Thursday, March 6, 2014

Review: Vipertek VTS-880 and VTS-881 [Stun Gun]

The goal of self defense is to keep yourself and those in your care safe. The goal of self defense is
not to harm another human being. If you must harm someone in the course of defending yourself, then so be it. But if it's possible to defend yourself without killing or maiming your attacker, then why not explore that option?

Vipertek VTS-880 and VTS-881 Stun Guns: Product Link
Vipertek VTS-881 Product Link
The modern stun gun gives you just that option. Cheap, compact and powerful, they are non-lethal to most people and are legal to carry in most states. Newer models like these even have built in flashlights.

My review samples (VTS-880 and VTS-881) were purchased from Amazon. I bought several for family members as well.

NOTE: Sometimes these models go out of stock, but they are also sold under different names like Monster and Sabre.

Product Description


Both models are very similar in design. It's a combination flashlight and stun gun which features a lithium-ion battery with a built in charger that has slide out prongs to plug directly into a 110 VAC wall socket. The VTS-880 is a good bit larger, but has a less powerful stun gun and flashlight. Does the larger VTS-880 give you a battery with more capacity? They do not say.

VTS-880 Official Specs (From Amazon)

  • Powerful Mini Stun Gun With LED Flashlight
  • Compact Size, Conceals Easily (2" x 7/8" x 4") - Slips easily into a pocket or purse
  • Internal Rechargeable Battery - No expensive batteries to buy
  • Non-Slip Rubber Coating
  • Lifetime Warranty
Vipertek VTS-880: Closeup Top Side

Vipertek VTS-880 In Sheath

Vipertek VTS-880: Closeup Of Electrical Prongs

Vipertek VTS-880: Closeup Of Switch and Trigger Button

Vipertek VTS-880: Closeup Of Box

VTS-881 Official Specs (From Amazon)

  • Powerful Micro Stun Gun With LED Flashlight - The power of a full size stun gun at HALF the size!
  • Micro Size, Conceals Easily - Only 3-3/4" tall, 1 1/2" wide and 3/4" thick - Slips easily into a pocket or purse.
  • Internal Rechargeable Battery - No expensive batteries to buy
  • Non-Slip Rubber Coating
  • Lifetime Warranty
Vipertek VTS-881: Product View

Vipertek VTS-881: Closeup Of Prongs

Vipertek VTS-881: Closeup Of Logo

Vipertek VTS-881: Closeup Of Controls

Vipertek VTS-881: Closeup Of LED Emitter

Vipertek VTS-881: Unboxing

Vipertek VTS-881: Green One Next To Sheath

Vipertek VTS-881: Closeup Of Green Model

Vipertek VTS-881: Closeup Of Green Model 2

Vipertek VTS-881: Closeup Of Green Model 3

Vipertek VTS-881: Closeup Of Green Model 4

Initial Impressions


VTS-880: Initially I purchased two purple VTS-880 models for my wife and sister. The flashlight doesn't work on the one I gave my sister, so I also gave her a flashlight with the stun gun. It's not like I have any shortage of flashlights, and I did offer to order her another one. That's OK, the flashlight on this model isn't that great. The tint is poor and it's low output. But this isn't a device you're purchasing because you need a flashlight. 

Sliding the switch past the flashlight position and all the way forward, an ominous little red LED lights up to tell you that the stun gun is armed. But that eerie light didn't prepare me for the amount of noise that comes out of this thing when I mashed the button. It sounds like a pack of firecrackers all going off at once. 

Holding the VTS-880 in my hand, it feels sturdy enough. The slider switch and button feel a little cheap, and so do the electrical prongs on the front. And dry firing the unit seems to char those prongs, so I wouldn't expect this unit to hold up to years of dry firing without replacing those prongs.

Another thing I noticed is that the charger design is clever. At the back of the unit there is a little slider where you can extend the plug prongs and plug it into a 110 VAC North American style wall socket. 

All things considered, even the unit with the non-working flashlight was a good deal at about 11 bucks each out the door with Prime. Now here is my question with the 880: Is it bigger because it has a higher capacity battery, or is it bigger just because it's an older model?

VTS-881: It's smaller than the 880, has a more powerful stun gun and flashlight, and even has a larger reflector to give the flashlight more throw. Holding it my hand after owning the other model for about a week, it was clear that the 881 is the superior model. It uses a better flashlight emitter with a much better tint, and the reflector is much better. It still looks kind of cheap, but the quality and output of this light is superb considering that the flashlight is just an ancillary function of the stun gun. This flashlight is good enough to use the 881 as a dedicated flashlight.

If the 881 has two million more volts, it's not readily apparent by dry firing the stun gun. But it doesn't appear to be any less powerful either. Both models seem to scare my dogs equally.

Build Quality


Overall I would call the build quality sufficient on both models. Out of 4 units, one had a bad flashlight and one had loose prongs. It's not that the quality is bad, more like the quality control is bad. It's a good design with a decent implementation. As long as you get a good one, or are able to do something like tighten loose prongs with a pair of needle nose pliers, then you should be fine. If you are looking for every day use such as being a cop, I would look at higher end models. But for keeping in a purse and using a couple times in a lifetime, this model will work for you. In fact, I can't think of a better impact on your personal safety for 11-13 bucks. Maybe pepper spray, but the keychain versions only contain enough pepper for one or two shots. This thing for less than a 20 dollar bill could conceivably defend against a whole room of attackers. So while the quality isn't great, it's still a lot of safety for not much money. 

Flashlight


Both models have a built in flashlight which is activated by moving the slider switch to the second position. I purchased two of each unit, and out of four units, I had one dead flashlight on a VTS-880.

VTS-880: This model uses a low end Chinese emitter with a purplish tint and an acceptable output I would guess in the 20-30 lumen range. The upside to these low output emitters is that you generally get longer run times with the lower output.

VTS-881: This model uses a higher end Chinese emitter with a cool white tint and good output comparable with a low end Cree emitter. I would guess the output for this in the 150-200 lumen range, making this a decently powerful flashlight even by modern standards. The 881 also has a much larger and better reflector, giving the flashlight on this model a nicely formed beam that even has some throw to it. This is a real flashlight!

Charging


Both models contain the same slide out wall charger. Both models also feature Lithium-ion batteries and come with a stern warning: The built in charger contains no regulator and can melt the unit or start a fire if you overcharge it. The instructions to mention something to that effect without the sternness. The first time I charged the first unit, the plug prongs were too hot to touch when it came out of the wall, and the entire unit was almost too hot to touch. Be careful charging this thing!

To use the charger, there's a slider on the bottom of both units. Simply slide out the plug prongs and plug it into a wall socket. A little red LED at the bottom of the unit near the slider will come on to tell you that it's charging. Unlike other similar products, the light on these models does not change to green to tell you it's charged, so there's no real way to be sure, other than charging it 4-6 hours like the manual recommends.

Vipertek VTS-880: Closeup Of Charging Prongs 1

Vipertek VTS-880: Closeup Of Charging Prongs 2

Vipertek VTS-881: Closeup Of Charging Prongs


Stun Gun


The stun guns on both models seem to me to be pretty much identical. The VTS-880 has larger prongs, and that's the only visible difference to me. The prongs on one of the 881 models came loose and had to be tightened in order to work. I'm not an electrical engineer, but I wouldn't advise dry firing it with loose or missing prongs.

To use the stun gun on both models, move the slider switch all the way forward until you see a little red light come on near the switch. Once the red light comes on, the unit is armed and ready to fire. Definitely point it away from anything you don't want to give the give of millions of volts to before you dry fire it. 

Because the 881 is smaller, the prongs are smaller and closer together. But dry firing it seems just as wicked, so I wonder what practical difference there is between the different physical sizes.

Usability


Unfortunately, nobody would take me up with the "who wants to earn 20 bucks the hard way and be on youtube" challenge, so it was not possible to test these models in a real world scenario. But I have seen a few youtube videos with these models and they do look effective in real world conditions.

As with any self defense tool, I wouldn't personally advise someone to brandish it. As I've said many times before, if you find yourself in the position of needing to use a stun gun, then this represents a failure of your self defense technique in most cases. This stun gun is for those hopefully few times in a lifetime where you cannot just walk (or run) away from whatever conflict, such as being mugged.

So having said all that, I personally would use this suddenly and purposefully, with a mind towards disengaging and getting away from the conflict to somewhere safe. Also keep in mind that missing is going to put you in more danger than if your strike was successful, and once you lose the advantage of surprise, you also run the risk of having it taken away and used against you, so don't miss!

Vipertek VTS-881: In Hand

Vipertek VTS-880: In Hand

video

Conclusions


These models are cheap, powerful and easy to use, not to mention legal in most states to carry concealed--make sure to check with your local authorities before ordering one.

I wish they were built a little better, but the are a good value for what they are, and should be sufficient for the occasional testing and the few times you'll actually need to defend yourself. This isn't something you will use every day, so the build quality is acceptable, and I feel good about my family members carrying these things.

The VTS-881 is clearly the newer and better model, and short of hearing a specific reason to buy the VTS-880, I would just stick with the newer model. Better flashlight, more volts, more compact. Stick with the VTS-881 for three more dollars.

Gallery

Vipertek VTS-880 and VTS-881 Stun Guns: Top View

Vipertek VTS-881 Next To Ruler

Vipertek VTS-881 Closeup Of Electrical Prongs

Vipertek VTS-881 On Scale

Vipertek VTS-880 Next To Ruler

Vipertek VTS-880 On Scale


9 comments:

  1. How do I tell when this is fully charged?

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    Replies
    1. The short answer is that you can't. But you can get a decent idea from test firing it. I usually just let it charge overnight.

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. I cant find the vipertek website in case i need to use the warranty. Its like they don't exist. Ive had my stunner for over a year and used it a couple times. But I would like to be able to know the warranty is good... :-/

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    Replies
    1. For what they cost, I would consider them disposable if it stops working past what Amazon would refund you for. I take mine out and test the flashlight and test fire it about once a month.

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    2. I have a Vipertek 880 stun gun with a lifetime Warranty and the flashlight strobes and I cannot find out how to return for replacement.

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    3. I have a Vipertek 880 stun gun with a lifetime Warranty and the flashlight strobes and I cannot find out how to return for replacement.

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  4. IMy flashlight's beam was low so I charged it. When I turned the flash light on again it as still low.
    I tried the stud button (with the flashlight off, of course).
    The flashlight will not become any brighter nor does the stud gun work.
    To top it off there is no website to return for repair or exchange....What a scam?

    ReplyDelete