If you want to defend yourself, but don't want to carry a firearm, TASER (which, amusingly, stands for Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle) thinks it has the answer: it's called the Pulse and it's a new, subcompact self-defense weapon meant for easy concealed carry.
About the size of a carry-focused handgun, the Pulse uses the same electrical tech as TASER's police-focused weapons, but without expensive law enforcement-focused add-ons like data logs, charge metering, and an on-board camera. It starts at $399, and includes an on-board laser sight and flashlight.
It includes some nice features to make things easier for concealed carry, including shaved safeties, angled sights, and an angled trigger guard to keep sharp edges from snagging upon draw or reholster, and a user-replaceable battery. TASER says a dozen brand-name holster manufacturers will be releasing holsters designed for it, too.
The $400 price puts it in the same ballpark as some of the more affordable subcompact, concealed-carry firearms like the Walther PK380 and the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380.
Though "less-lethal" weapons like those made by TASER are popular with police departments, they have had more trouble making inroads in the consumer sector. That's for two reasons: they're expensive and the weapons are physically quite large, and thus not good for concealment.
The consumer version of the X26, TASER's police-focused sidearm, runs around a thousand dollars and is enormous. It's something one could conceivable keep around the house or in a car, but it's not practical to carry in a holster or hide in a bag. The other consumer-focused TASER is the C2, which has been around for almost a decade and doesn't use the easy and familiar firearm shape and grip. It starts at $300.
TASER says it will offer free replacement weapons to anyone who needs to deploy the Pulse, then drop it and run — the gun will continue immobilizing for 30 seconds, allowing time to escape an attacker.
The Pulse will begin shipping in the next few months, with preorders starting now from TASER's website. TASER weapons are illegal in a number of states and jurisdictions, including Washington, DC, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and a number of other cities and counties. A number of states require background checks, as well.