How are Self Defense Sprays Made? There are 3 main ingredients that go into self defense sprays. Two of them are types of tear gas and called CS and CN. They irritate the membranes and cause uncontrolled tear flow and mucous discharge. It’s amazing when you see the stopping power of just this irritant alone.
The 3rd and most common ingredient is OC (Oleoresin Capsicum), which is the hot part of chili peppers. OC is not only an irritant, it is also an inflammatory agent and when it contacts the mucous membranes it causes choking and an unbelievable burning sensation. It can also cause temporary blindness from the burning pain.
How does tear gas and pepper spray compare when used? With tear gas, you generally cannot fight through the pain. Since the tearing and choking is uncontrollable, it will blind and choke the victim if it contacts the mucous membranes. However, tear gas isnt as effective for drug crazed, drunk or super tough assailants.
Pepper Spray is effective on wild animals and dogs, but tear gas is not.
Tear gas disburses fumes and you dont have to nail the attacker in the eyes. Pepper spray does not emit fumes, and it will not deteriorate with age, but it must be sprayed in the eyes or inhaled directly to be effective.
Tear gas takes take longer to be effective, anywhere from 5 seconds to 30 seconds, while the effects of pepper spray are almost instantaneous.
Pepper Spray can be washed off with soap and water. Tear gas takes longer to wear off and the chemical residue can last for days. Recently, manufacturers have begun to combine the chemicals together to make a super potent spray with the characteristics of each chemical. Called Mace Triple Action, this formulation is super dependable when you need it. They even add in UV dye, so the bad guy can be easily identified by the police.
What are the benefits and limitations of pepper spray? Pepper spray is an excellent self-defense product. It is used by nearly every law enforcement agency throughout the country. It is non-lethal and extremely effective when sprayed in the facial area and eyes. It put a safe distance between your and an attacker and gives you plenty of time to escape and seek help. Because pepper spray does not cause any long lasting discomfort or injury to the attacker, people are more likely to use it without hesitation. Acting quickly can often avoid serious injuries and save lives. Pepper spray is very inexpensive, and is not typically restricted by law. A permit is not usually required to carry them.
Even so, you should still be aware of its limitations. Pepper spray may take a few seconds to disable and attacker, so that assailant may be able to take your canister away from you, before the effects of the spray kick in. That means your own weapon may be used against you. Also, wind and rain may reduce its range and effectiveness. You may get spray-back when sprayed against strong wind.
How effective are the various brands of pepper spray? Pepper spray is rated in two ways: OC% and SHU rating. The % you see listed on the container explains how much OC is in the container relative to the other ingredients (propellant, dyes, etc.). This percentage cannot always be used to compare the “hotness” of different pepper sprays, and there are mixtures of various potencies of OC.
The other standard rating for pepper spray “hotness” is the Scoville Heat Unit or SHU. This number represents the amount of capsasin in the OC. Since different manufactures use different grades of OC, the percentage of OC in a spray becomes irrelavant. It’s the SHU or amount of capsasin that matters. Look for a SHU rating of 2 million or higher for a real punch in your pepper spray!
Will pepper spray expire? How often should I replace my pepper spray? Most sprays have an expiration date stamped on the side of the canister. OC will not degrade over time, but the propellant may, and then the unit may not spray as far as expected, if at all. To make sure that propellant does not go bad, you should test your spray every 90 days. Every time you perform a test, you reduce the contents of the canister. If you are using a key chain model and you test regularly you may need to replace the unit every 9 to 12 months.
How long for the spray to work, and how long will the effect last? It can take 3-5 seconds for pepper spray to take effect, and the effects can last anywhere from 15 minutes to about 60 minutes depending on concentration, which will give you plenty of time to escape an attacker and call the police. The UV Dye, a harmless additive used to assist authorities in catching the attacker, will generally wear off in about a week.
In what situations am I allowed to use pepper spray? Whenever you feel that you are in danger of being harmed. It’s not ok to use the spray in an offensive manner, and you are not allowed to protect property with it. Only use pepper spray to defend life.
What is difference between foam, spray, gel, and fogger? It depends on what your going to need it for. Mace brand gels and foams are preferred by many as they are really hard to wipe off and they still spray in a stream, and it just spreads and burns! The stream is easier to aim into the eyes and mouth. The fogger is good for crowd control.
How should I store & carry pepper spray? Store your defensive spray in a safe place at room temperature. Keep it away from children. Do not leave it in your car during summer because high temperatures may cause the seals to leak.
Think in advance how you want to carry your pepper spray. In a typical assault, you get no warnings and you will get attacked when you least expect it. Carry your pepper spray with you whenever possible, and keep it in the same place. You can put it in a loose outer pocket of a jacket or inside a pants pocket, or in a purse with an open pocket. Try a few different carrying methods and find good accessible locations for you. Practice and make sure you can draw it quickly in an emergency situation.
The keychain pepper sprays are very convenient, and you are more likely to carry them with you all the time because of their smaller size.
How should I use my pepper spray? It’s very important that you get some practice with the specific spray you are going to carry. Study the canister, the nozzle, and the dispenser. Take your canister to an open field, make sure the wind, if any, is at your back, and fire it for about two seconds. How far will it spray? Is the spray a stream or a foggy mist? How did it react to the wind? Can you spray it into the eyes of an attacker?
When threatened, make sure you have distance between you and the attacker. Don’t get within their stiking distance. Fire 2 or 3 second bursts directly into the eyes of the attacker. If it is not working, give them another two seconds. The small pocket or purse size will give you between 5 and 10 seconds of continual fire. Once the threat is stopped, run immediately and call the police. If your spray contains UV dye, tell the police that so they can ID the bad guy.
Is Pepper Spray Legal in my state? Pepper spray is LEGAL in all fifty states. However, some states and cities have specific regulations pertaining to the purchase, possession and use of defense sprays. Please check with your local law enforcement agency for any regulations your state may have.
New York: the sellers must be local licensed firearm dealers or local pharmacies. Massachusetts: the buyer is required to obtain a Firearms Identification Card (FID); the sellers must be local licensed firearm dealers. Michigan: OC Pepper Spray can be no stronger than a 2% concentrate. CS is the only Tear Gas accepted. Both must be no larger than 35 grams per can. No combination sprays allowed. Wisconsin: Pepper spray only. No Tear Gas, UV Dye or combination sprays. OC Pepper Spray can be no stronger than a 10% concentrate. The can must be between 15-60 grams only. They must have safety feature. California: Canisters cannot be more than 2.5 ounces. Animal Repellents such as bear spray and dog spray are legal and can be shipped to New York, Wisconsin and Michigan.
Is there anyplace where I cannot carry pepper spray? Yes. You cannot carry any pepper spray on an airplane or in carry-on luggage or in the passenger area. The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) allows one Pepper Spray (up to 4 oz) per traveler in your checked luggage only.
How do I remove pepper spray? If you get pepper spray on yourself, dont panic. Water, soap and time are all that is needed to decontaminate you. Exposure to fresh air should help, too. Remove all contaminated clothing. Flush the affected area with cool water. Warm water may intensify the burning and inflammation. Do not rub your face! Wash the affected area with non-oil or cold cream based soap. Don’t apply oily lotions–they will trap OC resin onto your skin. Have a physician examine the exposed area if any irritation or pain persists after the decontamination procedures.
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