Whether for legal or safety reasons or just personal preference, non-lethal means of self-defense are certainly valid and effective in many situations. PepperBall, “the established leader in non-lethal defense,” loaned TTAG two of their new PepperBall launchers, the TCP and the Compact, to test them out on the range.

Dan and I were fairly surprised by the speed and accuracy of the TCP in particular, which you can see in the Rumble-hosted video embedded above. I expected a clear arc to the flight path of the paintball-like ball, but dang do those things fly straight and true!

The Compact, a single-shot, pen-shaped launcher that weighs just over two ounces, also fires a PepperBall at screaming high velocity in a shockingly straight line. It’s just a bit harder to aim, obviously, considering its form factor and lack of sights.

Within typical self-defense ranges, though, it would be hard to miss.

Twist the collar from “SAFE” to “FIRE” and depress the button. This pierces the top of a compressed nitrogen cartridge (very similar to a pellet gun CO2 cartridge) and an SD PepperBall Projectile leaves the business end in a hurry.

Effective range for kinetic and pepper irritant effect: 30 feet.

For heavier duty use, the TCP provides semi-automatic firing of PepperBalls with an effective range of a whopping 150 feet. Check out PepperBalls “how it works” page HERE.

Each magazine holds six PepperBalls and its own CO2 cartridge.

This way, inserting a new magazine means not only a restock of six PepperBalls, but also swapping for a fresh and full CO2 tank.

The TCP otherwise operates almost exactly like a semi-automatic pistol, with the exception that the slide doesn’t reciprocate and no “charging” of the first ball is necessary. Just insert the magazine and the TCP is ready-to-go.

A thumb button magazine release is basically the same spot you’d expect it to be on a firearm, the trigger works just like a firearm trigger, and the 3-Dot sights are perfectly familiar. The only control that really deviates from a typical pistol is the cross-bolt safety that’s above the front of the trigger guard.

She’s a bit beefy in the hand, but with zero recoil whatsoever — like, nothing at all — it’s a non-issue.

Compared to a SIG P320 Compact it’s obviously quite a bit larger, but the TCP clearly falls within the general footprint of a pistol and, yes, PepperBall offers holsters for it.

Unfortunately Dan and I are both big babies and neither of us volunteered to be shot by the other with PepperBalls designed to be both painful on impact and painful and irritating and incapacitating upon bursting with a cloud of PAVA powder. We’re accepting applications for human guinea pigs, though, so please apply below in the comments.

Outside of testing the efficacy of the pepper incapacitation itself, we’re able to report that the TCP and the Compact operate as advertised. Again, we were very surprised at the accuracy of the TCP and at its ease of use.

If you’re looking for a non-lethal self-defense option, PepperBall has lots of ’em for both consumer and law enforcement.

TCP Specs:

​Weight: 1.71Lbs/ .77Kg
Length: 8″/ 20cm
Height: 6.5″/ 16.5cm
Caliber: .68
Action: Semi- auto
Power: 8g CO2/ 1.3gN2
MSRP: $399.99

Compact Specs:

Size: 6.9” L x 0.7” W x 1.65” H
Weight: 2.5 OZ
Maximum Launch Distance: 30 Feet
Capacity: 1 Round
Air Source: N2 Gas Under Pressure
Recommended Operation Temperature: 20℉ to 125℉
Kinetic Impact: 7-14 Joules of Energy
MSRP: $24.99


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