Review: Less-Lethal TASER Pulse

Nicholas C
by Nicholas C

TASER is the name in the industry for less lethal tools. They provide electrical muscular override tools for Law Enforcement. The TASER Pulse is a “civilian legal” less lethal tool shaped like a subcompact handgun. Unfortunately, my editors told me I was not allowed to shoot the TASER Pulse at people or animals for this review. But, we don’t test firearms on people or animals when we review them so this is no different than any ordinary firearm review.

TASER Pulse: A Close Up Look

The Taser Pulse comes packaged with two cartridges and a neoprene slip cover. The cover is like a sock. It covers the top part of the taser. To remove the cover, you just pull up on that loop at the back of the grip. Lift it up and forward off the Taser Pulse.

The live cartridges are kept in a clear polymer exoskeleton case. You pop them out of the case and insert them into the front of the TASER Pulse. Below you can see how the Pulse compares in size to a Glock 19X.

The Pulse has molded in polymer sights. The front sight is molded bright yellow plastic which provides good contrast for aiming. However I will be honest, I never used them.

When you switch the safety off, there is a battery status indicator that lights up on the back of the Pulse.

On the opposite end, there are two metal contact points. These contacts are what the arc of electricity jump across and what activates the cartridges. Just below the large yellow opening is an LED light and laser. Just like the plastic iron sights, the laser is not adjustable.

The LED light is not very bright but it can help to illuminate your target. It is just not bright enough to temporarily blind your target.

Shooting the TASER Pulse

The Pulse trigger is ridiculously light weight. Often the Pulse fired off a little too soon for me. Unlike your stereo typical stun gun, that only have fixed electrodes, the Pulse has both contact distance points and aerial launched probes attached to leads. The probes only have an effective range of 15 feet.

the bright spots are electricity arcing across the paper.

While contact distance works, the benefit of the TASER Pulse is the fact that it has cartridges with flying barbed probes. This provides the user with a bit of a cushion of safety. You can engage a target out to 15 feet rather than have to get up close and personal. Like I said earlier, the Pulse has polymer sights but since the laser activates as soon as you switch the safety off, I ended up using the laser 100% of the time. Normally lasers do not work well in daylight but don’t forget the Pulse only has an effective range of 15 feet. It is not hard to see the laser at such a short distance.

When you fire the TASER Cartridges, and the probes make contact with the intended target, the Pulse will continue to send electricity through the probes for 30 seconds. This is 6 times longer than the professional grade X26 that only has 5 seconds of Neuro-Muscular Incapacitation. Since the Pulse will continue to tase your threat for 30 seconds, you can put the Pulse down and use that 30 seconds to remove yourself from the threat. You can override the Pulse by flipping the safety back on. Or after 30 seconds, you can pull the trigger and the Pulse will tase for another 30 seconds.

If you find yourself needing to use the TASER Pulse, and it is deemed lawful, TASER will replace your unit.

Safe Escape Product Replacement Guarantee

When an X26C, X26P M26C, X2, C2, Bolt or Pulse Conducted Electrical Weapon is used in self-defense, the weapons may be deployed and left behind providing the Purchaser a window of opportunity to get to safety and call law enforcement. TASER International will replace the X26C, X26P M26C, X2, C2, Bolt or Pulse weapons free of charge, with the same product or a like product, at TASER International’s option, if the Purchaser provides, within one year following the event, the following information to TASER International:

  • A copy of the official police report documenting the incident, the use of the product in self-defense, and the loss of the product
  • Proof of purchase of the product
  • Purchaser’s name, physical address (no P.O. Boxes allowed), and phone number of where to send the replaced item. Purchaser is responsible for any expedited shipping or handling costs for the replacement weapon.

A replacement product assumes the remaining warranty of the original product or 90-days from the date of replacement, whichever provides longer coverage to the Purchaser. TASER International’s Lifetime Replacement Guarantee is not available or applicable:

  • On any international (Non-United States) sales or uses of TASER Citizen Products; or
  • To any Purchaser who uses the CEW for a commercial purpose.

When shooting the Pulse like a handgun, the probes are positioned like an over under. The first probe pretty much flies straight while the second probe has a significant drop. At 15 feet, the probes spread apart about two feet. This is due to the design of the cartridges. The probes are not loaded in the cartridge parallel to each other. Rather they are positioned at an angle. The cartridges can be loaded upside down or right side up in the TASER Pulse. Which ever probe is on top, will be positioned relatively parallel with the sights. This then positions the bottom probe at a downward angle. This is what give it the spread it needs for better Neuro-Musclar Incapacitation.

The paper target has electricity conducting ink. This allows you to see the electricity arcing between the two probes.

What does the TASER do to live people? Well as I mentioned earlier, I was unable to shoot this at people or animals. However thanks to the internet, we have examples.

Problems With The Pulse

So when I got the TASER Pulse, I tried to find out what powered it. There is a small lithium battery stored in the grip. However, when taking the batteries out to take photos of it, I managed to pull the wires out of the plug.

Due to the shortness of the wires in the grip. I was unable to reconnect them. TASER was nice enough to send a replacement.

As I was testing the new Pulse, I thought of other tests that could cause the Pulse to not work properly. Remember the two foot spread of the probes? I was curious what would happen if I attempted to shoot the Pulse sideways. Yes, just like Steve Carell in the movie Date Night, I tried a kill shot. As expected, I missed the target. As mentioned above, the top probe has a tendency to fire straight, while the other fires at an angle. Watch the video below. You will see the probe closest to the sights fires pretty much where I was aiming while the other probe flies past the target entirely. It also pulled the wire out of the cartridge.

How likely would you shoot a TASER Pulse sideways? Probably not often but you will need to keep this in mind if you plan to carry one. Even though one of the probes made contact with the target, it needs the other probe to complete the circuit. So in this case, the TASER Pulse would not stop the threat. This is a perfect time and opportunity to use the contacts of the Pulse. When the probes do not make a complete circuit, the Pulse reverts to the path of least resistance. So the electricity will skip the incomplete circuit and jump across the metal contacts at the end of the Pulse pistol. You can then push the front end of the Pulse into the threat and this will complete the circuit. The Pulse becomes the second probe.

Another concern is clothing. Thick clothing can impede the probes. I went to my local Goodwill and acquired an insulated vest. I was looking for thick jackets but this will do. The first shot was shot sideways. You can see one of the probes hit the target while the other probe got stuck in the vest material. Even though the probes hit the target, one stuck into the target, the other was stopped by the vest. This prevents the electricity from affecting the target.

Second shot, this time I closed the vest and shot the Pulse vertically. The vest completely stopped the probes and did not allow them to enter the target rendering them useless.

Since the top probe fired where I was pointing it. It hit the zipper and caused the zipper to get jammed.

You can see the two probes hit its mark. But did they do anything? I am not sure since the conductive target is hidden behind the vest. The probes were stopped by the insulation of the jacket. I ended up having to cut the jacket off because the zipper got stuck. You can see how much insulation there is and it is not a surprise the probes were stopped early. I have my doubts that the probes would be effective if you shot someone in the winter, wearing a thick jacket,

On TASER’s website they do answer this question about thick clothing.

The darts will penetrate all but the thickest clothing and the electricity will also jump up to two inches of combined distances between the probes and the skin.

Final Thoughts

The Taser Pulse costs $399.99. That is the cost of many handguns. And while the Pulse works as a contact stun gun, you want the flying barbed probes. Replacement cartridges can be purchased, they come in pairs for $69.99 on Taser’s website. Of course, a handgun may not always be the right choice of tool. You might be in a place that does not allow you to carry a firearm but you could carry a TASER like the Pulse. I do have my reservations regarding its effectiveness. Recently there was a man on an American Airlines flight that seemed to be taserproof.

However, I do not now what he was wearing nor do I know what training these police officers have in the use of Tasers.

I do like the integrated flashlight and laser although I would prefer a staggering amount of lumens to temporarily blind your threat. I could see the TASER Pulse being an option for people who are not comfortable carrying a firearm but just like any firearm, you should seek proper training. TASER has a variety of training from self training kits to trained professionals that can teach you how to use your TASER Pulse. You can check the different levels of training on TASER’s website. You also need to check your local laws regarding the legality of using and owning a TASER. Check out the handy map below and check your local statutes as this information may not be up to date.

Nicholas C
Nicholas C

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4 of 19 comments
  • Sulaco5 Sulaco5 on May 15, 2018

    That map is not totally accurate, for instance several cities in WA outlaw use and possession of Taser's. Tacoma WA just removed their restrictions but they continue in Seattle for example as guns in this state are only controlled at the state level, energy weapons not so much.

  • CC CC on May 16, 2018

    The MSRP you listed is largely inconsequential. I paid $302 on Amazon.

    Good write up.

    • See 1 previous
    • CC CC on May 16, 2018

      @Nicholas C Well, of course I also have a pistol. I’m not suggesting anyone should but a taser instead. Rather, I’m suggesting that you can get them cheaper than the review makes it seem.