Following the earlier study by Symonds and Fleming [Int. J. Impact Engng 2, 1-36 (1984)], this paper examines certain features of the deformation of an elastic-plastic cantilever beam carrying a tip mass which is subjected to a short pulse loading. The role of elastic deformation in establishing the final distribution of deformation is described and the extent to which rigid-plastic analysis models the deformation process is discussed. Attention is drawn to the experimental support which exists for the predictions of the elastic-plastic analysis.