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Culture

Shootout at the stun gun corral

Stinger Systems says Taser has had the market to itself long enough--and it's ready to take aim. Photos: Longer range for stun guns

    Like a young gunslinger out to prove himself against the reigning shooter, Stinger Systems has its sights set on Taser International.

    Stinger on Monday announced that it has begun shipping a stun gun called Stinger Projectile. Stun guns use a jolt of electricity to subdue a person. The effect is intended to be both .

    Stinger

    The market for the gear has been dominated by Taser, which rode its renown to a spot on the New York Stock Exchange and a 52-week high of just over $30. The company's shares have since dropped to the $5 range.

    "To date, this market has been a virtual monopoly," Robert Gruder, Stinger's CEO, said in a statement. "Today, that monopoly ends."

    Stinger said its $599 product has several advantages, including a lower price than the Taser X26. In addition, the Stinger device fires four darts instead of two, has a 31-foot range compared with 21 feet for Taser, and has an automatic shutoff after four seconds, rather than five.

    Production of the Stinger stun gun began in the spring, but the company said its release was put on hold so the company could perform additional engineering in order to attain "a more reliable product."

    The Charlotte, N.C.-based company is marketing the device to law enforcement agencies around the world. It says it will not sell stun guns to civilians.