You don’t always need to use force to protect yourself. Non-lethal self-defense equipment, such as pepper spray, is a highly effective method of self-defense. They help you fight off your attacker without the need for combat.
Pepper sprays enable you to escape from an attacker and also open you to fewer legal complications. They are also effective in deterring deadly animals from harming you without instigating them to a fight, which evidently, you will never win.
What is Pepper Spray?
Pepper spray is a lachrymator aerosol that stimulates the eyes to produce tears. Oleoresin Capsaicin (OC) is the main component of pepper spray. It is the chemical element that is responsible for the heat in chilies. The only difference is that pepper sprays contain far more oleoresin capsaicin than chili peppers.
A jalapeno pepper contains up to 5000 SHU (Scoville heat unit, the unit for heat in peppers). Law enforcement officers use pepper sprays that may contain up to 5 million SHU (1,000x than jalapeno pepper).
Types of Pepper Spray
- Self-Defense Pepper Spray: Self-defense pepper sprays usually come in small spray cans that can easily be pocketed or attached to a keychain. These pepper spray keychains are highly effective in deterring an attacker and can cause them extreme pain, giving them time to run to safety. They are generally cheap and easy to use.
- Wildlife Deterrent Pepper Spray: These types of pepper spray are effective to ward off relentless and fast animals large, like mountain lions. Warding them off with firearms is the gold standard but why kill the beast when you can escape without harming them much? Most animal pepper sprays are formulated to discourage the animal from attacking humans and they do not kill or cause permanent damage.
- Aerosolized Pepper Spray: These are the most common type of pepper spray and come in handheld cans. They use compressed air to produce a forceful, directional spray of chemical irritants. There’s no need to fret about aim, and there’s very little talent involved. Because this type of pepper spray can be affected by wind, many manufacturers have shifted to gel substitutes to prevent it from affecting you.
- Pepper Ball Launchers: These fragile balls contain concentrated pepper spray. They break on impact and release it on those around. The pepper ball launchers are handheld devices powered by compressed gas and can launch balls to considerable distances. Some launchers have a range of up to 50 feet.
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5 Best Pepper Sprays Recommended by Experts
We hope you never have to use them, but here is a rundown of the 5 best pepper sprays you can buy for your safety.
1. SABRE Red Pepper Gel
- Carry method – Clip-on holster
- Volume – 51 ml
- Bursts – 18
- Range – up to 18 feet (5.5 meters)
Sabre Red combines pepper spray’s proven efficacy and improves the standard with an upgraded formula that provides even more protection. Instead of an aerosolized spray, Sabre offers the same potent pepper mix in a gel that is safer to handle, less impacted by wind and adheres to targets for a longer-lasting impact. It has a spray range of 18 feet and comes with a nylon belt and holster for quick access.
Gel-based pepper spray is better than aerosol-based because it eliminates wind blowback. Hence, it only affects the intended target.
The long spray range helps protect yourself before the assailant can come near and harm you. It contains a 10% concentration of OC.
If you are unsure of how to use it, you can always buy a practice can from Sabre. Even though the Sabre Red Pepper Gel does not come with an option to attach it to a keychain, a holster is also pretty good.
- Spray range or 18 feet
- Practise canister is not included
- No attachment for a keychain
2. SABRE 3-in-1 Pepper Spray
- Carry method – Keychain
- Volume – 14.7 ml
- Bursts – 25
- Range – up to 10 feet (3.04 meters)
The Sabre 3-in-1 Spray is a multi-purpose self-defense keychain that includes three components in a slim design. It includes a 10-foot-range pepper spray, CS or 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile tear gas (a commonly used tear gas), and an invisible UV dye to identify the attacker if they succeed in running away.
Don’t be deceived by its small size; the canister can hold up to 25 bursts. Sabre’s special High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) warranty covers the US-made pepper spray, which is ISO 9001:2008 certified.
The Sabre 3-in-1 Spray is small in size and weighs only about 14 grams. The small size not only makes it easier to carry but also enables swift access using the quick-release clip.
Sabre recommends replacing the unit every three years, despite its four-year shelf life. Aerosol pepper sprays are more vulnerable to blowback than gel sprays, but you may always buy a practice spray to familiarise yourself with the product.
The canister has a safety switch on top that you twist before using to prevent the unit from accidentally turning on in your bag.
- Multi-purpose (Pepper spray, UV dye, and tear gas)
- Easy to carry
- Safety switch
- Vulnerable to blowback
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3. Armadillo Defense Spray and Alarm Kit
- Carry method – Keychain
- Volume – 177 ml
- Bursts – unspecified
- Range – up to 10 feet (3.04 meters)
The Armadillo Defense Spray and Alarm Kit comprises 2 sprays and 2 safety alarms. The pepper spray contains UV dye to mark the attacker for identification later. It has a spray range of 10 feet.
The safety alarm emits a loud sound of 130 dB, allowing you to startle the attacker away or summon assistance in an emergency. It also has an LED light that will illuminate your path in low-light situations or at night.
It comes with a keychain so you may keep a piece of self-defense equipment in your pocket or bag at all times. In an emergency, having different defense alternatives on hand is always a wise choice.
Some users have reported that the pepper spray button comes loose after a few usages, which leads to accidental discharge. But the issue can be resolved by using it properly.
- UV dye
- Safety alarm
- LED light
- Accidental discharge due to loose spray button
4. SABRE Red Pepper Gel Spray for Runners
- Carry method – Palmstrap
- Volume – 19.8 ml
- Bursts – 35
- Range – up to 12 feet (3.04 meters)
Sabre’s Red Pepper Gel Spray for Runners is specially designed with fitness enthusiasts in mind. It comes with a palm strap to ensure a good run as well as defense devices to safeguard you.
The gel has a range of 12 feet, allowing you to keep wild animals at bay.
The Sabre Red Pepper Spray for Runners boasts the most bursts on the market, with 35 per canister. While the number of bursts does not define a product’s efficacy, it is nice to have additional versatility. Before you make it your jogging partner, you can buy a practice canister to acquaint yourself with them.
- 12-feet spray range
- Palm strap for faster access and deployment
- 35 bursts
- Might be a bit awkward to carry it on long runs
5. Mace Triple Action
- Carry method – Keychain
- Volume – 44.36 ml
- Bursts – 18
- Range – up to 15 feet (4.57 meters)
The Mace Triple Action self-defense pepper spray is small enough to fit in your pocket or purse. The device is completely TSA/FSA compliant for checked baggage airline travel, making it an excellent piece of travel safety equipment.
It has been carefully developed to streamline the spray to a greater range of up to 15 feet. It also includes CN (chloroacetophenone) tear gas, which produces excessive tearing, confusion, and shortness of breath.
The pepper spray’s flip-flop top keeps unintentional sprays out of your pocket or backpack. However, CN tear gas is extremely poisonous and may cause injury if inhaled accidentally.
- Flip flop design prevents accidental sprays
- 100% TSA/FSA compliant for checked baggage airline travel
- Spray range of 15 feet
- Extremely toxic CN tear gas
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If you’re seeking a gel-based pepper spray we recommend the Sabre Red Pepper Gel. However, Sabre 3-in-1 or Armadillo Defense Spray are good choices for an aerosol-based spray option that is easy to carry in a pocket or bag.
We hope this article is helpful to you. Using a practice canister before purchasing a genuine one can help you avoid any mishaps. If you have any questions or suggestions to make regarding pepper spray, do let us know by commenting below. You can also share your reviews of the above-mentioned pepper sprays.
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Pepper Spray Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Physical Effects of Pepper Spray?
Immediately on contact, these pepper sprays lead to tearing of eyes, extreme pain, and temporary blindness. Some people may also get a bubbling sensation and may lose consciousness. Other effects include dizziness, inability to speak, gagging, rashes, and blisters.
About 10% of the cases have reported scratches inside the eye which may be caused due to continuous rubbing. Most symptoms get resolved on their own within 30 minutes, but severe cases may require medical assistance.
Is Pepper Spray Legal?
Pepper spray is permitted in all 50 states of the United States, albeit some have regulations on its use. However carrying non-lethal self-defense tools like pepper spray is illegal in many countries, including UK, Denmark, Russia, Germany, and Austria, to name a few. So, be sure to check the legality of any safety equipment before you buy it.
What to do if you get exposed to Pepper Spray?
Pepper sprays are not always safe to use. The aerosol-based sprays are prone to blowback and can accidentally get in your eyes, nose, or skin too. There is no immediate cure for it. However, if such a situation arises, here are the following steps you can take, to dilute the effects.
- Wash the area with running water.
- Avoid using soap to wash the pepper spray in your eyes, because it will worsen the condition.
- Avoid touching the area to prevent it from spreading.
- Move to an area with fresh air.
- Blink rapidly to remove chemicals from the eyes.
- Call 911 if the condition persists.
Tuba Sarosh is a content writer and editor at TechSherlock. She combines her curiosity for the latest technology with her passion for writing, to write well-researched articles and blogs. When not writing, she is either reading a classic or watching a documentary.