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Reasons for getting a handgun over getting a taser?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Mark-Smith, Sep 7, 2011.

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  1. Mark-Smith

    Mark-Smith Member

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    A friend recently had her house broken into :what:, and she initially wanted to get her CCW license, but recently said she wanted to get a taser instead (guessing likely due to the cost of handguns and all the rigmarole that goes into getting a CCW license and such).

    What are a few good arguments for a handgun over a taser? This is Texas, so it's a very gun and CCW friendly state.
     
  2. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    One obvious one is that many states that allow concealed carry of a handgun (often with a permit) totally ban carrying of Tasers. Another is that IIRC, the only civilian-legal Taser is the kind you have to actually press against the body of the attacker; the kind that shoot barbed darts were declared an AOW by BATFE, I believe.

    The advantages of a handgun are obvious. The disadvantage, from the gentler folks, is that a handgun will kill a person (duh!) where a Taser is generally considered a non-lethal weapon. (Actually several people die each year after being "tazed" - whether from the Taser itself or from its effect on an already existing weakness is the subject of much debate.)

    The handgun allows effective defense at longer range - even 10 feet is too far for a hand-held Taser. And its effect is more serious, disabling or killing.

    There is a school of thought, especially among women, that says, "I don't want to hurt the person, I just want to stop the attack." Unfortunately, there is no weapon today that is guaranteed to comply with both requirements. Even "non lethal" weapons can cause serious and lasting injury or death. A Taser will stop an attacker, but at the cost of allowing him/her to come within arm's length. At that distance, both a Taser and a handgun can easily be turned against the victim by the attacker.

    Another advantage of a handgun is its psychological value; many times an attack has been stopped simply because the intended victim displayed a gun. I know of no case where display of a Taser (or other non-lethal weapon) has had a similar result.

    Jim
     
  3. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

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    What he said. MA is one of those states that will license (some) folks for CCW, but no one except LE can have electric stun devices.

    There is also deterence to consider. If you HAVE to draw your gun, you MAY find that its presence suddenly causes the attacker(s) to run away, because they don't wan't to die.

    What's the comparable deterence value of being perhaps stunned, versus being killed?

    Especially if there are five attackers? Or if they have guns?

    Bottom line: how many cops carry only a Taser, and no gun?
     
  4. bigbomar4

    bigbomar4 Member

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    Iv been hit with a civilian tazer and yes it hurt and it stopped me but I was able to stay on my feet. A few seconds after I, for the most part was just fine. Just imagine some drugged up junky he probably wouldnt even feel it.

    I wasnt even in any kinda life or death situation to get the adrenaline going we were just a bunch of stupid college age kids playin with a tazer.
     
  5. Old krow

    Old krow Member

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    Multiple assailants and armed assailants.

    In the case of a home break-in, even if they do enter the home armed, the kitchen is usually close by.
     
  6. Purgatory

    Purgatory Member

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    I think this is one of the most important considerations.

    Even if there are only TWO attackers, you're in dire straits if you only have a stun gun or taser.

    And, more and more, these days most attacks involve more than one assailant. Especially with the ever-growing gang problem.
     
  7. smalls

    smalls Member

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    It's illegal to carry a taser in most states, and even if you can carry the kind that "shoot" you've got one shot. What happens if you miss? You're SOL. they have a limited range, as well. I saw a video of a 6' 4 270 pound guy get tased, and he acted like a mosquito bit him. It just made him angry.
    They do have their place, but I believe it's more LE minded. I don't think they have much use for the SD minded crowd. If a weapon is needed, a handgun is better suited.
     
  8. David E

    David E Member

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    Don't guess why, find out why.

    It might be that she doesn't want to kill someone. If that's the case, encourage her to get the Taser along with pepper spray.

    Arming people that don't have the resolve to "shoot to kill" is never a good idea.

    (yeah, I know, "shoot to stop/center-mass,etc,etc,etc," but the bottom line is they could easily die because you shot them)
     
  9. Strykervet

    Strykervet member

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    Jim nailed it but I'll add this:

    Does she want to go hand to hand, or does she want to end the confrontation immediately?

    A handgun will end it pretty fast --either through brandishing or through shooting. A stun gun? You got to get up close and use it right. The batteries have to be hot. If they have heavy clothes, it ain't gonna work anyway. To complicate it more, I've played around with one and I've had worse shocks from phone lines and structural wiring.

    I'd rather have a knife. Or a baseball bat. Those are better hand to hand weapons, the taser is a police tool. If she doesn't think the knife or bat sound too appealing, then the taser certainly shouldn't.

    She also doesn't need a CCW to have a firearm in the house. That is for public. Get a pistol, something reliable and simple. A used Glock would probably suffice and be the same price or less than a real taser. I use and carry one myself. Almost any decent revolver would be great also. Just keep it simple, and take her shooting so she can practice.

    For people without previous firearms experience, it is best to have someone knowledgeable to hold their hand in the beginning. Since she can't spend time in the wading pool (like I did as a kid with my .22 and my shotgun) a simple striker fired pistol or a revolver and some range time will do the best. I think, that is my advice anyway.
     
  10. Mark-Smith

    Mark-Smith Member

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    Yeah, the 'you have to be within arm's reach of the badguy' and 'only good for one badguy at a time' strike me as the two best arguments for having a handgun over a taser.

    Another concern she had apparently was 'it's harder to have a tragic accident with a taser'. Which is true, I suppose. Then again, it only takes a small amount of training to make a handgun a safe tool to carry around.
     
  11. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    If we're talking strictly home defense, as many seem to be doing, I think we're discussing two poor choices. A defense-style shotgun is the best choice.

    If she's going to be carrying it, there are already several reasons why a handgun is better than a taser.

    One drawback that may not have been considered is that if/when she uses a pistol to defend herself, and she kills an attacker, she will be put on trial for homicide. It's a simple fact of life. I'm not saying she'll go to prison - just that she'll be tried. Make sure she knows that, and is prepared to handle the stress of that situation, whether the use was justified or not. If she isn't prepared to deal with that, I'd strongly suggest the taser and the limitations that will go along with it.

    And I strongly disagree with that. A small amount of training creates a sense of proficiency that may or may not exist - more than likely, the latter.
     
  12. Eb1

    Eb1 Member

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  13. tipoc

    tipoc Member

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    I think this statement requires some thinking on. I'm not so sure that it is true.

    Anyways...

    What is this person's actual objection to a gun? Did she say?

    tipoc
     
  14. ZeSpectre

    ZeSpectre Member

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    Personal experiences with Tasers and some thoughts about them.

    Tasers have some strong pro points.

    -"less lethal" and therefore more likely to actually be deployed by folks who would freeze if faced with actually shooting someone.

    -No real risk of overpenetration.

    -Generally cleaner (though if you tase someone in just the wrong(right?) way you are going to be cleaning up urine and possibly feces and vomit).

    -Quiet, no hearing risks.

    -Far less "social stigma" than self defense with a firearm.

    However there are some serious limitations that must also be considered.

    -Bulky/heavy clothing can defeat tasers (a serious consideration as we approach colder weather)

    -Most civilian model tasers (that I'm aware of) are "single shot" devices. If there is more than one criminal things can get ugly fast.

    -A lot of civilian models are CONTACT devices. The last thing you want to do if you have a choice is to get CLOSE with a criminal!

    -Some people simply will not quit. You can tase and tase and tase until the battery runs out and they'll still keep getting back up and trying to come after you. Personally I would hate to go up against that type with just a taser.


    Ultimately though it really comes down to what a person will actually use, what fits their mindset. Some people (my wife is one) really can't shoot someone. Police files are full of people who died with a gun in their hand but were unable to pull the trigger and harm another...some of them were even trained police officers!

    Some people wouldn't ever train, or keep the training up. Again in that case a firearm is not really the best choice. This was the case with my wife and even though some of the alternatives are less capable than a firearm, for her they are a better choice because she would/could actually use them in a crunch.
     
  15. Mark-Smith

    Mark-Smith Member

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    I'm a very risk-adverse person. So when I purchased my first handgun, after reading posts on THR for a year or so previous to that, I was fairly worried I'd screw something up and shoot myself.

    As it turns out, it takes very little work to avoid shooting yourself if:

    A.) You keep the gun pointed in the safest direction available.
    B.) You don't touch the trigger till you're ready to shoot something, or let an object get in the way of the trigger.
    C.) You load the gun with bullets and
    D.) Keep it in a holster designed for that gun

    That's all you need. In any self-defense situation where you'll do well in court afterward, there is precious little aiming required to hit a minute of bad guy at 10 ft or less. Point the end that goes bang at the bad guy and pull the trigger.

    Compared to any other type of highly skilled labor / hobby / pursuit, this is an incredibly minimal amount of training to succeed.

    Now if you're the sort that doesn't have much in the way of common sense, perhaps more training or not having a firearm is the better solution.

    But THR, in general, tends to way over-estimate what it takes to succeed in a situation where you're not guaranteed to be dead from the beginning.
     
  16. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    What's the point of tasing in a burglar/home invasion situation? Tasing wears off. I am not qualified to handcuff a tasered home invader while he may be recovering. Or would I tase an attacker to have a few seconds to evacuate the premises before the BG recovers? I would give a burglar/home invader the option of him leaving or him putting me in fear of life or limb and him suffering the consequences. Besides, the only weapon covered on a Tennessee handgun carry permit is a handgun (or a rifle with loaded magazine no round in the chamber in a vehicle).
     
  17. Rexster

    Rexster Member

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    A Taser is to be used, ideally, with another defender present who can go hands-on to secure the offender, or use deadly force, as the situation progresses. (This is part of the X-26 training program, for LEOs.) Once the current stops, the offender is able to resume his actions!

    A Taser is LESS-lethal, not non-lethal. A private citizen who uses a Taser had better be prepared to deal with the liability issues, if an offender dies, in a situation which did not clearly merit deadly force. Large agencies have the protocols and resources for this, which includes legal counsel. How about a private citizen?

    Tasers are effective about half the time, in my experience using them against live people. Tasing somebody is like grabbing a tiger by the tail!

    Tasers require frequent testing and maintenance. They are complex! I am mandated to test-fire my issued Taser, without the dart cartridge in place, at the beginning of every shift. It is NOT usual for me to get an error message, instead of a successful firing, which means I have to remove the battery, count 30 seconds, replace the battery, and then see
    if the error message has gone away.

    These are just some random thoughts. I may have more to say later.
     
  18. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    There's a lot more to making a gun a safe tool than learning not to shoot yourself with your own firearm.

    That's because THR is full of realists who would rather consider the worst-case situation than the best-case. That way, you're always as well-prepared as you can be. If you want to continue to train at the minimum standard, feel free. But don't call yourself proficient.
     
  19. TreeDoc

    TreeDoc Member

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    Get a good security system, good dead bolts, outside lighting, Make your home a fortress. Get a dog, a big one. Install a "rape cage" for the bedroom (solid bar door that locks outside of your bedroom). If you don't have a sense of self preservation to buy a firearm, put as many barriers as you can between you and the possible threat. I have some of these things at my home, but also have a 870 12 guage for someone who is really determined.
     
  20. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

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    A handgun is not the best choice fir home defense, especially for a non-shooter.
    Get her a reliable 20GA shotgun.
     
  21. Mark-Smith

    Mark-Smith Member

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    If we modify that to say 'to not shoot yourself or anything you don't intend on shooting', what else is there?

    Who cares what you call yourself? I call myself alive. The rest matters little.

    When it comes to rifles, I'm a certified NRA instructor and more than 'proficient'. But that really doesn't get me anything in a self-defense situation, mind you. Unless the bad guy is about a foot wide and 100 yards out or needs help understand what effect breathing control has on accuracy ;)

    There's a delicate line to tread when representing guns to the people who have little exposure to them. You can't tread over unrealistic horror story after unrealistic horror story, or ones where the hero holds off an attacking mob.

    Just tell 'em that any situation where your life or property is in immediate danger, having a gun helps you defend both to a greater degree than you could otherwise. Especially if the person in question is female. Guns are truly the great equalizer. You don't have to go into the military to learn how to effectively defend yourself. Nor do you have to take hundreds of hours of classes and drills. Not that they don't help - they certainly do - but 'point in direction of badguy and pull trigger' covers 95% of real world scenarios.

    There's nothing wrong with working hard for the possibility of encountering something out of the remaining 5%, but it's bad to make it out like it's the norm, or that it's reasonable to expect it.
     
  22. Twiki357

    Twiki357 Member

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    It sounds like her concern is a home intruder. If she is hesitent about a gun, for what ever reason, rather than a tazer (Or peper spray) I would suggest a can of wasp spray. It's not limited to the single use of a tazer and has longer range and duration than peper spray for multiply intruders. I'm partial to my 12 guage, but it's not for everyone.
     
  23. Lawdawg45

    Lawdawg45 Member

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    "What are a few good arguments for a handgun over a taser?"

    When my son (a police officer) was attacked 2 years ago, before shooting and killing the suspect he first Tased the attacker by department policy, and the suspect looked at my son and pulled the probes out with zero effect. There are actually YouTube videos instructing these thugs how to defeat a Taser strike by dropping and rolling on the ground, and I would never depend on Taser in a home invasion scenario.

    LD45
     
  24. sixgunner455

    sixgunner455 Member

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    There is a lot to consider in this kind of situation.

    Money. At first blush, it might seem that the weapon should be a shotgun if money is a concern. They can be had for very little when compared to other types of good weapons, are common, powerful, and versatile. However, I posit that if she has only enough money available to get one defensive tool, it should be a handgun, not a shotgun or tazer. If she needs a gun, a tazer doesn't qualify. If she needs to carry a gun at some point, the shotgun is out. Even if she thinks she'll only have it at home, there may easily and feasibly come a time when it is important that she be armed outside the home. It's very practical for her one weapon to be a handgun in that kind of instance. If she bought a shotgun, then she doesn't have that flexibility.

    Mobility/maneuverability. A pistol can lie under a pillow, or under a book, and be run by one hand. If she has kids at home, especially little ones, it is much easier to navigate a house with a terrified child with a handgun rather than a long gun. Some will say, "Oh, that's a terrible idea, she should never do that, what if she had to shoot?! The kid will be deaf." Deaf beats dead, and it is very feasible that a small child will need to be corralled and herded to a safe area in an emergency. Answering the door with a handgun behind your leg is much more discreet than with a Benelli or Remington or Mossberg pump.

    Proficiency. At bad-breath to bedroom range, how much proficiency is really needed? We can write of anecdotes all night talking both sides of this, but the upshot of it is, most of the time, we need to hit minute of bad guy at 15 feet or less. There was a WWII soldier who was assigned a mission behind enemy lines on very short notice. He had never fired a handgun, but a handgun was the only firearm he could practically take for this infiltration mission. He was given 2hrs of instruction, familiarization, and firing experience with his handgun. He successfully completed his mission, and during his exfil, was forced to shoot his way out of a bad spot. That was the second time he had ever fired the weapon. He killed two German soldiers, made it home, and died in bed many years later, an old, old man.

    What is more needed than a professional level of facility and proficiency with the weapon is the attitude and willingness to use it to survive. If she has that, whether it is motivated by a healthy dose of fear, protectiveness towards her children, or whatever, then get her into a good handgun, teach her to use it (or pay someone else to), and she will be fine. If she doesn't, then ... something she is willing to consider using or doing is better than nothing, I suppose.
     
  25. PabloJ

    PabloJ Member

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    What are the chances there will be just one of them breaking in when homeowner is already in the house? I have two barrel set Winchester Model 12 3". It has been retired to HD duty with 26" IC barrel. I figure if I hit largest one in chest with load of #1 buck the rest will run away.
     
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