1. Is the TASER a firearm?
No, TASER Electronic Control Devices (ECDs) are not considered firearms by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATF) because the TASER cartridge uses compressed, inert nitrogen gas to launch the probes instead of gun powder.
2. Is it illegal to carry a TASER product?
No, it is legal to own a TASER ECD in the U.S. except in HI, MA, MI, NJ, NY, RI, and the District of Columbia. Other states might have limited restrictions on the use or possession of ECDs. View our Stun Gun & TASER Laws page for more information.
3. What is the difference between a TASER and a stun gun?
A TASER is far more powerful than a traditional stun gun. First, it can incapacitate an attacker from up to 15 feet away while a stun gun requires direct contact with the threat. This gives you a zone of protection other self-defense options cannot offer. Second, unlike stun guns, TASER technology does not rely on pain compliance localized to the point of contact; rather it affects the sensory and motor functions of the nervous system and inhibits muscular control. This keeps an attacker down and immobilized for 30 seconds not just "stunned" for as long as you maintain contact. However, a TASER can also be used as a direct contact stun device if necessary.
4. What is the difference between a civilian-grade TASER and police-grade TASER devices?
The civilian-grade device uses the same exact technology and offers the same stopping power as the police version. There is a difference in the cycle time - the TASER Bolt and Pulse relays the charge for 30 seconds compared to 5 seconds with the police version. This is so you can keep your attacker down and get yourself to safety. The shooting distance is also different, the TASER shoots 15 feet, while police-grade TASER devices can shoot upwards of 30 feet.
5. Why do I have to pass a felony background check to own an TASER in Maryland, Minnesota, and Illinois?
It is important to keep TASER self defense devices out of the hands of criminals. No TASER product will be shipped to a state that requires their citizens have a clear felony background check. Completing background checks ensures full compliance with user identification and screening. Determine your eligibility for ownership before purchasing by filling out our Free Confidential TASER Felony Background Check Form. After purchase you must register your device with TASER International, either online or by phone. By registering your unit, you will activate the 1 year manufacturer warranty.
6. To purchase a Stun Gun, do I need to pass a felony background check?
No, a background check is not required to purchase a stun gun, and there are no registration or activation requirements for purchasing a stun gun device. Stun Guns are restricted in some locations, verify local stun gun laws before purchasing.Read our Stun Gun Laws for more information.
7. What is it like to shoot a TASER? Do I need special training?
When shot, there is no recoil or kick like when shooting a firearm. Special training is always a good idea for any self defense option, most importantly you must understand how it works and how to operate it safely and effectively. Each Taser comes with a training manual that includes instruction on operating your device, how to open the safety cover, how to aim, where to aim, how to fire, and what to do in the event of an emergency. This covers everything you need to know about your device, but additional training resources are available if you need them. It is also beneficial to practice shooting the Taser in order to get comfortable with it.
8. What is it like to be shot by a TASER?
Different people have different reactions, but it’s definitely uncomfortable. Some people compare it to touching a live electrical outlet except that it’s not localized to the point of contact; it has more of a full body effect where muscular control is limited for the duration of the charge cycle. It can be describe as muscle lock up because you are generally unable to move. The NMI effect is not about pain compliance, but incapacitation in order to keep someone down and away from you. That said, it is generally mildly to moderately painful.
9. Does it cause permanent injury?
Think of the NMI effect as a light switch, it’s either completely on or completely off. During the 30-second cycle, the sensory and motor function signals are confused, which inhibits muscular control and causes incapacitation. Once the charge cycle ends, sensory and motor functions resume normally and allow signals to be transmitted to the muscles - the NMI effect is off. TASER ECDs are not risk-free, however, as injuries can result from falls, drug/alcohol-related complications, or other external circumstances.
10. Can the TASER be quickly accessed to defend myself?
It’s as simple as point and shoot. TASERs are designed to provide you an option that is effective yet easy to access and use. The safety cover is simple to operate and ensures that the ECD is not accidentally fired. The laser sight lets you aim accurately and feel confident that you will make contact with an attacker. The trigger is a simple push-button mechanism that allows you to fire, drop the device, and run while the attacker continues to be shocked.
11. How many times can a TASER cartridge be used?
Each cartridge fires once, so it’s a good idea to keep extra cartridges on hand.
12. What if my first shot misses my target?
In the event that you shoot and miss, all TASER devices feature the direct contact stun gun back-up capability.
13. What happens when I defend myself with my TASER and have to leave it behind? Will it be replaced?
TASERs are designed with your safety in mind. Upon firing and striking your attacker, the TASER Bolt and TASER Pulse deliver 30 seconds of electric energy into the attacker's body giving you time to drop the device and get to safety while the attacker is still being shocked. All TASER devices come with a Safe Escape Product Replacement Guarantee in the U.S. If you ever have to use your TASER to defend yourself and must leave it behind, the manufacturer, Taser International, will replace it free of charge once you've sent a police report of the incident.
14. Will the TASER Bolt fire accidentally? Should it be carried in a special case or holster?
The Bolt was designed to balance accessibility with safety. You need to be able to reach and fire it quickly if necessary, but also feel confident that it won’t be accidentally discharged. For this reason, the push button trigger is located beneath a safety cover that must be slid all the way open before the Bolt can be fired. A holster is not necessary although they are easily accessible. The Bolt can be carried safely and discreetly in a pocket, purse, handbag, brief case, or just about anywhere. It’s important that you are comfortable carrying it and that its readily accessible should you need it.
15. How long will the battery last for? Is it rechargeable, or can I use regular batteries?
The Lithium Power Magazine can supply over fifty 30-second applications. As with all power sources, environmental conditions, such as extreme heat or cold, can impact battery life differently. The Lithium Power Magazine (LPM) is not rechargeable. Replacement LPMs are available for purchase.
16. How safe is it to have around children?
TASERs are self-defense devices, and like other options, should be kept out of reach of children at all times. They are equipped with a safety features to avoid accidental discharge, but should always be stored in a safe place away from children.
17. How big is the TASER Bolt and what does it weigh?
The Bolt only weighs about seven ounces and measures about 6 inches long.
18. Can TASERs be brought on a plane?
TASER devices are not permitted in carry-on luggage for domestic U.S. flights. However, they can be packed in checked baggage if you are traveling to a state that allows possession. Federal law prohibits carrying or shipping TASER devices out of the U.S. so international flight restrictions apply.