Shockingly Carryable

The Taser Pulse and Kimber PepperBlaster: Effective less-lethal additions to your defensive battery.
; .

The Taser is legal in most jurisdictions and models come with lights and other options. Sometimes
“less-lethal” is a better option than a firearm.

Guns can be expensive, difficult to master and uncomfortable to sit on during a long car trip. The point of all this inconvenience is the capacity to dissuade some opportunistic ne’er-do-well from visiting harm upon you or someone else.

But the practical application of deadly force is always a messy, emotionally devastating, life-changing event. I have seen my share of gory death, and it is invariably horrible regardless of the circumstances or justification. But technology brings us some interesting tools that allow us to protect ourselves without it ending in someone’s funeral. While there are literally hundreds of options for less-than-lethal self defense tools, two percolate up to the surface.


The Taser Pulse is a gun-like Conducted Energy Weapon designed to incapacitate at ranges up to 15 feet.
It’s compact, simple to use and intended for security-minded civilians.

The Taser Pulse is packed and handled like a compact firearm of comparable size.
The edges are rounded for easy carry, and the controls are intuitive.

The Taser can be holstered concealed just like a firearm, but usually without the issues
of illegal carry associated with guns in most jurisdictions. But, you need to check into what
the laws are governing carrying something like a Taser where you live, travel or work.

A Charge Outta This

The Taser is a Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW) wherein compressed nitrogen gas is used to propel a pair of barbed darts attached to lengths of thin wire. Once the darts are affixed to the target, a high-voltage jolt of electricity is transmitted through the wires. This disrupts the electrical command system controlling muscles. This phenomenon is called neuromuscular incapacitation, and it is quite painful, rendering an aggressor inert and compliant without causing long-term harm.

The Taser concept was pioneered by a NASA engineer in 1969 and has subsequently been deployed with law enforcement, military and civilian users around the globe. According to the Taser website, more than 18,000 LE agencies use the Taser and there have been more than 3 million recorded operational uses of it. More than 162,000 lives have been saved or serious injuries avoided as a result of using a Taser. Military and LE versions have a range of 35-feet while civilian versions are restricted to 15-feet. Taser devices are available with built-in lights and lasers for accurate use in low-light environments and replaceable cartridges spill out tiny pieces of paper with the device’s serial number upon firing, making it easier for police to track their use.

The newest civilian version of the Taser is called the Taser Pulse. The Pulse looks like a typical compact defensive handgun replete with rounded curves, a thumb-activated safety, a trigger in the expected spot and low-profile sights. The Pulse has an integral targeting laser and LED illuminator. The onboard battery is adequate for fifty 30-second firings and there is an illuminated battery status indicator light. Pulse cartridges are readily replaceable and the device comes with two.

The Taser is not classified as a firearm by the BATF and is available freely in 45 of the 50 states. Some of these states do put restrictions on the possession and use of these devices, but the Taser carries a substantially smaller legal burden than a conventional pistol. While there have been a number of high-profile cases wherein subjects have died after the use of a Taser, the device is safer than a firearm for those on the receiving end to an enormous degree. The Taser Pulse costs about the same as a typical defensive handgun.


The Kimber PepperBlaster offers a non-lethal option for discouraging aggressive behavior without
the legal and moral baggage of a live firearm. It deploys “like” a firearm (as Will shows here) but remember,
it can’t always stop as reliably. It’s still a good option to have at hand.

The original PepperBlaster has a built-in belt clip and is just as cute as a button. The sleek inoffensive
lines belie the burning mischief lurking within.

Feelin’ The Burn

Kimber 1911 pistols fill the holsters of a great many folks who pack a gun for a living as well as those cvilians who defend home and hearth across America. While their professional reputation is built upon firearms, Kimber also offers a unique less-than-lethal defensive product that is superbly executed.

At its heart the Kimber PepperBlaster is a high-tech Swiss-made polymer device that incorporates a pair of pre-charged cylinders of 10 percent oleoresin capsicum. This intensely irritating substance is found in cayenne peppers at 4 million Scoville Heat Units (by comparison, your little Thai hot pepper can reach 100,000 SHU). After a little research, I’ve concluded you just don’t want to get any of it on you.

Each cylinder is driven by a pyrotechnic power charge so there are no pressurized containers to lose their spunk over time. The trigger is a manual double action that fires one cylinder with the first press and then automatically cycles to the second with another stroke. Trigger pull is about 6.6 pounds.

If there’s no wind, each blast produces about a 12-inch pattern out to 13-feet. The irritant agent discharges from the device at around 130 feet per second. Minimum safe engagement range is 2-feet. At closer ranges there is a very real probability of incapacitating the operator. The effective operating temperature is between -4º and 140º F. While not waterproof, the device is water resistant.

The ergonomics of the Kimber device are as well-reasoned as are those of their firearms. The original PepperBlaster I is a rectangular module that bears no similarity to a firearm. When affixed via a belt clip, the device looks more like a cell phone or insulin pump than a weapon. The PepperBlaster II incorporates a modest pistol grip and a set of rudimentary sights, so it strikes a slightly more gunlike pose perched on your waist.

Both versions incorporate a built-in swing-away safety device to prevent accidental firing. To discharge the PepperBlaster, slip your finger into the triggerguard from either side. This pushes the safety aside in a natural fashion, requiring no conscious thought. However, the safety does a splendid job of preventing an accidental discharge when carried in a pocket or cluttered purse.

The PepperBlaster is not terrifically expensive. I picked up enough to equip my wife, my three kids, my mom and my car. Check local laws for legality in your particular area. For certain defensive applications against both two- and four-legged predators, the PepperBlaster is a great alternative to a firearm.


The PepperBlaster comes in two styles. The original PepperBlaster is a rectangular device
looking more like a cell phone or insulin pump than a weapon.

The PepperBlaster II strikes a more sinister pose on your belt, but with sights and a modest
pistol grip, is easier to use effectively. Both designs offer two separate shots of concentrated irritant.

At the “muzzle” end, each PepperBlaster has two multiple channel openings to allow the
irritant to be “blasted” out once the trigger is pulled. You get two “shots.”

The safety mechanism on both Kimber models slides aside unconsciously when the device is
gripped for firing but is sufficient to prevent an accidental discharge inside pocket or purse.

The Taser dart is driven by compressed nitrogen and trails two thin wires to conduct electricity from the weapon.

The Big Picture

At the end of the day, all we really want is to keep ourselves and our families safe in the face of a world that at times seems awash in violence and madness. While a proper defensive handgun stoked with proper defensive bullets and wielded by a trained and determined user is the gold standard, the Taser Pulse and the Kimber PepperBlaster represent some interesting less-than-lethal alternatives. Even if you carry a gun regularly, these devices likely have a viable place in your world.

For adults not yet old enough to carry a live weapon or those whose local ordinances restrict the right to self-defense with firearms, a Taser or PepperBlaster might be a good option. In many cases, these devices are legal on college campuses, in the workplace or in urban areas where conventional firearms are restricted or banned outright. If nothing else, every 18-year-old college coed should carry a PepperBlaster. Mine does.

While there are some limitations to these two devices, under the right circumstances they can be remarkably effective. Additionally, they do not carry as much moral, legal or emotional baggage as a more lethal platform. If your circumstances warrant, the Taser Pulse and the Kimber PepperBlaster are effective less-lethal options.

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