First and foremost, it's important not to confuse a stun gun with a taser, the weapons are quite different. A taser shoots probes and can be used at a distance. A stun gun is a small, handheld item that must make physical contact with the attacker in order to work. The gun utilizes two small probes that, once in contact with an attacker's skin, releases a high voltage, low amperage charge. This charge will temporarily disable an attacker for several minutes, allowing you to escape to safety.
PRO: Stun guns do not rely on pain to stop the attacker, but instead simply stun the attacker, so that their voluntary muscle control ceases temporarily. Stun guns are inexpensive and small. They can be held in the palm of your hand. The shock will not transmit to you if you are in contact with the attacker, so it is very difficult to accidentally use it on yourself during an attack. Also, many have a fail safe wristband release. So if your attacker yanks the device from your hand and the wristband is detached, the device goes dead. It will no longer work and cannot be turned on you.
CONS: The biggest downside to a stun gun is that you must be close enough to your attacker to touch him. This will mean, consequently, that he will be close enough to reach out and grab you as well.
The technical name for pepper spray is Oleoresin Capsicum (OC), and it delivers a burning sensation to the attacker when sprayed in the face.
PRO: Pepper spray is effective from 6-8 feet away, providing distance between victim and attacker. Pepper spray is a non-lethal product that will render the attacker virtually harmless for anywhere from 20-30 minutes. Pepper spray is available in many different sized containers, and small canisters can be attached to key rings. Pepper spray is inexpensive and widely available.
CONS: Although most of us want distance between us and an attacker, this can create a problem when using pepper spray. You must have a good aim, and a steady hand to hit the mark, which is the face. If you miss, or hit any other body part, it is completely ineffective. So aim is key to being successful and getting away safely. Also, problems can arise when using pepper spray, especially when the wind direction does not cooperate. If you are attacked outdoors on a windy day, the spray may blow back into your own face when you aim for your attacker. Lastly, if your attacker sees the stream of spray coming, he may be able to easily avoid getting hit by it. Pepper spray comes with a locking mechanism on the trigger to prevent accidental discharges; as a downside, this mechanism can sometimes be difficult to disengage.
My Personal Choice:
Winner Stun Gun Winner
Although I do not want to come in contact with my attacker, I found that the stun gun's electrical, loud sizzling noise when engaged is a pretty big deterrent. If you pull it out, show it and give it a warning zap, most attackers will think twice before approaching any further. No one wants to get electrocuted. I found it much more intimidating than a key chain can of pepper spray. Also, if you tend to panic or overreact, which most of us will do if about to be attacked, keeping a steady hand and having a good aim might be challenging. Most tend to completely miss an attackers face due to panic. If an attacker heeds warning and decides to grab you, with a stun gun you can hit them anywhere and they will go down. Pepper spray is only effective in the face and eyes.