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How deadly are tasers?
Tasers are quickly becoming the preferred self defense weapon for people all over the world, selling out quicker than ever before. The reasons for why people prefer them include:
- They are easier to use and the learning curve on them is relatively low
- They are small and easy to carry with you wherever you go
- They are a brand known for quality and usage in the field
However, the main reason so many people want tasers is because of their stopping power. A taser can deliver up to 50,000 volts with a single use.
This does not mean that 50,000 volts will enter the body of your target, though.
That 50,000 volts gets pushed through the air and loses some of its power as it pushes through the air towards your target. It also loses some of its power if the barbs of the taser have to penetrate any kind of clothing.
However, Tasers can still pack a serious punch.
Tasers are powerful enough that they can stop a person in their tracks. Depending on the circumstances and the physiology of the person involved, a taser can cause pain, muscle aches, nausea, anxiety, cuts, bruises, cardiac arrest, and sometimes even death.
How much does getting tased hurt?
The amount of pain associated with being tased depends on the voltage of the taser and where the target is being tased.
Lower voltage amps may only feel like a jarring shock to the body. Additionally, if the target is being tased through layers of thick clothing, they may not feel it as much as they would if they were tased on just bare skin.
However, higher voltage Tasers can be horribly painful. Imagine the most excruciating muscle spasm you’ve ever had. Now imagine that pain times 10 all over your body.
Several victims of Tasers have described the feeling as “a full body charley horse”.
That pain intensifies depending on where you are tased. Sensitive spots, such as the head or eyes, will result in even more pain than in less sensitive spots such as the leg or arm.
What are the side effects of being tased?
The side effects of being tased vary from person to person. However, common side effects can include:
- Mental sickness: Feelings such as anxiety, depression, nausea, and panic are common side effects of being tased and can often linger. There are recorded instances of these feelings lasting from a couple of hours to becoming a lifelong state.
- Cuts: Although physical wounds are not usually associated with being tased, they are increasingly common. Because the barbs are designed to attach to clothes and skin to not fall out, often they will need to be surgically removed at a hospital.
- Scrapes and bruises: Injuries like scrapes and bruises are becoming increasingly common. Many times, the target will fall over or drop to the ground, which can result in scrapes, bruising, broken bones, or sometimes even blunt force trauma. This can be potentially fatal if a person lands on their head or face.
- Neurological damage: Although Tasers are only meant to be used for short periods of time, they can potentially be used for however long the user chooses to hold down the power button. Prolonged exposure to extreme electrical currents like the ones put out by a Taser can lead to permanent neurological damage.
- Cardiac Arrhythmia: Powerful Tasers can potentially cause even previously healthy people to have Cardiac Arrhythmia, a condition in which the heartbeat is too fast, too slow, or irregular. Cardiac Arrhythmia can possibly lead to a stroke, heart failure, or cardiac arrest.
- Cardiac Arrest: Cardiac arrest can also be a side effect of being tased. Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart is not able to effectively pump blood anymore and can be potentially fatal if not treated immediately.
- Seizures: There have been records of people experiencing seizures after being tased in a particularly sensitive spot, such as the head.
- Death: Death can occur from blunt force trauma from falling to the ground, from cardiac arrest, or from seizures. Although death is relatively uncommon and only occur in subjects with preexisting conditions, there are still records of it happening.
Are tasers safe to use?
Despite all of the above possible side effects, Tasers are still a safe and viable alternative to other self defense weapons, such as guns.
Many Tasers come with lock safety systems in place so that they can’t be accidentally activated. As such, the risk to the user is negligible. Furthermore, Tasers can be shot at an assailant from a distance, making it safer to use for self defense than a close range weapon, such as a knife.
Even though Tasers can have severe, permanent damage on people with preexisting conditions, it is still a good nonlethal weapon to have. In order to minimize the potential side effects on your target, be sure to:
- Only use it for as long as you need to. If your assailant is incapacitated after a single shot, then that is all you need. Don’t overdo it.
- Only use it until you can get away. If pulling out your Taser is enough to scare off a potential assailant and give you the opportunity to escape, that is all you need. Don’t get overzealous about it.
- Aim for large mass. Hitting your target in the chest or leg will be enough to incapacitate him. Hitting your target directly in the face could be result in seizure, cardiac arrest, or even death.
Try to stay away from a situation where you would need the Taser. Stay away from deserted alleyways and try to limit your activities to more populated areas.
Going out during the day instead of at night can also reduce the chances of you encountering an attacker. Try to have all of your daily activities finished by sundown.
Most importantly, always maintain situational awareness. By doing so, you may be able to circumvent an attack before it even happens.
Even though Tasers are relatively safe, they could still have potentially deadly side effects. Stop the problem before it starts by staying away from sticky situations.
Let’s wrap this up with a quick video of people getting tased:
Frequently Asked Questions:
How prevalent is taser use by law enforcement?
Law enforcement agencies are increasing their use of non-lethal weapons to avoid shootings. In fact, in 2013, over 80% of law enforcement agencies have policies regarding “conducted energy” weapons, including tasers. The use of tasers is increasing each year, by leaps and bounds. In 2000, the percent of agencies authorizing the use of tasers was less than 10%.
In fact, new technology is being implemented in law enforcement agencies across the nation. In areas with a population of over 25,000, these agencies provide crime statistics for the area to residents electronically. This has spawned growing numbers of those using non-lethal weapons for self-defense, such as tasers.
How can I receive training in the use of tasers?
If the law enforcement agency in your city have policies in effect regarding tasers, many of them provide a class in the use of tasers. If they don’t, you may still be able to speak to an officer about how best to use yours, or common mistakes to avoid.
There are also classes offered at some locations, such as the YMCA, and even online. It may be worth your time to invest in taser training so you are better able to utilize the non-lethal weapon if needed.
Can my taser fail to stop an attack?
One of the biggest reasons why a taser will fail to bring your attacker down so you are able to get away, is thick clothing. Many tasers made for personal self-defense will have metal barbs at the end to help penetrate thick clothing. Despite this, a taser is one of the most effective self-defense weapons for every day carry.
There are several areas of the body that you want to target when using a taser, to increase its effectiveness. The abdomen, between the upper chest and the waistline, is built with a lot of muscle. The electric signals from the taser, when hit in this area, can effectively drop an attacker. So will hitting them in the back.
I’ve heard about “smart” tasers. What are these?
Smart tasers are still very new to this market. However, it shows us what is possible in the very near future when it comes to non-lethal weapons. Smart tasers are like mini-computers, much like your digital pedometer that connects with your phone. One type of technology emerging is the ability to adjust the strength of the output charge.
One of the best reasons to keep an eye on this new technology is the analytics that are available. Just like that pedometer, or even a smart watch, which keeps track of steps, miles, heart rate and more, a smart taser keeps records of its use. This may seem a bit too much for just a self-defense tool, but as the technology continues to improve, we will see many new features for those looking for a personal, non-lethal, self-defense weapon.