An Introduction to Pepper Spray and Its Uses

An Introduction to Pepper Spray and Its Uses

In reality, there are a wide variety of chemical sprays used for self-defense. But for purposes of this article, I’ll be using “pepper spray” as a catch-all term. They work by projecting a chemical irritant—in the case of pepper spray: capsaicin, the substance that makes chilies spicy—onto the target. This, in turn, causes tears, pain, difficulty breathing, temporary blindness, and other unpleasant symptoms.

Used properly, this can be a powerful defensive tool to deter or immobilize an attacker. However, before you order a case of the stuff, there are a few things to bear in mind if you want to get the most out of it.

First, never forget that pepper spray is a weapon.

A defensive weapon, yes. A less-lethal weapon, yes. But a weapon. When you’re using it on another person, you’re causing great pain and restricting the mobility of another human being. So make sure you know your state’s self-defense laws, only carry it where the law allows, and use it when it’s actually needed. For more on this, read our article ‘Proportional Force: Determining Lethal or Less-Lethal Response‘.

Toward that end, you need to be aware of the law.

Pepper spray is legal in every state. However, the definitions and regulations vary, so do your homework. Likewise, review your workplace’s policies and keep them in mind when making the decision to carry pepper spray at work.

Don’t get careless.

Keep pepper spray out of reach of children. ’nuff said.

If you do decide that pepper spray is for you, don’t forget that you’ll need to practice using it.

Several makes and models have practice canisters so that you can do just that. I recommend choosing one of those and practicing deploying and spraying your chosen tool regularly. If you need it, you’ll have to be able to perform those actions quickly and accurately while under pressure. This is a skill that you’ll have to develop so that you can perform it reflexively. Consistent practice is the best way to achieve that.

Pepper spray can expire.

Follow all manufacturer’s guidelines to make sure your tool can work for you when needed.

Think about how you’ll be carrying it, and be consistent.

By carrying it in the same way and in the same place, you’ll avoid any fumbling and save precious seconds when you do need it. There are a variety of ways to carry pepper spray, including belt holsters and keychain attachments. It’s hard for me to recommend one, as you’ll ultimately need something that works with your wardrobe and body time. A bit of experimentation might be in order, so make that part of your practice time.

Finally, never forget that pepper spray is just one tool in your self-defense toolbox.

You’ll still need to practice good situational awareness, understand the use of improvised weapons and other self-defense aids, and keep your unarmed self-defense skills sharp. Pepper spray is a great asset, but it might not always be available or be the right choice. Keep your options open.

Stay tuned for my next article that will be going over the different types of pepper sprays available.

$599.99 (Reg.$ 799.99)
No Code Needed
Sig Sauer P365 9mm Pistol 12 Rd RTT Tacpac, Coyote

Sig Sauer P365 9mm Pistol 12 Rd RTT Tacpac, Coyote

The award-winning P365 has redefined the micro-compact pistol category, quickly becoming one of the most coveted firearms in the industry.

$449.99 (Reg. $549.99)
No Code Needed
Smith & Wesson M&p Shield Ez 9mm Pistol With Manual Safety, Black - 12436

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 9mm Pistol With Manual Safety, Black

The next evolution of the M&P Shield EZ pistol, the M&P9 Shield EZ encompasses all of the M&P Shield EZ features, now in the powerful 9mm caliber.

No Code Needed
3 Pack Of Blem Psa Stealth Ar-15 Lowers

3 Pack Of BLEM PSA Stealth AR-15 Lowers

These forged lowers are quality made using material is 7075-T6 and are marked "CAL MULTI" to accommodate most builds. The finish is Black Hardcoat Anodize per MIL-8625 Type 3 class 2.

1 2 3 17
Previous articleArmed Citizen Stops Oklahoma Walmart Shooting
Next articleArmed Uncle and Niece Hold Man High on Meth at Gunpoint After Bizarre Road Rage Incident
Luke McCoy is the founder of USA Carry. In 2007, he launched USA Carry to provide concealed carry information and a community for those with concealed carry permits and firearm enthusiasts.
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments