Abstract Measurements of impulsive forces and pressures by means of the elastic bar require that the effect of waves’ dispersion in the bar on the sensor's output signal be corrected. The correction problem can be solved using deconvolution techniques. For this purpose it is necessary to determine the elastic bar's transfer functions. In this paper, an experimental method of determining the elastic bar's transfer functions in form of formulas is described, which can be used to reconstruct the input waveform. The method is based on: one-point measurement of the elastic strain waves propagating inside the bar, the spectral analysis of these waves and making use of the general solution of the equation of movement of the bar in the frequency domain. The determined transfer functions of the bar are used for impulsive strain waveform reconstruction by means of deconvolution in the frequency domain, and for the validity check of the reconstruction. The application of this method to the reconstruction of impulsive force waveforms generated by the mechanical impact of bodies is presented.