What to Know About Self Defense Sprays?

Self defence or prevention of home violence concept: using tear gas to defend yourself

Self defense sprays such as mace and pepper spray are among the most frequent self defense weapons taken by the average individual. Unfortunately very few folks who really carry a self defense spray know much of anything about their own weapon. Using a self defense spray isn’t a easy as point and shoot.


Although these products can offer you terrific protection there are 5 fundamental things you must know before you buy and use a self defense spray.

What is the potency of your self defense spray?

To answer this question you usually examine the packaging of the item that you would like to purchase or the description if you’re buying online. There are two ways that self defense sprays such as mace and pepper spray are rated.

The first is a measure of the proportion of oleoresin capsicum (OC) from the item. Oleoresin capsicum is the substance which makes pepper spray burn. A high percentage doesn’t necessarily indicate a more successful product. The second way it’s measured is by measuring the Scoville Heat Units (SHU) of the goods. This measurement is a lot more significant because this is exactly what the attacker will feel. The issue with high OC% products is they are generally thick and hard to disperse. You want to select a product with a minimum of 2,000,000 SHU. If the product you’re looking at has no evaluation do not buy it, even though it looks like a fantastic deal. The last thing you need is to spray an attacker with something that just pisses him off.

How long will it last?

Self defense sprays have an expiration date. They lose their effectiveness over time. This means you will have to replace your merchandise regularly. If you’ve been carrying around the same can of pepper spray years throw it out. It will be of little use. When you purchase pepper spray search for an expiration date. You don’t need to purchase a product that’s been sitting on the shelf for decades.

What’s the spray pattern?

There are a variety of different spray patterns which are used in self defense sprays. These include flow, memory foam, fog, and cone. Each has its own place and benefits. The stream sprays may be used at distances of up to 20 ft. This however requires great accuracy and has a lower success rate. For many people I would advise the cone or fog spray pattern. They’re more likely to influence others with overspray, but due to how well they’re dispersed they are generally highly effective.

They are only effective if your attacker is up near you, but this is the most frequent self defense situation anyways. Self defense sprays using the cone or fog spray pattern tend to enter the attackers eyes mouth and nose making them highly capable of incapacitating the attacker with minimal probability of permanent damage.

How big is the canister?

When it comes to self defense sprays bigger isn’t always better. Unless you’re in law enforcement or security you probably won’t need to carry a huge canister on your hip daily. Because of this I highly suggest using a tiny discrete self defense spray. Many manufactures make a version that resembles a pencil and can be carried daily. Pepper spray will not do you much good if you leave it in your home or in your glove box as it’s too bulky. Also unless you’re in law enforcement a big canister is only a waste. You will probably never need to use your self defense spray several times until it expires. So save some money and get a tiny single use canister.

Is it legal?

Many states have restrictions on self defense sprays; those restrictions control who can purchase these goods, and the size and concentration of the product. These states include New York, Massachusetts, Michigan, Wisconsin, Washington D.C., and California. For the specific details of the constraints contact the local police or sheriff’s department. Lastly some folks see self defense sprays as something which should only be used by women and the elderly.

This is a foolish macho idea that’s promoted by people that aren’t coping with serious threats on a regular basis. Over the past twenty years in the self defense industry I’ve worked with many U.S. Special Forces soldiers such as Navy SEALs, Delta Force Operators, Department of Defense Contractors, Israeli Special Forces soldiers, and much more. Many consider pepper spray their self defense weapon of choice (if they’re not on the battlefield area ) due to its efficacy and ease of use.