The momentum balance method which is based on the impulse-momentum principle is used to study the transverse impact of a simply supported composite beam. In this method the effects of local contact behavior is accounted for through the use of an appropriate coefficient of restitution obtained from an elastic-plastic contact law. This greatly simplifies the problem by decoupling the equations of motion, and for the problem studied, facilitates an analytical solution. The momentum balance solution is compared to the numerical solution of the same problem using the nonlinear elastic-plastic contact law. The proposed method gives very good results for the post impact behavior of both the impacter and the beam. In certain cases, it yields satisfactory results for the dynamic behavior even during contact. The momentum balance method, with an appropriate coefficient of restitution obtained from the contact law, is physically the same as using the contact law itself, with the difference that the local deformation is neglected.