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Think fast: what's the most valuable item on your person right now? Unless you're carrying a wad of 100-dollar bills or wearing a Rolex, it's likely that the answer to this question is your smartphone. Many smartphones these days cost $600 or more, and most people carry these devices wherever they go, making phones a common target for thieves and muggers. While it's wise to protect the sensitive data on your phone with a passcode and remote-wipe feature, a thief can still sell your physical device online or at a shady pawn shop for some quick cash.
Smartphone theft is a major problem — a 2014 FCC study found that more than 1 million smartphone thefts occurred that year in the United States alone. Beyond the loss of property, running into a criminal who wants your phone can be dangerous. This is why it's advisable to have a self-defense strategy in mind ahead of time.
Guard Dog Security has just announced a new self-defense device targeted at combating the threat of smartphone theft. It's called the iStun 2, and it's a concealable stun gun that closely resembles a smartphone. The iStun 2 is an updated version of the original iStun, a device which was significantly thicker and didn't match the profile of a modern phone. However, based on the photos that have been released so far, the slim new iStun 2 appears to look convincing enough to fool an attacker.
The Guard Dog iStun 2 is activated by a button that appears to be the phone's power button. Pushing this button produces a burst of high-voltage current across two low-profile prongs at the top of the “phone”. Guard Dog Security claims this power is “capable of temporary incapacitation”. There's also a built-in LED light on the back side of the device, which can be activated by another button in place of the volume control.
The iStun 2 is rechargeable over USB, weighs about 3 ounces, and includes a leather carrying case. In order to match the appearance of various phones, the iStun is offered in three color combinations: solid black, white/rose, and white/gold. MSRP for all versions of the iStun 2 is $45.
We haven't gotten our hands on an iStun 2, but the concept looks interesting — zapping a thief as he reaches for your phone could provide enough of a distraction to escape. This may also provide a self-defense option in places where other weapons are not permitted. Obviously, you should check your local laws before purchasing a stun gun, as some states have restricted or banned their use. Guard Dog Security provides a convenient map of stun gun laws in the U.S. on its web site.