It has been proposed by Cook (Phys. Scr. T 21, 49 (1988)) to use a short probe laser pulse for state measurements of two-level systems. In previous work we have investigated to what extent this proposal fulfills the projection postulate if ideal photon detectors are considered. For detectors with overall efficiency less than 1 complications arise for single systems, and for this case we present a simple criterion for a laser pulse to act as a state measurement and to cause an almost complete state reduction.