A pepper spray is a great self-defense weapon: tear gas is extremely painful for the eyes and skin of those who try to cause you harm and shatter your security. A gas or pepper spray can fit your pocket, but you will be glad you have it once somebody tries to hurt you or your dear ones. Read on and learn about the best pepper sprays available.
When you think minimal self-defense, you most likely think pepper sprays. And this is obvious since pepper spray is one of the most popular self-defense items. You can find pepper sprays anywhere from homemakers to police officers, from security guards to survival and prepping enthusiasts who often add pepper sprays to their emergency kits.
But choosing a pepper spray will often raise several questions a customer will have to find answers two, such as:
- Are pepper sprays really that effective?
- How to find the way with heat ratings?
- What to look for in a pepper spray before purchasing one?
This post will uncover all the necessary details you have to know when choosing a pepper spray for yourself. You should definitely know about to make your choice easier and no to get confused by the variety of pepper spray products.
Below, you will find answers to the questions like:
- What are the pros and cons of pepper sprays as self-defense items?
- How to use pepper spray?
- Can you make pepper sprays of your own?
- How to choose pepper spray products?
- What are the top pepper spray products on the market today?
- Do you still need a firearm as a safety measure?
But before we go on, make sure to visit the page with our Ultimate Survivalist Checklist? Bookmark it to read it later.
Pros & Cons of Pepper Sprays?
So what are the pros and cons of using pepper spray products for personal protection? Let’s break this topic down into several categories beginning with what pepper sprays are worth getting.
Pepper spray is one of the most affordable options for a self-defense weapon. They do not cost as much as handguns. And even if you happen to come across the most expensive model of all pepper spray products, it will still be cheaper than a pistol.
2) Fewer restrictions
To purchase and own pepper spray, you don’t need special permission as you do with guns. Of course, some restrictions depend on pepper spray products’ strength, but again they are a lot fewer than what you get when owning a handgun.
For instance, when you visit a location where handguns are prohibited, you may still have your pepper spray there. Besides, you will have no legal problems when traveling from state to state with pepper spray. Whereas, firearms regulations differ since each state has its own way of dealing with firearm ownership and carrying guns in public.
3) Pepper Sprays Don’t Kill
Pepper sprays are considered a non-lethal type of weapon, which means that you can’t kill a person with them. When pepper spray bursts and gets into a person’s nose and eyes, it will cause painful effects on the respiratory system and a burning sensation in the eyes, blinding a person for a certain amount of time. But that will not kill them.
Plus, when properly used, pepper sprays will harm only an offender. They are safe to use in a crowd. So a bystander will not be in danger of getting harmful effects from pepper spray.
4) Pepper Sprays are Easily Concealed
Pepper spray is a small-sized item that you carry with you at all times in your pocket or your bag. It is compact and light in weight, which makes it a perfect choice as a self-defense device. Of course, there are smaller handguns like s&w 637 on the market. But even a Kel Tec P3At can’t compete with pepper spray products in weight and size. Besides, don’t forget about the legal aspects of owning a gun.
So if you’re looking for a light, compact, affordable self-defense device that will not require complex legal procedures to own and use pepper spray is your option.
So, we get it – pepper sprays are fine when it comes to affordable prices, legal issues, and concealment options. But is there something that you should know about them in terms of their weaker points? The answer is yes, there is.
1) Pepper Spays DON’T Kill
Yes, you got it – the non-lethal status of pepper sprays has its reverse side. There are situations when pepper spray is just not enough. For instance, your offender may not be responsive to pepper bursts due to their drug or alcohol-infused state.
2) Not 100% Effective & Reliable
As we already mentioned, not everyone will show a response to a pepper spray attack. The same goes for not only humans but animals, as well. Animals are really unpredictable in that matter. As for people, they may have some sort of face protection. Even sunglasses can water down the effects of pepper products.
You have to be one hundred percent sure that this is the time to use your defense spray. Such an item has no reloading option. So if you use it, you must do it for a serious reason.
3) Not Quite Available Anywhere
Availability is another problem with defense spray products. They are just not so frequently available in sport and gun shops. It is still much easier to find a handgun than a quality pepper spray.
How to Use Pepper Spray?
Although defense sprays don’t kill, they still can cause difficulty breathing and temporary blindness. These products require proper use and storage conditions.
We recommend reading the instruction thoroughly before going out being ready to use your spray in a street encounter. These are the main things you should know how to do:
- Drawing a spray can;
- Releasing the safety mechanism.
Some models feature a practice canister so a customer could train how to use the spray in the field. If you purchase one of such models, please don’t neglect the importance of practicing.
1) Drawing the spray canister:
- You should draw the spray canister smoothly without fumbling and jerking. If you get too clumsy and jerky, you may lose the grip on the canister, and it will fall out of your hands.
2) Preparing for action:
- Release the safety mechanism of your spray device to render it active.
3) Assume the proper aiming position and push the release trigger:
- Aiming a spray canister is not just about stretching your arm forward and putting your finger on the trigger mechanism. It goes a bit further than that. To aim properly, you must stand firmly, having your knees slightly bent to keep the balance. Without balance, you compromise accuracy.
- When spraying, don’t close your eyes. If you do, you will not aim accurately, and your offender may use this to evade the pepper stream.
- Remember to move your arm a bit as if you were spray-painting a wall. This way, you will make sure that spray burst will reach all the targets: eyes, nose, mouth.
4) Be ready for further actions:
- Keep in mind that a defense spray attack may not be the end of the story. Your opponent may be showing no response to the bursts of pepper, getting even madder, and may go on assaulting you. So be ready to fight or escape if you are not sure you can put up a fight.
Check out the video below on what you should and should not do using pepper spray:
- Have you bookmarked our 78 Item Survival Checklist? Not yet? Do it now, and then go back to this post to find out more about pepper spray products.
Can You Make Pepper Spray of Your Own?
There is a way of making DIY pepper spray, but the chances that your home-made spray will match any official brand’s product in strength and effectiveness are minimal. But you still may try using this guide on pepper spray making.
Choosing Pepper Spray
In this section, you will learn about what you should consider when choosing pepper spray. Again, to make it easier, we will break down this topic into separate categories:
- Spray Patterns;
- Canister sizes.
First of all, sprays for self-defense differ in formulas. There are three of the most common, including OC, CS, and CN.
1) OC (stands for Oleoresin Capsicum)
Oleoresin Capsicum (or just OC) is what you will often come across when choosing pepper spray. This formula’s key ingredient is capsaicin. This is the chemical that makes peppers so hot. Scientifically speaking, capsaicin is an inflammatory agent. It burns, and that is why it is so hard and painful to breathe and keeping eyes open if you get exposed to it. Thus the OC concentration shows how hot your pepper spray will be.
Another ingredient for such sprays is some oily liquid that makes the whole thing very difficult to wash off. You just can’t use your hand to get rid of the pepper solution when it gets into your eyes. Even more, victims of pepper attacks are advised not to touch other parts of their bodies with pepper-stained hands. It will only make it worse since the solution will be spread all over them.
However, not all peppers burn the same.
The strength of pepper heat is measured using the Scoville Heat Scale. Suppose you’ve never heard of it, not a big deal. But you should learn it right now since you’re reading this article.
The Scoville Scale shows how hot certain types of peppers depend on the OC percentage. For instance, the least hot pepper is Bell Pepper, and the most insanely hot is the pepper called Dragon’s Breath.
So when choosing an OC pepper spray model, look at the OC concentration information to know how strong your purchase will be.
2) CS Gas
Strictly speaking, it is not a pepper spray solution – it is a sort of military tear gas. This gas can be used as an only agent or in combination with the previously mentioned OC pepper spray.
This gas is popular for its strength and the effects it causes, including tears and even vomiting. This is a great riot control agent used to disperse crowds and force rioters away from a location. Tear gas products may come in aerosol spray packages or in grenades.
3) CN Gas
CN Gas is something the military and law enforcement agencies often used back in the day. Its influence lasts longer than CS’s and can even cause some serious and irreversible skin and lung damage. This is the reason why CN gas has become rare recently.
Some pepper spray models include dyes in their pepper solutions. This serves one main purpose:
- Marking an offender and making it easier to spot them in the crowd.
Pepper Spray Patterns
The spray pattern is the way pepper bursts are dispersed out of the canister. There are three types of patterns that affect the accuracy and the range of a certain pepper spray. We will describe each of them, starting with the least common one.
1) Foam Spray
This pattern sprays are very difficult to aim at, and the range is not quite impressive. Besides, foam sprays are the least effective. So unless there is no other option, we recommend avoiding foam pattern models.
2) Mist Spray
This type of spray gives a broad gas cloud (hence the word “mist”), making it easier for particles to get inside the lungs. But the downside is that mist type sprays have a short hitting range. Besides, it is not too easy to aim accurately, and there is a risk of harming other people around you and inhaling some of the pepper yourself.
3) Stream Spray
This is the most accurate and effective pattern type. The stream of pepper liquid shoots right where you direct it without the risk of harming anyone around your offender. But using such a spray will require practice. You must be accurate. You may have no other chance to repeat your attack if you miss your opponent.
Canister Size Pepper Spray
The larger the canister, the more spray volume it has. Besides, different capacity canisters serve different purposes. For instance, a small keychain spray will be completely useless if you are a hiker and need a reliable wild animal protection device. On the other hand, a large canister will be too much for a regular safety measure outdoors.
Spray canister sizes divide into three simple categories: small, medium, and large.
1) Small size
Small-sized canisters are often called keychain sprays. That’s because most models can be attached to a keychain so that you have a self-protection spray with you at all times, and you can draw it immediately. It is convenient, but such canisters are not much of a protection. You will only have a few moments of spray at a very close range. It’s okay as a last resort measure but not something you could bet your life on.
2) Medium size
Medium-sized options usually come with holsters for everyday carry. Such canisters also fit purses quite well. Due to their size, they have a larger volume and are great for everyday self-protection and hiking. The so-called bear spray also comes in medium-sized canisters.
3) Large size
Large-sized canisters are good for home safety since they get too big and heavy to carry around with you outdoors.
- Before we go on with our article, make sure to bookmark our 78 Item Preppers Checklist guide.
The Top Pepper Spray Offers
Back in the day, it was not so easy to purchase pepper spray since not every sporting goods store had it for sale. But these days things are a lot easier thanks to online shopping. All of the models on this list are available online, and we believe that this is the best way of buying such items.
You don’t have to go anywhere. All you have to do is choose the model, check on multiple customer reviews of it, make sure it’s in stock, and make a purchase when you’re sure that this model is exactly what you’re looking for. Orders are processed in almost no time, and many offers have free shipping. Don’t hesitate to look for products and make orders online.
We will begin our list with Saber’s product since this brand is hands down one of the market leaders. It is hard to imaging a spray list without something from Sabre in it.
Made in the USA, this package features thorough instruction with links to videos on how to handle Sabre 3-in-1 spray properly.
This Saber model is also great because it has a four-year shelf-life and comes at a really affordable price. A great option for the whole family.
This is another pepper device by Sabre. Frontiersman is a nine-ounce bear spray with thirty-five feet spraying range. A great pepper spray option for hikers, backcountry residents, and those looking for a solid pepper home protection non-lethal weapon. Sabre Frontiersman’s design may not seem too compact, but its strength and range are awe-inspiring.
3 – Devil Juice Pepper Spray
Now, this is something scorching! Devil Juice is the strongest pepper spray out there. It is so strong it got banned in twelve states and is only available for online orders. If you’re looking for a hardcore option, then look no further.
This is a keychain spray pack including three separate sprays for a small family or close friends group. Police Magnum OC spray is small but very angry, boasting a ten-foot hitting range. It also features a UV dye to mark an attacker and make it impossible for them to escape without a trace. Made from quality plastic material, this is a good choice for its price.
Another compact spray model. You can carry it anywhere you want without worrying someone would notice it. It is not too strong, and the range is smaller than average, but POM pepper spray still does its thing and is one hundred percent fully concealable.
A Wrist Saver spray is even smaller than the previous model. This model features a spray in a compact holster, an installed LED flashlight, and a small pocket for things like cash, credit card, or ID. Small, compact, and lightweight, Wrist Saver is a good choice for someone seeking extra self-protection during evening jogging sessions in a park.
This 3 oz spray comes with an added toxic green dye that will leave no chance for an attacker to stay unrecognized. The spray boasts a range of up to fifteen feet, which is very good for a three-ounce model.
Pepper Spray or Firearms?
This is a difficult question to answer because there are a bunch of situations you would have to consider trying to decide when and where pepper spray would be better than a handgun or the other way around.
But the main idea behind owning a firearm is that it will require proper training, discipline, and a great amount of responsibility. This is a lethal weapon we are talking about, so owning and carrying a gun should be taken seriously as hell. Not everyone is ready for this. Besides, not everyone WANTS to own a handgun.
So that’s when pepper spray comes in handy. You can have it with you at all times. It will not require some special license to carry pepper spray whenever you want to. It is a non-lethal weapon, so you are not at risk of killing anyone. But owning and knowing how to handle pepper spray will surely give you extra confidence.
Again, we are not trying to make a point that firearms are useless. We all love firearms anyway. We are trying to say now that it is up to you to choose what type of everyday self-protection for home and street you want. Maybe it’s only pepper spray. Or maybe you are a firearm lover. Or maybe you will choose both. Either way, the choice is always yours.
But whatever your choice is, we still believe that pepper spray is always a good safety measure to start with:
As with many safety products, pepper spray is something better left unused. But life is unpredictable. And should something threaten your safety, it is better you have something to protest yourself or those around you.
Don’t hesitate to buy your first pepper spray. There are a lot of brands and products in that field. Check on customer reviews, watch test videos, and make your mind.
Is pepper spray Legal?
There are no legal restrictions on purchasing and owning pepper sprays in the United States. But some states have special conditions regarding the strength of sprays, their types, and canister sizes. For instance, Devil Juice spray by an Indian brand Impower is said to be restricted in twelve states because of how strong it is.
If you are thinking of buying pepper spray but are not sure if it’s okay to own it in your state, please contact your local police department for competent legal information.
Can anyone buy pepper spray?
In the United States, different states have different regulations on who can buy pepper spray. For instance, you have to be sixteen or older to buy it in California. But in most states, the age is 18. There are also legal restrictions for felons in some states. Other regulations include canister sizes, purchase & shipping options, dyes, etc.
What is CS tear gas?
CS is the most often used type of tear gas. It’s used by the military and law enforcement services. Exposure to this gas results in a number of ways, from tearing to vomiting. Tear gas comes in different packages: canisters, grenades, and firearm rounds.
What do I do If I get pepper spray on myself?
Pepper substance is tough to get rid of as soon as it gets on your face, hands, clothes, etc. You cannot just wash it off easily with plain water. The best way to get it off yourself is to wash it off with water and soap. Another good idea is using baby shampoo.
Is pepper gel lethal?
Pepper gel is a sticky substance that is said to be twenty percent more effective than pepper spray. And it is a lot harder to wipe off. Pepper gel would stick to the attacker’s skin and clothes and cause a lot of pain and discomfort. But it is in no way lethal.