NOTE: This information is provided as general advice only and all local laws should be consulted for using these devices.
Self defense spray can come in many potency’s, sizes, spray options and additives. You must pick the spray that would most benefit your situation. Some people are looking for a animal spray such as Dog Mace or Bear Mace yet others need a spray to protect their home from home invasions. Below is a short guide to purchasing self defense sprays.
What is in it? In the past there were several different forms of spray formulas available on the market. Now days the bulk of pepper sprays consist of OC (Oleoresin Capsicum) because it is the most effective spray. OC is derived from hot peppers and is commonly referred to as red pepper self defense spray . OC is an instant inflammatory agent that causes a person to close their eyes tightly and will quickly result in them being temporarily blinded. After they close their eyes they will begin coughing uncontrollably that will likely result in the attacker falling to the ground. They will find it difficult to breath as the OC inflames the lung tissue only leaving them with life support breathing. This type of spray will work well on almost any living thing from drug users to most animals. These effects will wear off over time giving you a chance to escape to safety.
OC is available in many different potency’s ranging from 1% to 12% and is measured in the SHU’s or Scoville Heat Units. This rating can be anywhere from 10,000 SHU’s to up to 2 million scoville heat units depending on the type of pepper used to make the spray. Keep in mind that a 5% stronger pepper used to make the spray can have a higher SHU than a 10% weaker pepper so the % is not as important as the SHU’s.
One of the biggest factors people don’t think about when purchasing their self defense spray is the spray pattern. There are 3 primary spray patterns available stream, mist and fog.
Stream The stream is a thin spray of liquid that generally will require good aim, but will not be influenced by air currents. The stream usually has the best distance when sprayed.
Mist The mist covers a wider area and will not require you to aim as well as the stream would, but can be influenced by wind currents.
Fog The fog form will cover a large area and will hang in the air for a much longer period of time. Care must be taken when using a fog as it is easily influenced by air current and can easily change direction and blow in your face if wind is against you or changes direction. The fog form of these sprays can also be used to spray a wall of pepper spray between you and a group of attackers so you can get away. The wall of spray will stay in the air between you and them keeping the attackers at bay till the spray dissipates, falls to the ground or blows away.
Self defense sprays come in many sizes from the small key-chain pepper spray to the huge family size pepper spray. The bigger the unit, the more you can spray. Look for a pepper spray that will spray a good distance and enter the lungs quickly like a quality mist or fogger with a high SHU.
When purchasing self defense spray, be sure to review pepper spray laws in your area. Not all states allow pepper spray to be purchased in the same manner, but most states make these sprays easily available for self defense use.
To find out more about pepper spray and getting the right spray for your needs, check out our page picking pepper spray.