.

Now let’s hear from you guys!  Do you ever carry a stun gun? Which one?  Why a stun gun instead of a firearm or pepper spray?  

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14 Leave a Reply

  • Kevin Stott

    The only true measure of the stopping power of a stun gun is microcoulombs (μC). A microcoulomb is a measure of electrical quantity; the millionth part of one coulomb. The higher the μC value, the more it hurts

    2 months ago
  • Patrick

    Your "Best Beginner Handguns" link is broken. It should point to https://www.pewpewtactical.com/best-handgun-beginners-home-defense/

    3 months ago
    • David, PPT Editor

      Thanks! I'll fix that now.

      3 months ago
  • Max Wilkerson

    Greetings, Most of the time the Advertisers Utilize Gigantic Voltage Claims to promote their products. They want you to consider all these massive voltage claims as making their Stun Guns The Best. It would take much more space to present the statistics pertaining to differences in voltage/amperage in batteries, For example 9 volt rechargeable batteries don't produce 9 volts. Some batteries have built-in regulators to the point that they won't even work/function in a stun gun. They are now at claiming some Stun Guns to be producing voltage in the Billions, doesn't that seem very impressive??? The Voltage is a carrier of sorts but not the entity that disrupts the body functions of your Attacker!!! The amperage conducted into the Attacker is your defensive power. It can Kill a human being if too high. So it is regulated by law in this Country to a safe balance between disabling & killing. Of Course it can affect/effect different people in extremely different ways depending on a huge list of factors. Drugs, Clothing, Size, Physical Makeup, Age, Etc., Etc., Etc. The main point I want to Impact, Present, Pound into your Mnd is the requirements of success in saving your own Life are much more than placing your Stun Gun against your attacker while pushing the trigger & Magically Saving Yourself. Some of the Movie Presentations are more than ridiculous. As just presented, it may take "5 Seconds To Longer" to accomplish your Survival/Escape. Stop for a minute, find a clock/watch second hand somewhere and examine what a five second time span really is. "one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three, one thousand four, one thousand five" Are you getting the picture? It will feel like a lifetime. It Will Determine Your Lifetime. This conflict will require you to focus "Your Everything You Have" into holding your stun gun in "Continuous Contact" in a generally defined area on Your Assailant . Remember their body is not going to be stationary while you attempt to accomplish this mandatory requirement. You are probably going to have to lock onto them, possibly even going to the ground with them. If you are successful in this very serious challenge, you will have plenty of time to escape this horrible, terrifying Assault on Your Person. If this sounds frightening to you, then think of the other outcomes that are very possible. Don't just buy a Stun Gun, Demand, Search, Question, until you feel qualified to use it. "YES, Stun Guns Can Save Your Life But Not By Themselves, So To Say/So To Speak" They are just a Tool, a Defencive Weapon. Their success is directly Dependent On YOU. YOU NEED TO WIN, YOUR LIFE COULD DEPEND ON IT!!! YOUR FAMILY NEEDS YOU, THEY NEED YOU TO SURVIVE & COME HOME!!! If you are still reading, I Pray this will be of assistance because there is so much more. Blessings Of Health & Happiness Be Upon All Your Families, Be Safe, Be Well

    5 months ago
    • Kevin Stott

      The only true measure of the stopping power of a stun gun is microcoulombs (μC). A microcoulomb is a measure of electrical quantity; the millionth part of one coulomb. The higher the μC value, the more it hurts

      2 months ago
    • Russell Patrick Lukenbill

      Thank You

      3 months ago
    • Jason A STANCIL

      Excellent advice

      4 months ago
  • Robert Jones Sr

    3. Sabre S-1005 Dual Stun Gun - price @ $60, not $17 when I looked and no mention in your article or on the Amazon page about how many volts.

    5 months ago
  • Albert

    Stun Gun....'poor mans' karate....if you wanna do 'hand to hand combat'....

    5 months ago
    • David Davis

      Most older people do not have the option to take up karate or work on there ground and pound. That's why they made Smith and Wesson. However, maybe there are these people that do not feel comfortable carrying a gun and there more concerned with living with themselves after killing someone. Whatever narrative or doctrine you represent in regards to your self protection, its yours. The stun gun can be a great option and it has it place. Just saying.

      4 months ago
  • Richard

    So I have had a stun gun for the house as part of self defense and home defense options should access to lock box pistol be too time consuming. I find that the light is great, but design flaw has it go off when switched to zap; that light as a blinding tool should remain on right up to body contact. As a tool in the toolbox its great because sometimes one has to create space and time to "earn your draw," just as good hand to hand and knife courses teach you.

    5 months ago
  • Paul Wells

    have you ever tested a stun gun for 1 million + volts? maximum voltage that can pass between the electrodes is around 30,000 MAX....

    1 year ago
  • Chupacabra

    Be cautious with this kind of weapons. It is a tool and it is not always efficient. Like a pepper spray, it could be a good alternative to lethal force under certain circumstances, and that’s about it. If you have to carry ONE weapon pick a firearm. I carry a taser on duty, and I don’t feel the need to carry any kind of electrical weapon off duty. Firearm, spare mag, knife, and flashlight only. On duty I also like to think my taser does not exist, too many cops become taser dependent and when it is ineffective they don’t know what to do. Again it can be a great tool and deterrent, it is up to you to make the decision, just don’t think it is the best thing ever.

    2 years ago
    • John Smith

      You have to keep in mind that stun guns are WORTHLESS. There is a reason they don't issue these to cops. They flat out don't work (other than pissing people off). A taser actually works the better part of 95 percent of the time. (and that 5 per cent of the time is either those situations where non-lethal force is not appropriate to the situation or else those situations in which you're dealing with someone that has unusual physical attributes / training which tend to make electroshock weapons ineffective.

      1 year ago
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