This article discusses the key parameters, that are important for consideration before the purchase of a self-defense weapon: classification, main technical characteristics, operation principle. We also talk about operational efficiency and precautions when handling the weapon.
We also pay attention to the technical parameters of counterfeit stun guns made in China: instead of the claimed class 1, they belong to class 5 power.
CHOOSING THE BEST STUN GUN
- STUN GUNS
- RUSSIAN PRODUCTION
- TECHNICAL FEATURES
- IMPACT TECHNOLOGIES
- OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCY
- HANDLING PRECAUTIONS
Stun gun (taser, electroshock weapon) is a contact or remote-contact non-lethal weapon that influences biological objects with the impulses of high-voltage electric current. Stun guns are made for self-defense by citizens, for official use by police officers or employees of special agencies.
As described in detail in Part 1 of article series "CHOOSING SELF-DEFENSE WEAPON WITHOUT A LICENSE: SHOOTING AND CONTACT STUN GUNS", only a stun gun made in Russia can be purchased and used legally. Stun guns must be certified, its technical parameters must comply with GOST R 50940-96, "Electroshock devices. General technical conditions", and the seller must have a license to sell or manufacture weapons.
Civilian and police stun guns have different classifications. In this publication, we study only the civilian classification according to Russian law.
Contact and shooting civilian stun guns are divided into Types, Groups, and on the basis of those two parameters classified into Classes.
Types: according to the power measurements, made on a special high-voltage divider at a load of 1 kOhm. The power of a single pulse and the total power for 1 second is calculated.
- Types of stun guns:
- -3 Type: 0.3-1.0 W/sec
- -2 Type: 1.0-2.0 W/sec
- -1 Type: 2.0-3.0 W/s
Groups: by voltage. Voltage measurements are also made on a high-voltage divider.
- Groups of stun guns:
- -5 Group: up to 12 kV
- -4 Group: 12-20 kV
- -3 Group: 20-45 kV
- -2 Group: 45-70 kV
- -1 Group: 70-90 kV
It should be noted that the discharge voltage is one of the key indicators of the stun gun efficiency. Voltage shows, how deep into the tissue the discharge can pass, how big the impact on the tissue and the nervous system will be.
Voltage of Chinese models qualifies as group 5: not more than 5 kV.
Type+Group=Class. Classes of stun guns are formed by the combination of Type and Group numbers.
- Class number corresponds to the combination of Type and Group numbers.
- - Class 1: Type 1; Group 1
- - Class 2: (Type; Group) = (1;2) or (2;1)
- - Class 3: (Type; Group) = (1;3) or (2;3) or (3;1) or (3;2) or (3;3)
- - Class 4: (Type; Group) = (1;4) or (2;4) or (3;4)
- - Class 5: (Type; Group) = (1;5) or (2;5) or (3;5)
How can s stun gun made in China be efficient, if it corresponds only to class 5 in this system?
Stun gun manufacturers use the following technologies to increase the voltage and to obtain high-voltage pulses:
Transformer systems. Transformer systems are used in OBERON-ALPHA products. Transformer systems of are considered the best for stun guns and allow generating powerful and efficient pulses at various loads. The cost of such systems is higher compared to other systems.
Transformer and capacitor systems. The sound of the discharge is much louder than the sound of the stun guns with transformer systems. Devices with such systems are larger. No sufficient benefits of this system have been found.
Capacitor systems. Used in stun guns made in China, as well as some models of Russian manufacturers, it uses an additional spark gap in the combat electrodes system. It is the simplest and most inefficient high-voltage system.
Preionization technology. This is one of the capacitor model types, but it has a weak high-voltage transformer. It`s characteristics are low voltage, good visual effect, high efficiency.
STUN GUN TYPES
Stun guns can be classified based on various characteristics.
Use: contact, single-shot, multi-shot
Contact stun guns - stun gun for contact influence on a target with a high voltage. Bring the stun gun`s combat electrodes as close to the object as possible and turn on the discharge.
Single-shot stun guns - remote-contact stun guns that can be used contact or with an installed functional cartridge (flashbang or remote) for remote impact on a live target. When the cartridge is installed, the stun gun cannot be applied contact, because the cartridge is initiated with the combat electrodes.
Multi-shot stun guns - weapons for multiple shots that don`t need reloading the weapon. Multi-shot stun guns include stun gun HYBRID (two-shot stun gun with a replaceable magazine for 2 shots), Taser X3 (multi-shot device stun guns with separately replaceable cartridges).
One of the major problems that needs to be solved in a multi-shot stun gun is ensuring the safety of contact or blank discharge when the cartridges are installed. Overvoltage pulses should not lead to unintentional initiation of electroshock cartridges.
Photo: contact stun gun AVATAR K. 111, remote-contact single-shot stun gun PHANTOM DK. 111, multi-shot stun gun HYBRID.
By purpose: civilian and service stun guns
Civilian stun guns are used for self-defense against offenders and animal attacks.
Service stun guns are used by the police, as well as by various services with special statutory tasks, such as the SOBR, OMON, FSB, FSO, FSIN, military police, etc.
By technology: classic and smart weapons
Classic stun guns work according to the usual button-discharge technology.
Smart weapons can have an identification system for accessing electroshock functions, can keep a log of applications, save this data to a remote server, and notify the owner to take a particular action, such as charging the battery.
By shape: classic, pistol, baton
The classic shape implies the rectangle shape, there are options with improved ergonomics: a curved shape. For example, stun gun Phantom, Avatar and Convoy, produced by OBERON-ALPHA.
Pistol remote stun guns are made in pistol shape with the similar placement of the fuse and trigger button. An example is Taser X3.
The pistol shape for civilian stun guns is not optimal, because aiming the device, especially at night and in low light, can provoke an undesirable response from the attacker (reaction to firearms). Police is also more suspicious of self-defense means in the pistol form. During inspections, the pistol-shaped weapons will also cause an undesirable reaction from the inspection service.
Batons have cylindrical shape and can be made for both remote and contact use. A good example is the stun gun ZEUS.
Photo: compact stun gun AVATAR K. 111, remote stun gun Taser X3, baton stun gun ZEUS II (model S).
Power is evaluated during certification tests. However, this power does not determine the effectiveness in real conditions: in reality the target doesn`t have the resistance of 1kω, and the impact may differ significantly from the test result. Impact depends on the emotional state of the attacker, use of drugs or alcohol, as well as the application (through clothes or in direct contact between combat electrodes and the skin). During laboratory tests, the pulse frequency, as well as the efficiency of the pulse shape, is not taken into account.
Input power. Input power of a stun gun shows how much power the circuit takes from the battery. High input power allows to create highly effective electric pulses.
To date, stun guns of class 1, made by OBERON-ALPHA, have the best input power: at least 50W.
Impact power. Impact power does not depend directly on the power, stated for certification, it represents the actual power that is transmitted to the object. Stun guns with transformer systems are most effective for biological targets in any physical and psychological states.
Impulse power. Depending on the frequency, the power of a single pulse varies. The higher the frequency, the lower the pulse power. Frequencies of the US models are about 20 Hz. Russian manufacturers use higher frequencies up to 250 Hz.
Certification method includes measuring generated voltage, but during application on an object the important parameters are the pulse form, its peak voltage on the load, and the pulse duration.
Voltage of a blank discharge. Voltage of a blank discharge is measured during certification on a high-voltage divider. The existing method is not ideal and correlates with the frequency of pulses and their power.
Load voltage. Voltage of the discharge on a load, for example on a 1kom certification load, can be from 1 kV to 6 kV. However, this voltage is not directly related to efficiency. So, some capacitor-transformer stun guns can produce 6 kV in amplitude, when and at the same time they are ineffective in real tests.
In some publications, it is suggested that low-frequency stun guns are more effective, comparing their impact with a single, but very strong punch of a boxer, resulting in a knockout.
However, the combination pulse shape and the method of its generation can create a higher impact efficiency at high frequencies. A high pulse frequency slows down the target's activity faster, almost instantly putting it into a state of shock. While a low frequency cannot do this and is efficient only on shooting models that are not recommended for contact use – for example, stun guns produced by Axon (Taser).
Current loop, when applied to a real target, determines the distance between the combat electrodes. Electric current goes from one combat electrode of the stun gun to the second; the bigger the distance between the combat electrodes, the bigger the current loop will be when the discharge passes through the attacker's body.
However, the distance between the contact electrodes is limited to 40 mm by law. In an efficient stun gun the distance should be 40mm.
The probes of a remote stun gun can spread to 300mm apart, which significantly increases the current loop and the impact efficiency increases dramatically.
DISTANCE BETWEEN CONTROL ELECTRODES
Distance between the cutting (control) electrodes determines the thickness of the winter clothing that the discharge can penetrate. The distance between the cutting (control) electrodes is determined by the length of the blank discharge spark. Stun guns with less than 20mm distance between control electrodes can`t be used through winter clothing.
Stun guns with high power input can operate only on rechargeable lithium batteries.
Lithium battery. The most modern type of battery allows to get high input. Lithium batteries allow to maintain the stun gun in constant combat readiness. These batteries have a small self-discharge rate, light weight, work well at sub-zero temperatures, charge quickly (the charge of a fully discharged battery lasts no more than 40 minutes), have a protection system against short-circuit, overcharging and over-discharging, charging device has a system for automatic disconnection after the battery is fully charged.
Nickel-metal hydride batteries. An outdated type of battery that is not intended for use in high-power stun guns.
Nickel-cadmium. At the moment, they are only used in Chinese stun guns, because it allows to use cheap charging devices for low-current charging without special control over the charging process and without a system for automatically disconnecting the charge at its completion.
TAKE MEASUREMENTS YOURSELF
There are no reliable tools for measuring stun gun`s efficiency at home.
Evaluation experiments such as setting paper on fire, lighting a 25W/220V or 60W/220V light bulb, using the stun gun through leather, etc. are more of a demonstration of capabilities than a measure of actual efficiency.
Real efficiency of the best class 1 stun guns, which are recommended for self-defense, is proved only in tests on real volunteers. Stun guns manufactured by OBERON-ALPHA with neuromuscular incapacitation technology show the highest results in such tests.
Stun guns impact the target with pulses of electric current. Certified manufacturers of treat their products with responsibility, are responsible for their products, conduct research on the efficiency of various pulse types and use the technology that is most reasonable from their point of view. Let's consider the main technologies of high-voltage pulses.
Stun gun technology means using high pulse frequency with a relatively low pulse power. High frequency of short pulses disrupts the synaptic activity of the body's nervous system: it suppresses the connection between nerve cells and the work of the nervous system as a whole. Overloading the connections between the nerve cells of the attacker leads to inhibition of his reaction and inability to respond quickly and adequately to the situation.
Stun gun causes severe cramps and pain spasms from the first moment of exposure. After the discharge is turned off, the aggressor is still in a state of shock for some time. However, if the offender has a low pain threshold or is in an unstable emotional state, a state of alcohol or drug intoxication, he is able to resist the use of such weapons against him.
EMD (Electro-Muscular Disruption) EFFECT
EMD is produced by weapons with high pulse power and low frequency, causing electro-muscular disruption. It is characterized by damage to the nerve endings and muscle tissues in the affected area. The effect is almost unaffected by the emotional state of the aggressor, alcohol and drugs in his blood. High-power of pulses penetrates into the deeper layers of body tissues and is characterized by significant effect on the muscles after application (numbness, inability to actively move).
Floating pulse - a significantly variable pulse duration, that depends on the conditions at which the stun gun is applied. When used on a person under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or on persons with innate low resistance, the resistance of the skin and subcutaneous tissues is very low. High-voltage system of the stun gun is extremely sensitive to the load connected to it, and in this case the pulse duration increases. This means that the object will be affected with high-power for a longer time, and the stun gun efficiency will significantly increase.
This technology was used in stun guns, made by OBERON-ALPHA in 1996-2015.
Neuromuscular incapacitation - modern electroshock technology in contact and remote stun guns produced by OBERON-ALPHA. Stun gun discharge affects the object with high-voltage electrical impulses that cause neuromuscular incapacitation (NMI). Transformer system is made on precision materials and forms an effective contour with the affected area, adjusts to the physiological properties of the object and physical and chemical changes in the affected area during exposure. The circuit transmits the energy to the object in the form of special impulses that block sensory and motor nerves. Neuromuscular incapacitation is effective for offenders with a high pain threshold (drug users, people under severe stress, prepared or trained opponents who may not feel pain or are able to resist detention (self-defense) despite physical pain). NMI technology help to control offender`s actions, stop them from consciously interrupting the impact - to get move away or show resistance.
Operational efficiency means efficiency of a stun gun in combat situation, in preparation for combat situation, as well as convenience of maintenance. Efficiency in combat situation is determined by the effect of the impact, maneuverability, reliability of action, safety in handling, ease of maintenance.
OBERON-ALPHA stun guns provide higher operational efficiency compared to stun guns made by other manufacturers.
OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCY OF OBERON-ALPHA STUN GUNS
OBERON-ALPHA uses advanced Neuromuscular incapacitation technology to generate and impact a target with high voltage, ensuring the efficiency of exposure at high frequencies. Efficiency of civilian models is comparable to the best police tasers.
NMB is archieved by the high input power of the electric circuit of the stun gun.
OBERON-ALPHA does not use “fake” power technology (preionization), but uses high-voltage transformers to generate high-voltage pulses. The company provides the maximum allowed distance between the two electrodes, increasing the current loop.
Maneuverability of stun guns is determined by the usability, the ease of contact and remote use which depends its weight, ease of use in a combat situation – the location of the fuse and controls, good ergonomics.
OBERON-ALPHA stun guns have a fuse, battery status indication, silicone power button, and a convenient handle.
Lithium batteries are light, which allows the stun guns to weigh only around 200g.
Reliability is characterized by the ability to work flawlessly in combat situations, to resist external mechanical influences.
Electrical circuits of OBERON-ALPHA stun gun operate in any external conditions, do not have temporary cut-offs, and lithium batteries can work for a long time under load and at low temperatures.
Safety in handling implies a well-thought-out design of the weapon, so that the operation is safe for the owner when carrying and using the weapon.
OBERON-ALPHA stun guns have a distinct handle, a charge indicator, that make the stun gun safe for operation.
Simplicity of operation implies the ease of daily maintenance, simple storage conditions.
OBERON-ALPHA stun guns have high-reliability lithium accumulator batteries, that have a slow self-discharge rate, built-in protection system against over-discharging, overcharging, and short-circuit. Lithium batteries don`t require complicated maintenance, keeping the stun gun ready for use.
Photo: civilian stun guns made by OBERON-ALPHA
When working with stun guns, flashbang and remote cartridges, you must follow their operation instructions.
Not following operation instructions for stun guns, flashbang and remote cartridges may result in injury or death. The following rules are especially important.
- It is not allowed to store the device with the fuse off.
- It is not recommended to store the device at negative temperatures for a long time (in the car in winter, in an unheated room,...) – this may shorten the battery life.
- Keep the device out of the reach of children.
- When switching the stun gun on, do not bring your hands close to the high-voltage zone and to the electrodes.
- Laser aiming module has a source of laser radiation. When using the laser aiming module avoid aiming or reflecting the laser beam in the eyes.
- Do not use the stun gun in water, barefoot on concrete floors, grass, etc.
- Operation of the stun gun may affect the operation of some electronic devices (due to electromagnetic interference), so it is not recommended to turn the device on in close proximity to computers, medical equipment, etc.
- Do nott turn on the stun gun on in places with an explosive atmosphere, places that are usually marked with special warning signs: gas stations, etc.
- Do not turn on the device near fuel and chemicals.
- When loading and unloading cartridges and magazines, direct them away from you.
- Use of stun guns must be justified by the inability to control the situation or stop the offense without using a weapon.
- Civilian use of stun guns must be justified by the inability to protect against attack by other means.
- Continuous use on people for more than 3 seconds is prohibited.
- It is strictly forbidden to use stun guns against persons under the age of 16, pregnant women, or persons with mental illnesses.
- Hitting a person with a stun gun baton cause serious injuries, including injuries that can lead to the lethal outcome. When handling stun gun batons, it is forbidden to apply excessive physical force to the target.
- Use of stun guns can lead to a loss of coordination, balance, and cause the target to fall. This can cause serious physical injuries. The most at risk are people who:
- may lose balance and suffer serious head or other body injuries.
- are standing on a high or unstable surface (for example, on a ladder);
- have limited ability to protect yourself during a fall (for example, tied up or restrained);
- may fall on a sharp object (for example, holding a knife or other sharp object, or the sharp object is on the ground);
- are in motion; are driving any moving vehicle (such as a car, a bicycle, a train).
- Remote stun guns with installed cartridges/magazines may cause injury. Do not aim the cartridge at a person if you do not intend to fire the shot.
We discuss the key parameters that are necessary to correctly evaluate and choose the best stun gun among different contact and remote models, presented on the Russian market of self-defense weapons: classes and classifications of stun guns, main technical parameters, impact technologies, important technical characteristics.
Operational efficiency and handling precautions are noted separately.
Technical parameters of counterfeit Chinese stun guns are noted particularly: instead of the claimed class 1, such stun guns belong to only class 5.
Author: S. V. Gusev
Head of the production department, chief designer of the stun guns in OBERON-ALPHA company.