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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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  1. Jeremy put on a heavy sweatshirt and a good pair of goggles and take one…or two for the team…video is always appreciated.

    Inquiring minds want to know.

    Is it just me or does the TCP look like a Bumble Bee edition Hi-Point?

  2. I looked into this for my church’s security team, but the company won’t ship pepperballs to CA. Only inert rubber pellets. 🙁

    If because of CA law, then it makes no sense. We can walk into any Walmart and buy pepper spray off the shelf (no proof of age!) or have full OC “bear” spray shipped, but not pepperballs?

    • I’d try it. I’ve never been Pepper sprayed, so i don’t have a basis for testing, but I’m curious.

      • Sucks to a level that varies based on pain tolerance inflammation response and how thoroughly you get sprayed. Then if you do not wash thoroughly it sucks again if you sweat or shower. Great for discouraging but unreliable at best for stopping.

  3. with these you will look like a old west gunfighter Glock/Taser/pepperball gun/night stick.and spare ammo for everything..all on a sam-brown to keep your pants up…

  4. How about squirrels? I do not want to kill them just get them used to the idea smell pepper its ouch time so they leave the lychee trees alone. That way I can spray some pepper juice in the trees and maybe not bite marks in so many fruits.
    For crows hanging old CD’s all over works well and I have many old AOL and Prodigy and such disk still. I used to grab handfuls of them any chance I could for this purpose.

    Squirrels ignore the dancing lights.

  5. I had a paint ball gun for use with the well-fed dogs let loose by city slickers when they come up here to vacation homes (the boonies of northern California). I figured big green splotches on their pooch would be a damn fine clue by four, even for citidiots. Unfortunately, I got so few chances to actually use it that the seals went bad from disuse, and the paintballs went out of round. $400 is too much for this purpose.

    • That’s exactly why I’m considering a paintball gun…for the raccoons that come to my yard every Summer and tear up my grass lawns…

  6. For a moment I thought they brought back the Taurus TCP. Wish I hadn’t sold it…I carry a SabreRed pepper gel thing everywhere it’s quasi legal. The tiny one. Mostly for non-human dog’s. THIS looks pretty badass. 150feet?!?

  7. The TCP looks like a fun toy but I can’t wait for someone to let loose with their EDC thinking they’d grabbed the TCP. I’m not fond of relying on non-lethal self-defense tools if one deems his/her/its life is actually in danger.

    And if you’d cut loose with one of these on some swaggering, loud-mouthed, drunk unarmed bully-type, or probably even an Antifa terrorist with a liquid cement jug said defender would likely be looking at some real time and loss of gun rights. I can see the overzealous antigun prosecutor claiming you were using the gun shape for intimidation. Become a potential felon for using a high-powered paintball gun? No, thanks.

  8. there was a rash of random paintball attacks locally last summer, one victim lost the use of an eye (a few vid’s on utoob). next will be these things launched into closing elevator doors and edited to show the passengers exiting on their floor of choice.
    probably a good thing the pells are about four a piece.

  9. I am sure their paintball launchers are fine but . . . you really just need the pepper balls or the plastic + metal balls that use kinetic energy to thwart a threat. You can get a better launcher for the MSRP here of 399. You can get an equivalent launcher for much less. 400 bucks for a paintball gun is way high. The only advantage w/ this offering is its small size but you can get sport paintball markers of roughly the same size but cheaper. For around 60 USD I put together a .50 cal that I can shoot 1/2 ball bearings out of. As soon as these markers get a self-defense label the price sky rockets.

  10. If they made one in a PCP rifle version, capable of launching their “glass breaker” balls at around 1200-1300 FPS, I’d buy one!

    You do non-lethal your way, and I’ll do it mine…

  11. I have one of these as well as 3 Byrna’s , the Burna is a more compact gun , not quite as compact as your EDC gun but still a good deal smaller than the TCP. I would still buy another TCP and even the kits I see to make them into a carbine. and there are extended magazines for it as well. but the Byrna can stay loaded for long priods of time because you only pop the CO2 when you pull the trigger. and there are some you tube videos showing live fire with the pepper balls. I have 2 of the compact single shot launchers for jogging at night. and you can get ( see Pyramid Air) .43 caliber CO2 guns from Umarex that look like Walther PPQ and S&W M&P guns. these will also launch pepper balls and knetetic balls and are exzact sized replicas of the guns they mimmic . and RIOT BALLS have .68 and . caliber balls for sale . I just shot some .43 cal balls through 2 cardboard boxes from my PPQ. these are good options to have when you just can’t shoot someone . the .68 cal Roit Balls will work in the Byrna and TCP launchers. ( just google ROIT BALLS and they will come up). and for the guns on Pyramid Air , search for the “paint marker” pistols.

  12. Pointing anything that looks like a pistol and someone seems, to me, to be a really good way to get shot with a real gun.

  13. Almost all ‘less lethal’ weapons seem like a poor idea for actual defensive uses against humans. This isn’t the worst (I think batons take the cake for the least useful and most legally perilous) but I’ve seen too many people fight right through pepper spray to want to rely on it.

    I think the best thing for (non lethal) self defense is federal courts continuing to force states to allow the purchase and carry of tasers. It’s not like they always work but when they do work, they work really well. Very little risk of ‘friendly fire’ via the air, as well.


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