When fired, the pulse pistol suffers from a small delay before discharging, due to it building up the charge for the pulse. This results in the need to continue aiming on target after pulling the trigger to ensure a hit. As a weapon, the pulse pistol is only effective against robots and power armor opponents, since it only delivers a small amount of impact damage otherwise.
Because of the amount of impact damage and the EMP bonus damage being constant, it is essentially unaffected by different ammunition types, perks, chems and energy weaponskill level. Additionally, the pulse pistol is also ineffective against NCR salvaged power armor, mainly due to the fact that the armor has had all its joint servomotors removed and is no longer power armor in the traditional sense.
The pulse gun can fire a total of about 495 times using standard cells, the equivalent of 99 reloads, from full condition before breaking.