Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Guns: As seen on TV...

Normally I don't blog about non-firearm weapons, but there's something funny about the above infomercial for the Cobra StunLight (catchy name - sounds like something from an episode of "Knight Rider" or something). I suppose I understand the reasoning of people who might not wish to carry or own a gun, even if I don't agree with their rationale (mostly because a gun in a home is only as safe or dangerous as the people who live in that home). But it's telling that the above ad mentions owning a gun directly, almost inviting a comparison...

I've never been sprayed with OC, but I've talked with people who have - it hurts like crazy and impairs your vision, but it's not like it forces you to collapse instantly down on the ground. Hell, attackers who are shot with firearms often have plenty of fight left in them. If someone's attacking, do you want something that may or may not dissuade them, even with a solid hit, or do you want something that has the ability to penetrate bone and muscle to damage the central nervous system, stopping the attacker instantly?

Then there's the range issue. This review shows what many first-time defense spray users experience - disappointment or at least surprise at the effective range of the device. It's not a Super Soaker, after all. If you're defending yourself, it's universally agreed that the further away you can keep the attacker, the better. The StunLight claims a 20ft range - just about any handgun is useful at three or four times that range.

Finally, you only receive five to six full-power shots from the StunLight per canister. Thankfully, they do include a practice canister, but will you buy more canisters when that runs out? The StunLight website sells them for $10 a pop, $100 for 12. In comparison, handgun ammunition is available all over the U.S. (besides gun stores, most Wal-Marts sell ammo, and there's plenty of places online to buy ammo), and even .45 ACP only costs $30 per 100 rounds. What would you rather use - something that you tried on a potted plant seven months ago because the canisters are expensive, or something that you've fired hundreds of shots with since the ammo is plentiful and relatively inexpensive?

Not everyone lives or works where they can carry or even own a gun. For those people, less-lethal weapons like Tasers or defense sprays are fine options, as long as proper practice and training are undertaken. For everyone else, though, there's a wonderful, time-tested personal defense tool that's carried by nearly every police officer in the U.S. - the firearm.

Notice in the ad that everyone hit with the StunLight is not armed with a gun. There's a pretty good reason why that is - in most cases, the StunLight user would be shot.

The StunLight costs $250. For about the same price, you can buy a Kel-Tec 9mm handgun. I just hope that someone choosing the former knows what they are losing.

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