Pepper Spray

Discussion in 'Equipment & Survival Kits' started by rainbowgardens, Nov 9, 2008.

  1. rainbowgardens

    rainbowgardens Well-Known Member

    I have decided I need to buy some pepper spray for myself and my daughters. I keep meaning to check at Wal-mart to see if they sell it. Anyone know if they carry it? If not, where would I look? Gander Mountain or other sporting store?
    I know nothing about pepper spray, so I would love advice on how to safely keep and use it. I have no small children to be worried about getting hold of it.
  2. ke4sky

    ke4sky ke4sky

    Chemical Defensive Sprays - OC Class Orientation Handout

    The purpose of chemical defensive spray is to create an opportunity to get away from an attack and flee to safety.

    OC (oleoresin capsicum) is an oily extract of pepper plants of the genus Capsicum and is an organic inflammatory agent.[/B] Contact with mucous membranes (eyes, nose, throat, and lungs) causes immediate temporary blindness and instant inflammation of the breathing tissues causing severe restriction of breathing. OC effects last from 45 minutes to over an hour. It dissipates from an enclosed area after about 25 minutes of airing out.

    OC is the best deterrent available for attacking dogs and wild animal control. Response to OC is involuntary and not dependent on a pain response. OC is not volatile and does not give off fumes; it only affects areas that it touches. This means OC must be dispensed as an aerosol, which allows it to be properly inhaled into the lungs. Persons exposed to OC spray should decontaminate as soon as possible using fresh running water and seek medical assessment and treatment as soon as possible.

    Pepper spray is legal in most states. Although some states limit its use to law enforcement only, most states place little or no restriction on its purchase.

    Where Can I Carry Pepper Spray? If it is otherwise legal in your state, it may be carried everywhere, except airports. It is prohibited at all airports so do not carry it there or pack it in checked or carry-on baggage.

    What is my Legal Liability with Pepper Spray? Using any personal defense weapon in an offensive (rather than defensive) manner constitutes a criminal act and may (and probably will) be prosecuted under the law. However, if you perceive a threat and use the spray in a strictly defensive manner, you should have no legal liability if your state had no restrictions on the sale and use of pepper sprays.

    Pepper sprays have been proven more effective than firearms against aggressive animals. Most animal confrontations occur either in suburban areas or within the boundaries of state or national parks where firearms are forbidden. Pepper spray is NOT a substitute for a firearm. If you are attacked with deadly force, you should respond with deadly force.

    Many defensive sprays sold for civilian use contain food grade capsaicin, which is less expensive. Food grade OC is lower in capsaicin content and "heat," and is heavy and oily, making it more difficult to dissolve and aerosolize. In poorly formulated food grade capsaicin spray, the capsaicin may separate from the propellant. Being lighter than the propellant, the capsaicin floats to the top. Because spray cans are designed with dip tubes, the contents in the bottom of the can are expelled first. Unless shaken, this means you first discharge mostly propellant and when you finally do get to the pepper, rather than spraying as a fine aerosol, you get "beads" of pepper which are less effective. Military and law enforcement specifications require pharmaceutical grade pure capsaicin, which is more expensive but makes a cleaner, more effective product.

    Effects of Pepper Spray - The capsaicinoid content of extracts used in pepper sprays varies widely among manufacturers, from 1.2% for common animal repellants to a maximum of 12.6% for law enforcement use. Because the concentration of extract used varies, the effects associated with exposurevary by as much as 30-fold among different brands of OC sprays. Exposure to OC spray may occur through skin or eye contact, or inhalation. Once inhaled, it can be expectorated or ingested. With acute exposure, there is rapid onset of symptoms including burning, nausea, fear and disorientation.

    Skin Exposure - Exposure of skin to OC spray causes tingling, intense burning pain, swelling, redness, and rarely, blistering. Multiple exposures of skin or mucous membranes over a period of seconds or minutes exaggerate the response. Capsaicin augments allergic sensitization and worsens allergic dermatitis. Exposure may diminish sensitivity to heat or chemical-induced pain, thus increasing the risk and severity of skin burns.

    Respiratory Exposure - Respiratory responses to OC spray include burning of the throat, wheezing, dry cough, shortness of breath, gagging, gasping, inability to breathe or speak, and, rarely, cyanosis, apnea, and respiratory arrest. Nasal application of capsaicin causes sneezing, irritation, and reflex mucus secretion. Inhalation may cause acute hypertension (similar to ammonia inhalation), which may increase risk of stroke or heart attack.

    Eye Exposure - Common ocular symptoms associated with OC spray exposure include redness, swelling, severe burning pain, stinging, inflammation, an involuntary or reflex closing of the eyelids. Ocular exposure to OC should be treated by flushing for at least 15 minutes with fresh water.

    Problems with Pepper Spray- Serious adverse health effects, even death, have followed the use of OC sprays. These sprays should be regarded as poisons or weapons and kept away from children and teenagers. The risks of OC spray use by adults for self-defense has not been clinically studied, and its effectiveness as a crime deterrent is unknown.

    Types of OC Spray Nozzles - OC that is discharged in a stream (like a squirt gun) is the least effective because the defender must be able to aim the stream exactly into the assailant’s eyes, nose, or mouth. While under an attack and under the effect of an adrenalin rush, most people's aim is not sufficient to properly deploy the stream of OC at an attacker. Assailants may more easily protect themselves by turning their heads or covering their faces with their arms.

    A more effective form of OC dispersal is a 4 oz. canister using a fogger type nozzle. Fogger canisters are the most common type carried by law enforcement. This fog will discharge to about 15 ft., enveloping an attacker's face and head, which almost ensures that the atomized droplets of OC will get into the attacker's eyes, on the skin of the face, and be inhaled into the nose and lungs where it will be most effective. Even if the assailant is covering his or her face or trying to hold his or her breath, the defender, by using short bursts, will still get the desired repellant effect.

    For civilian use, the conical mist nozzle may be the best to use. Conical mist nozzle canisters come in smaller sizes from 1/2 oz. up to 4 oz. and are a good compromise between the fogger and the stream. The conical mist emits its fog in a much smaller diameter than the fogger, but with the same pressure. Good out to 12 ft., it uses less OC per spray so you get a more sprays per canister making it more economical for the ordinary person.

    How Often Should I Replace My Canister of Pepper Spray? - There is no "expiration" date on pepper spray itself since capsaicin is does not deteriorate but the propellant may deteriorate. Since effectiveness is of utmost importance, it is recommended that canisters be replaced every three years.

    Are the Pocket Size or Key Ring Sprays Effective? - Given the size of the container and the size and type of nozzle, it is almost impossible to have effective distance, pattern, or aerosolization. These types of sprays may also give the holder a false sense of security since the holder is relying on an ineffective means of defense.

    What about an Ultraviolet (UV) dye in pepper spray? UV dyes are marketing hype. Most products claiming to have a UV dye have no UV dye at all. Pepper sprays contain caretinoids, the red pigment in red pepper extract. This is what certain companies are referring to as their "dye". The presence of UV dye may render a pepper spray less stable, shortening its shelf life.

    Gregory Smith, MD, MPH, and Woodhall Stopford, MD, MSPH (North Carolina Medical Journal)
    OC Spray Evaluation
    Health Hazards of Pepper Spray

  3. JeepHammer

    JeepHammer Well-Known Member

    I have taught womens (and battered womens) self defense classes for several years, and we try to teach people not to rely on a 'Crutch' like pepper spray...

    The reasoning is, you will usually miss several opportunities to strike and escape while you are digging around for the pepper spray.

    It's much better to teach them how to properly use natural instinctive actions to their advantage.
    (not a bunch of 'martial arts' dance moves, but actual strikes to soft tissue in the natural reflex reaction)

    Things like, if someone grabs you by the throat, jab him in the throat or eyes, instead of try to grab at his hands or arms.
    Your hands are coming up anyway, it's natural self preservation instinct in action...

    Trigger his natural 'Flee' or 'Self Preservation' instinct and he WILL let go so you can run!
    Besides, no one chases you after he's taken a gouge to the eyes! Too much tearing and instant pain!

    If I were you, I'd check gun shops or places like pawn shops or military surplus stores, they usually have it.

    I think it's a REALLY GOOD IDEA to have something like that since you haven't taken any of the self defense classes.

    Remember, 'BEAR SPRAY' is MUCH harder on the assailant than regular old OC sold for human purposes!

    Something I gave my niece when she was going to school in Illinois where they simply REFUSE to allow people to carry handguns and all criminals expect unarmed citizens...

    A 12 Gauge Flair Pistol, the bright orange kind they sell for boaters.
    You hear the 'BANG!', and see something about an inch in diameter, FLAMING!, coming at you, you don't hang around to find out what it was!
    (an Illinois state trooper told be it's perfectly legal to carry 'Signaling Devices' and he recommends it to his own daughter that went to the same school!)

    As for 'Pepper Spray', this is the one I recommend,
    Fox Labs Pepper Spray, Hottest & Best

    Just about a 1/4 second burst of this stuff cleared out an entire seminar room for over two hours!
    This stuff is POTENT!

    Here is a link where you can study up on pepper spray,
    Pepper spray - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  4. gysgtdchsr7292

    gysgtdchsr7292 Member

    I've used it against Aligators, skunks and dogs, works pretty well, makes them leave the area. I've also used it against large groups fighting, sprayed above their heads and they left the area. I even used it on a fellow trying to grab a .44 mag. He lost. Hard to find your gun when your hands are clutched to your eyes. I've been sprayed with it to be able to carry it (Law Enforcement) I prefer the mist type over the foam or stream. Only thing I can say about that is you better be up wind when you spray or you will reap what you sow! I carry it when I can't carry a hand gun. Doesn't even cause a stir. I used "CapStun" brand by ZARC Ind. but don't know if they are still in business.

    I like the flare gun idea, may try giving one to my wife. The flare gun pen style so that she wouldn't be as intimidated by it.
  5. ke4sky

    ke4sky ke4sky

    Bear Spray Not more Potent than LE, but more of it

  6. JeepHammer

    JeepHammer Well-Known Member

    Actually, if you take a look at what I actually wrote, you will find that I'm correct...

    Bear spray is harder on an assailant for a number of reasons,
    1. The amount of 'OC' isn't an issue, it's what kind of OC is used and what is it's 'Scoville Heat Unit' Rating?
    Bear Spray uses a MUCH more potent type of OC that isn't really used against humans since it has a tendency to etch eye lenses and blister skin.
    With bears we don't have such considerations since blistering skin isn't going to happen with thick fur.

    2. The added oils often will blister skin, and bear spray often marks the aggressor with florescent dye for later identification.

    3. Propellants in bear spray will often adversely effect the skin/eyes/respiratory of a human assailant where the sprays made for use against other humans doesn't.

    This should explain the Scoville Heat Unit Scale.
    Scoville scale - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    What Is Capsaicin? What Are Scoville Heat Units? -

    So, percentage of OC means nothing compared to the TYPE of OC and where it ranks on the Scoville scale.

    Bear spray uses some of the most concentrated heat index OC they can find, and it WILL make a 900 lb. grizzly turn and run away, I've seen it first hand,
    While I've seen a drunk/drugged/deranged moron get OC spray right in the face and still keep coming.

    10% OC can easily be used as food garnishment at SHU of 150, it's about as warm as 'Hot Paprica',
    That's about the same 'Heat' on your tongue as the spicy breath mints...

    But if you get blasted with just 2% OC with a SHU of 1.5 Million to 2.5 Million, you are just going to lay down and want to die!

    Like I said, Police and Military use 'Fox' brand a lot, and that is what I recommend for first time users.
    The civilian versions start out at around 1.5 million SHU and it's plenty potent!
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2008
  7. They do carry it at Wal-Mart is keychain cans. My mom got me a cute pink one when I moved away from home. I keep it on my keys and my keys are almost always in my hand instead of my purse when I am walking alone outside. I always make sure to carry when I'm taking the trash out to my dumpster, when in a parking garage/lot...anything like that. Also, I used to close up a store at 9 P.M. when I worked there and I would keep it handy at night when closing up and leaving for the night. I keep the can visible to others as I am walking ANYWHERE!
  8. adurbin

    adurbin Faithful Jeeper


    While keeping it visible can have some positive effects as well, it also makes it more easily used against you. Its alot harder for a perp to take from you what they cant see and use it against you. Same rule of thumb goes for a concealed carry firearm. You never want an asailant to see your only means of defense, as it may be taken from you, used against you, and then you are dead. Also, in a civil suit (criminal sueing you for penative damages after being sprayed and blistered and having to go to the hospital), the perps attorney may actually use the fact that you had the pepper spray out in the open for use as an offensive weapon, and may actually help them win there case. Sick world we live in, but why rob you in the street if they can do it legally in court and make you have to pay.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2008
  9. Fn/Form

    Fn/Form Function over Form

    Pepper spray really sucks when it takes effect. But it takes a few moments to work. Some people it enrages, others it incapacitates, and still others (about 5% of our academy graduates) it doesn't much affect. I don't carry it on my belt right now. The first thing to go when I didn't have enough room for everything.

    Law enforcement supply houses (Gall's, LA Police Gear, etc.) should carry the real stuff.

    NOTE: Many US States prohibit non-LE citizens from carrying more than a small size of chemical/mace spray. Check your local laws.

    DO buy TWO spray bottles. One to practice with, the other to test and carry. Check it ever so often. We had an officer once deploy his, only to find the propellant had leaked out and all that was left was OC liquid sloshing around inside... useless.
  10. backlash

    backlash Well-Known Member

    Check this link.
    I bought several key chain sprays from them.
    It is suppose to be one of the best..
    Fox Labs International
  11. TaylorLohng

    TaylorLohng Guest

    I never understood really why law enforement had to be sprayed with pepper spray before they could use it, and have to be tazered before they can carry a tazer. I didn't have to be sprayed by a Wal-Mart employee when I bought it. You don't have to be shot with the gun before you can carry it, right? Don't they also do this is the armed forces when they are given pepper spray?
  12. TechAdmin

    TechAdmin Administrator Staff Member

    I think I heard from one of my friends in the Army the answer is yes.
  13. cpu

    cpu Guest

    Is it legal to spray someone attacking you with any old chemical or do you have to choose from mace/pepper spray/oc?
  14. twilightbluff

    twilightbluff Guest

    I'm not sure, that is a good question, but to me self defense is self defense!
  15. beethoven

    beethoven Guest

    What about a horrible burning stink odor instead LOL!
  16. Fn/Form

    Fn/Form Function over Form

    If lethal force is justified in a criminal case, then it would follow the chemical of choice should not matter.

    What chemical you choose (other than OC, for instance) will almost definitely be an issue in the ensuing civil case. Having battery acid on the back porch, or a statement such as "I always keep my sprayer filled with battery acid in case I am attacked!" will probably fare worse than saying you simply used the most powerful OC spray. If battery acid was all you had handy at that place and time... then people will probably understand. There is a big difference in perception. Perception is a real bugger in civil cases.
  17. Fn/Form

    Fn/Form Function over Form

    I don't think OC spray is optional in an Academy, and neither are the pressure point/nerve strikes. I know being Tasered is ultimately optional (tho highly recommended). No one I know has refused even a short Taser burst before they completed the course.

    I have experienced all the above. I believe these less lethal force experiences are a must-have, must-do. You realize to what degree it affects a person and how you/they can fight through it, you have a sense of what you are doing to another living/breathing human being, and you can testify in court to your peers about the above experience/knowledge. It is very important for your fellow citizens (jury) to know you are aware of what those uses of force effect. The easiest and most poignant way to let them know is to state you have experienced that force first-hand.

    I believe there is a psychological/physiological test applied during spray/baton/Tasering, as well. I do not want to work with someone who cannot or will not perform in limited incapacitation in a controlled environment. I do not trust someone who cannot make themselves go through certain physiological stress--something gut-wrenching they know is coming. They will ABSOLUTELY face known threats when they graduate. That's part of what they're paid to do, and it is logical they should have to perform/prove themselves under those circumstances.

    It is beneficial to the public, fellow officers and their own self to know if they can/cannot perform. OC spray, baton strike, Taser, groundfighting, etc. are all the bare minimum in a controlled environment. Real life is always worse, the "fog of war" thickened with many other variables. Darkness, fatigue, unknown suspect weapons/training, physical size, actual wounds, adrenaline dump, graphic assaults on other citizens and fellow officers, other psychological barriers, "bad luck", etc.

    Regarding OC spray vs. being shot with a firearm... there is a huge difference between a less lethal technique/tool properly applied and a purely lethal technique. It is difficult to train someone for a true lethal force encounter. Training attempts to push the trainee past those personal barriers instilled by years of socialization, fears of likely media, public and even intra-departmental negative reactions, personal doubts, etc. The answer is not to actually use lethal force on the trainee or another person, as I'm sure you agree. The answer is to make training as realistic as possible.

    I often have a difficult time making training realistic for my self. Few training scenarios made it "real", and I had to learn the hard way.
  18. noodle

    noodle Guest

    Are your average citizens allowed to have 10% OC mace / pepperspray or is that only for law enforcers?
  19. ke4sky

    ke4sky ke4sky

    Pepper Spray Legal In 0 States, But Some Place Restrictions

    Pepper spray is legal in all 50 states, but some cities, such as New York and Washington, DC restrict its use by civilians. To view restrictions on pepper spray in your state use the link:

    Kimber LifeAct Self-Defense Spray
  20. Dollskin

    Dollskin Guest

    Why do you think pepper spray is illegal in NY and DC? They are both big tourists cities...