Stun gun manufacturer TASER has addressed what the company says is customers' biggest complaint -- size -- with a weapon so small it can fit in a purse or pocket.
Unveiled this week at the annual SHOT Show in Las Vegas, the TASER Pulse starts at $399. It's 5.25 inches long, about the same as a smartphone, while it's 4.5-inches tall and slightly more than 1 inch wide. Everything about its look is geared toward consumers.
"The biggest complaint [from customers] was usually the size," Steve Tuttle, vice president of communications at TASER told ABC News. "People would say, 'I like it but it's more for the nightstand.' While it's a great nightstand device, that doesn't help it when you're out and about."
The name TASER has become synonymous for stun gun, despite a variety of other models on the market. Founded 22 years ago in Arizona, the company has always sold to consumers, but the bulk of their sales come from law enforcement agencies, which not only buy TASERs for their officers, but also the company's body cameras.
While it's just a fraction of the size of the bulkier TASERs of the past, the PULSE still packs a similar punch, thanks to internal technological advancements that make the hardware smaller without sacrificing efficiency, Tuttle said.
"We've made it more efficient at doing what it's supposed to do -- cause a muscle contraction so much you can't do any coordinated action," Tuttle said. "It's causing these special muscle contractions 19 times per second."
While an older model of the TASER may have taken eight AA batteries, Tuttle said the PULSE is powered by two tiny lithium batteries, similar to those found in a camera. TASER was also able to take out the industrial features only law enforcement needs, such as data logs, pulse logging and charge metering, to make the weapon even more compact.
Another difference is PULSE works for 30 seconds, compared to the five seconds police get. While police may move in for an arrest, the thought process behind the 30-second action is civilians will need time to escape a threat.
"You deploy it, put it on the ground and leave the device behind." Tuttle said. "It's not worth your life."
TASERs are not considered firearms by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and are legal for civilian use in 45 states, with the exceptions of New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Hawaii.
Tuttle said when users purchase a device, TASER has their information and registers their stun gun to them, ensuring personal accountability for a TASER to be used in the case of self-defense, rather than to commit a crime. In cases of self-defense where a weapon is left behind, Tuttle said TASER will even offer a replacement.
"When you deploy the weapon, it deploys 20 pieces of confetti that match back to owner of device, so if you're going to use it, you're going to leave 20 to 30 business cards at the scene of the crime." he said.
The PULSE is available for pre-order and is set to begin shipping sometime late this quarter, TASER's website said.