Zap! Yellow Jacket stun-gun case powers up for iPhone 5

The Yellow Jacket stun-gun case shows up in a new, improved version for CES. It's got a better design and more oomph for taking out an attacker.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read
Yellow Jacket for iPhone 5
The new Yellow Jacket in crackling action. Amanda Kooser/CNET

The Yellow Jacket stun-gun case first showed up as an Indiegogo fundraising project back in the middle of 2012. That original model reached the world in early 2013, but a major redesign geared for the iPhone 5 and 5S has now landed at CES.

The original Yellow Jacket was a bit chunky-looking. The new one is a little more streamlined, but best of all, it's also detachable. You can easily remove your phone to let the kids play with it without also allowing them access to a 650,000-volt stun gun. There's also a big difference in the terrifying sound the new case makes. The original had kind of a fizzy zap to it. The new one is throaty and intimidating.

There are always going to be questions about the wisdom of having that much electricity surging near an expensive electronic device, but I got to see it in action and the phone doesn't skip a beat, even when the electricity is raging. The revamped build for the iPhone 5 is also relatively comfortable to hold for regular phone activities. Safety switches are designed to keep it from going off unexpectedly.

The new case is due out in February for $149. The old case for iPhone 4 is still available for $99. If you're on the fence about the device, consider that it can also be used as a battery backup for your phone. That makes the bulk a little more tolerable. It's also designed to keep 10 percent of its power in reserve to feed the stun feature in an emergency situation.

The Yellow Jacket is always going to be a bit divisive. If you're the kind of person who would carry a stun gun anyway, then this may be the case for you. If you're not, then you might just shake your head at the idea and move along.

Yellow Jacket case for iPhone 5
These prongs are serious business. Amanda Kooser/CNET