The TASER Pulse is the newest addition to TASER’s civilian lineup and is one of two Conducted Energy Weapons (CEW) the company offers.

Because of its conducted energy delivery system, the TASER is the most effective less-lethal law enforcement weapon since the nightstick. Unlike a traditional stun gun, this system is capable of causing neuro-muscular incapacitation (NMI).

NMI, in simplest terms, means that when a TASER hits, the 50,000 volts delivered into the target’s body cancel out his or her brain’s ability to send nerve signals to other parts of the body — for example, telling the arms and legs to get the rest of the body up off the ground and to start running. Once the electrical current stops, the person hit with the TASER can get up basically unaffected.

The TASER conducts its electrical current via two stainless-steel probes attached to individual wires that trail back to the unit. The probes terminate in harpoon-like barbs that penetrate the target’s clothing and skin to deliver electrical energy pulses directly to muscle tissue. Because embedded probes deliver electrical energy across a wide distance (around 2 feet at the ideal range), NMI involves a very great deal of pain. It is simply devastating to the recipient and quite effective at stopping aggression.

Unlike the TASER Bolt, the new TASER Pulse follows the design of law enforcement’s X26P in that the shape and operation are similar to those of a semi-automatic pistol. The power output of both civilian and law enforcement TASERs is 50,000 volts.

Run time is the biggest difference between civilian and law enforcement TASERs. Law enforcement TASERs, which run for five seconds, give police officers a tool to assist with the capture and handcuffing of violent or resistant offenders. If five seconds isn’t enough, the TASER trigger can be pulled again for additional cycles.

Civilian TASERs are meant to give defenders an opportunity to escape. Once the probes are fired and the threat is under the influence of NMI, the civilian defender can put the Bolt or Pulse TASER on the ground and run away while the 30-second cycle is underway.

If the TASER disappears from the scene in the aftermath, TASER will replace the Bolt or Pulse at no charge, as long as there is an accompanying police report to document the incident. No other defensive device manufacturer offers that kind of assistance.

When I became a certified TASER instructor, I was required to take the standard five-second “TASER Ride” (being shot in the back). It was the longest five seconds of my life! I cannot imagine what it would be like to be hooked up to one for 30 seconds. It might be enough to make one give up a life of crime!

Like all CEW TASERs, the Pulse is technically a single-shot weapon; there is only one set of probes fired per TASER cartridge. I say “technically” because even if the probes are fired and miss, the Pulse still has “drive stun” capability via the exposed electrodes at the end of the fired cartridge. By leaving the empty cartridge in place and pulling the trigger again (if it isn’t still running through the cycle), you can deliver a painful contact drive.

The Pulse, as I said, is pistol-shaped. It is about the size of the SIG P365 9mm pistol and weighs only 8 ounces, so it is easily concealed. There are only two operational controls: the safety/power switch and the trigger.

The safety switch is ambidextrous and positioned at the rear of what would be the slide on a handgun. Pushing the safety lever up instantly powers the Pulse via its replaceable lithium power cell. There is a circular TASER logo at the rear of the “slide” that glows green to show when the Pulse is ready with full battery power. The logo changes to yellow when the battery power is starting to get low. The 30-second electrical discharge can be stopped before the time is up simply by pushing the safety lever back down into the off position.

Pushing the safety lever up also activates the built-in LED illuminator and sighting laser located ahead of the trigger guard. The laser dot shows where the top probe will land on the target. The bottom probe will strike below the laser beam, creating a probe spread that increases based on the distance to the target. The probes spread at a rate of roughly 1 foot for every 7 feet of travel. The maximum range of the Pulse and Bolt cartridges is 15 feet, which means your max distance from the threat should be around 12 feet, giving a very effective spread of almost 2 feet. For operation in bright daylight, there is a set of pistol-type sights for aiming when the laser dot is invisible.

The trigger on the Pulse is very easy to operate and feels to be in the 5-pound (or less) range. There is no recoil when the cartridge is fired, as the darts are light and propelled by compressed nitrogen. Firing the cartridge does produce a popping sound.

I had my wife, who is totally blind, test-fire one of the two cartridges that come with the Pulse. The Pulse points more intuitively for her than the Bolt and assisted in her getting a direct hit. I feel quite confident that she could get a solid hit based on her “shadowing sense.”

The TASER Pulse comes with a protective carrying sleeve to prevent accidental activation of the safety lever. The TASER website also has more conventional Kydex and nylon holsters for inside-the-waistband and belt carry, as well as replacement TASER cartridges.

I really like the design of the TASER Pulse, as it is similar to the X26P I carry with the police department. I wish that there were a law enforcement version of the Pulse available because it would take up a lot less room on my gun belt.

The MSRP of the TASER Pulse is $399. When you consider the quality and effectiveness of the Pulse CEW, you will realize that it is an important option in situations when hands and feet aren’t enough and when a firearm might be too much. The Pulse doesn’t come packaged with an instruction manual, as operation requires a lot of information. Instead, Pulse or Bolt users must read a downloadable online manual. TASER products may not be legal everywhere, so check state and local laws and ordinances before purchase.

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