• May 22, 2022

 Stun Guns – A Historical Overview

 Stun Guns – A Historical Overview

(The stun guns described below are not Tasers. Tasers use a unique conductive technology and .38 special ammo  are different enough in design to be excluded here.)


The history of the stun gun is not a single birth but a series of developments. Electric cattle prods have been used since the 1940s to motivate cattle to go where the ranchers want them to go. There are numerous patents on file dating to the 1970s concerning devices designed to influence animals and repel sharks. During the same period, there were a couple of patents taken out on stunning devices designed for helping in patrolmens’ arrests of suspects and in crowd control. It’s unclear if any of these devices were manufactured in this time frame as described.

An early electrical baton design is detailed in 1975 patent number 3917268, “Spark gap type electric shock-producing prod” which describes a device close to the modern device. The summary says in part,”An electric shock-producing prod, usable by cattlemen, law enforcement officials, and others, wherein the electrical or electronic circuitry therein consists of a battery-powered oscillator having a coupled output provided with a series-connected spark gap… the oscillator can and will continue to run with the electric-shock contacts of the prod in engagement with the intended, recalcitrant object.”

The earliest compact stun gun of conventional design is detailed in patent number US3722788 published March 1973. It describes a small battery operated device of high voltage and low amperage, designed to be worn on the person. Interestingly, this device featured prods that can be extended several inches for easier application.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.