With personal protection becoming a growing concern, pepper spray emerges as a popular choice. It is hailed for its effectiveness in deterring attackers while offering a less-lethal alternative to more lethal forms of self-defense.

What Is Pepper Spray?

Pepper spray is a chemical irritant. It’s made from Oleoresin Capsicum and might be referred to as OC. Its purpose is to burn and irritate the recipient. There are several styles and types of spray available for purchase.

It’s important when buying this less-lethal self-defense tool to consider when and how you’ll be using it. Some options have an elastic handle to be held while jogging, walking or running. There are many small enough to fit on an everyday carry gear belt.

Nearly all OC spray options come with a locking mechanism now. This prevents inadvertent discharges because once sprayed, OC won’t go back in the can.

Is It a Good Self-Defense Tool?

Police officers carry pepper spray as a force alternative. OC offers another option for defense. But you need to know when you will use each weapon. For law enforcement, pepper spray is used as an intervention option. It is used when there is active resistance. For the average concealed firearm carrier, OC spray should not be used against a deadly threat.

If in an incident you don’t think you have the right to use deadly force, that is when you should pull out the OC. However, don’t get attached to your pepper spray. If things intensify, you will need to drop your spray and move to your firearm.

Real-Life Example: Brad’s Encounter with Road Rage

Brad’s story serves as a compelling illustration of the unpredictable nature of self-defense scenarios and the importance of being prepared with the right tools and resources. A USCCA Member residing in Texas, Brad found himself thrust into a life-threatening situation when confronted by a road-raging individual while driving home from work.

Despite being a responsible gun owner, Brad recognized that deploying his firearm could escalate the situation unnecessarily. Instead, he swiftly reached for his pepper spray, a less-lethal alternative, and effectively incapacitated his attacker, protecting himself without causing lasting harm.

However, Brad’s ordeal didn’t end with the altercation. Despite acting in self-defense, he found himself facing legal repercussions, with charges of assault looming over him. This turn of events could have resulted in severe financial and legal consequences, threatening Brad’s peace of mind and the stability of his family life.

Reflecting on his experience, Brad emphasizes the invaluable peace of mind afforded by his USCCA Membership, which spared him from the overwhelming burden of legal fees and fines. Ultimately, he emerged victorious, with his attacker held accountable for their actions and justice served.

Learn more about USCCA Membership

Which Pepper Spray Should You Use?

As mentioned above, there is a variety of pepper spray options available. And the options range in more than just size. There is a mist, which creates a cloud of spray. Many companies also offer a stream option, which sprays straight out usually about 18 to 20 feet. 

The stream is often preferred because, although OC spray can cause a secondary reaction to those nearby, including the user, the stream is more likely to go where it is pointed. A lesser-known option is pepper gel. Similar to the stream, this is less likely to irritate others nearby. It will stick right on the bad guy. PepperBall also offers CO2 canister options that launch OC projectiles, releasing a cloud of irritant when they strike a surface.

Look for a pepper spray that contains UV dye. This will stick to the perpetrator’s clothing even after washing. It can help authorities find your attacker in the event he or she runs away after being sprayed.

How to Use Pepper Spray

To use OC in self-defense, draw your unit, unlock the safety mechanism and spray at the eyes. In about a one-second burst, spray in a back-and-forth motion across the eyes. If you need to spray again, aim for the nose and mouth area. Stick to the face, as that is where it will cause the most irritation and enough dysfunction to allow you to escape.

Then, be sure to get off the X. Move away from your attacker. Get somewhere safe and call 911. Inform them you have been attacked, describe your attacker and let them know you defended against him or her with pepper spray. Ask the dispatcher what they would like you to do next.

Pepper spray is a great self-defense tool but not in the event of deadly force. However, if it is your only option, be sure to know how to use it. And remember, you will likely get some spray on you. But keep fighting and escaping to a safe place.