There are many ways to defend yourself. Firearms, knives, and martial arts to name just a few. However, many people overlook pepper spray as an option in some circumstances.
Sure, we focus on firearms on this site, and for good reason. But being prepared and equiped for any circumstance is what we are all about.
I know many of you are going to say "I don't need pepper spray, I carry a gun". While this may be true for you, pepper spray does have its uses. While I do encourge everyone who can leagally carry a gun to do so, below are a few instances where pepper spray could be a good idea.
- You Are Under Legal Age to Possess Firearms
- You Have a Felony Record
- You Want a Non-Lethal Solution
- You Must Travel Where Firearms Are Not Permitted
While there are many more reasons, lets continue on to further understand pepper spray.
What is pepper spray?
Pepper spray is a type of weapon that provides protection and self-defense to escape from a frightening situation. The main ingredient that helps pepper spray become effective is oleoresin capsicum, which is an oil that is in various types of peppers. This oil is what gives the spicy taste in a hot pepper, and one milligram is all it takes to cause someone to form blisters on their skin.
If an individual begins to feel threatened by another person, they can easily take out a can of pepper spray and spray the person, which causes pain in the eyes and face and gives the victim time to flee.
Why use pepper spray?
Pepper spray is easy to carry and easy to use. It can easily be carried in a backpack or a purse; it can also connect to a keychain or be stored in a pocket.
A can of pepper spray can easily be out of sight while a person is enjoying a meal out with family, and it can quickly be ready in the person's hands once they are walking to their vehicle alone. Pepper spray will not usually kill someone; it is meant to just slow them down, which will make it easier for the victim to get away quickly. Additionally, pepper spray is typically easy to buy, unlike knives or firearms. It can even be bought online if unable to travel to a store.
Another reason to use pepper spray is that it really works and is effective. Police officers often use it to spray criminals, which is an indicator that it works well. Pepper spray causes the person who is sprayed to experience coughing, temporary blindness, burning on the skin, and itching.
The main reason for a person to use pepper spray is to keep themselves safe and prepared. If a person has pepper spray on them at all times and knows how to use it properly, they can decrease their chances of being fatally harmed. It is easy to think that nothing will ever happen, but it is better to always be prepared. Pepper spray will buy enough time to run from the scene and find or call for help.
How to use pepper spray?
It is extremely significant to understand how to properly use pepper spray as well as practicing how to use it. If a person purchases pepper spray and does not know how to use it, it will not be effective in a dangerous situation where it is needed. Also, if a person does not practice using pepper spray, it could end up being pointless because in stressful situations we tend to forget. If it becomes a routine of practice, it will become a habit easily ready to use.
Carrying and Operating
First, the person must learn how to easily grab the pepper spray from wherever it is stashed and get it ready to spray. This should be something to practice often to prepare for any situations that may occur in the future.
A great idea is to practice by putting the pepper spray in different locations, whether a book bag or a key chain, and determine what works best. The goal is to acquire a fast, trouble-free draw of the pepper spray. In addition, most pepper sprays have a carrying case, which can be released ahead of time if the person feels like they are entering a risky area or situation.
The main objective is to have the pepper spray easily accessible and ready to be used as quickly as possible.
Almost every pepper spray has a safety feature on it. The person who is planning to use the pepper spray should become comfortable with the safety feature by practicing releasing the safety, which should be simple and easy. This is part of the process of grabbing the pepper spray and getting it ready to use, and these steps should become a quick, smooth motion together.
Next, the goal is to spray the person who is a threat in the face. Pepper spray was created to mainly burn an attacker's eyes and face, so the aiming point is a person's facial area. However, it is important to note that during an actual altercation,it will not be as easy because the attacker will actually be fighting back.
During the process of grabbing the spray, the person should step back to establish distance between them and the attacker to decrease the chances of being hit. The individual should remember to keep their hands up to protect their own face and body.
It is also necessary for a person to know not to feel like they must extend their hand with the spray out so far because the spray will reach the person within 15 feet or more.
It is a common instinct to hesitate and close one's eyes while being attacked or preparing to spray pepper spray. However, if a person closes their eyes it will not protect them from any pepper spray, and they need to be alert and aware of the person attacking them.
Once the spray begins coming out, it is important to fan it back and forth to make up for any bad aiming.
Lastly, the individual being attacked should yell while being attacked. It is crucial to practice this as well because it is common to become quiet and nervous in scary situations.
By yelling, the assailant will become alarmed due to the fact that others may hear the yelling and come to help. Sometimes pepper spray takes a few minutes to work, so it is beneficial to prepare to hit or kick the attacker while spraying the pepper spray.
Furthermore, anyone who is planning to use pepper spray must prepare to be hit with drops of the pepper spray as well because it can come out in different directions after sitting for some time. In addition, the spray can be blown in various directions by the wind on a breezy day.
Mace vs Pepper Spray
Mace used to be totally different than pepper spray, but it is now a brand name for a line of self-defense pepper sprays.
People can choose the brand name Mace, or a different brand name of pepper spray, and both will work effectively. Mace has the same main ingredient as other brands of pepper spray, which is Oleoresin Capsicum.
As long as this ingredient is found in the pepper spray, then it will remain effective and beneficial for self-defense against persons committing harmful acts.
Is pepper spray legal?
It is important to note that any form of pepper spray is not allowed on an airplane or in carry on luggage. Some airlines allow a small amount in checked baggage. Please check with your airline for their policy.
In every state, pepper spray is legal to carry and use during self-defense. However, there are a few states that regulate the use of pepper spray.
- In the state of Massachusetts, a firearm identification card is required in order to purchase or have a pepper spray product for the use on humans; pepper spray for animals has no regulation in Massachusetts.
- In New York, individuals interested in purchasing pepper spray must do so from a licensed firearms dealer or a pharmacist. Also, the individual must be at least 18 years old to purchase and sign a document stating they are indeed 18 years or older. Additionally, the state of New York does not allow shipping pepper spray products.
- Wisconsin requires sprays be made of only pepper, and it prohibits any ingredients of tear gas, UV dyes, or combinations. Sprays containing the ingredient of oleoresin capsicum cannot be stronger than a 10 percent solution, and the can is only allowed to be between 15 to 60 grams and must have a safety feature on it.
- Washington, D.C. requires all persons that have any types of pepper sprays to register with the DC Metropolitan police.
- The state of Michigan does not allow oleoresin capsicum pepper spray to be stronger than 2 percent concentrate. CS is the only tear gas permitted and is prohibited from exceeding 1.2 ounces in each can, and UV dyes are not allowed at all.
- In California, it is completely illegal to buy, own, or use any pepper spray products that contain more than 2.5 ounces of aerosol spray.
- In the state of Texas, it is permitted to own a small can of pepper spray, but it is not permitted to own any larger cans.
Best Pepper Spray Options
There are many different options of pepper spray products to choose from, but SABRE is one of the best brands you can find. Below are three of the best options availibe on Amazon.
SABRE Red Pepper Gel
Pepper gel does not atomize like traditional pepper spray, meaning it virtually eliminates wind blowback and only affects what it directly contacts, plus it offers a 20% greater range.
SABRE 3-in-1 Pepper Spray
SABRE's advanced 3-in-1 formula includes max strength pepper spray, CS tear gas for enhanced burning and UV marking dye to help ID suspect.
Compact and budget friendly!
SABRE Pepper Spray Keychain
SABRE's professional-grade OC Spray in an easy to carry keychain. Availible in a few colors and priced very low.
While pepper spray is not my first choice for self defense, I believe that it does have a role to play. Pepper spray is a great non-lethal option for situational use. It is also a great option for those who don't have the option to carry a firearm.
With the price of the above options so low, it never hurts to have some on hand.