There is an old saying, “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” I fear that those who carry concealed firearms sometimes fall into this trap. You are far more likely to find yourself in a physical altercation where deadly force is not required than one in which it is required. You don’t want to be put in a position of having to use a firearm to defend yourself when it’s not justified, just because you have no other tools to deal with the situation. Ideally, your other tools should include things like voice commands and unarmed defensive tactics, which are a matter of proper training. However, not all of us are ready to engage in hand-to-hand combat. There are tools to help bridge this lethal force versus non-lethal force gap, including self-defense sprays.
… the Fox Labs formula is the hottest one on the market, rated at a searing 5.3 million SHU! This formula is much hotter than the typical OC spray, and is used heavily by law enforcement
Most self-defense sprays in wide use are a type of oleoresin capsicum, also known as “OC” or pepper spray. The name is derived from the active ingredient in these sprays, a naturally occurring oily resin found in cayenne and other varieties of peppers. When in contact with an assailant’s facial area, the OC causes an immediate and very intense burning sensation on the skin, involuntary closure of the eyes, and instant inflammation and swelling of the mucous membranes of the nose, throat and sinuses. In short, it is downright nasty. The unlucky recipient will be blinded and disoriented, and may also have temporary difficulty in breathing, buying you the time you need to escape from the threat. Once the OC is removed from the subject, recovery is reasonably quick and is complete. OC is considered to be very safe, and is regarded as non-lethal force.
When shopping for pepper spray, there are a few things to consider. Many companies stress the percentage of OC in their product. This figure can be a bit misleading because the “hotness” of the OC depends upon the types of peppers used. A more reliable indicator of “hotness” is the Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) rating. Most serious sprays will be at or above 2 million SHU. And of course, you have to consider the delivery device. OC sprays are available in all sorts of shapes, sizes and spray patterns. Be aware that local laws may limit the size (i.e., the capacity in ounces) of OC spray that you may carry on your person.
While there are many OC spray manufacturers out there, I recommend Fox Labs International. First, the Fox Labs formula is the hottest one on the market, rated at a searing 5.3 million SHU! This formula is much hotter than the typical OC spray, and is used heavily by law enforcement. I have to tell you that my testing stopped short of spraying myself; I am not that brave. Knowledgeable people have confirmed to me that the Fox Labs formula is top notch. Fox Labs also offers a wide variety of sizes, from the typical keychain model to 2 and 4 ounce sprays for your purse, home or car. I like their larger spray can setup that has an intuitive and effective spring-loaded safety device to prevent accidental discharges. You can also order them with nozzles that fire a heavy stream or a wider fogging cone, depending upon your preference.
The quick disconnect keychain allows me to easily take the unit off when I enter secure locations like courthouses or airports.
Most importantly, Fox Labs is very reputable, with excellent customer service. You may pay slightly more for Fox Labs’ products that your bargain basement OC sprays, but the price difference is easy to justify. OC is not particularly expensive, and the Fox Labs key chain model with 11 grams of product retails for $13 or less, with refills at $9 or less. The key chain size model is perfect for a pocket or purse. For carry in your car or home, Fox Labs sells 2 ounce sprays for less than $15, and 4 ounce sprays for less than $20.
I have a keychain model that I carry with me all of the time. The quick disconnect keychain allows me to easily take the unit off when I enter secure locations like courthouses or airports. I also keep a 2 ounce spray in my car and a 4 ounce spray near my home defense handgun. OC sprays are an inexpensive way to open up a lot more defensive options than you have with just a firearm. I recommend you consider incorporating a non-lethal defense tool in your carry if you haven’t already, and I highly recommend that you try the excellent OC defense sprays from Fox Labs. Please view their website at: