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Mace vs. Pepper Spray: What’s the Difference?

best pepper spray

Walking to your car at night can be a scary experience, but you can feel a lot safer with a self defense weapon on your keychain or in your purse. If you’re looking for an affordable and effective self defense tool, pepper spray is a great choice. Legal in most states, pepper spray delivers a stunning and powerful offense against would-be attackers. Another great self defense tool is mace, which has seen a lot of changes in the past few decades. If you’re curious about the differences between mace and pepper spray, then The Home Security Superstore is here to answer your questions.

Are Mace and Pepper Spray the Same?

Mace is technically a brand name, though the term is often used broadly to describe spraying agents. Just like we call all bandages Band-Aids, some people refer to pepper spray as “mace.” Historically, mace and pepper spray used very different active agents, but that has changed somewhat over time. 

What is Mace? 

The original version of mace had phenacyl chloride (also called CN tear gas). Tear gas is an irritant and can cause serious pain to the eyes, nose, skin, and throat. Unfortunately, it can be ineffective against people who are under the influence of drugs and alcohol. The original mace formula was also found to be very toxic.

What is Pepper Spray

Pepper spray is an irritant and uses oleoresin capsicum (often called OC). Pepper spray works as an inflammatory agent and is more effective on people under the influence (and is less likely to cause toxic harm to the user). 

Understanding Pepper Spray and Mace Laws

If you’re asking yourself “Is it illegal to pepper spray someone?”, we have some good news. Pepper spray is legal in all 50 states, but some states do have restrictions on its purchase and use. For example, in California, the canisters must be smaller than 2.5 ounces. In New York, pepper spray can only be sold by pharmacies and firearm dealers so you can’t order it online.

Before buying pepper spray, you might be asking yourself, “Is it illegal to pepper spray someone?” Luckily, pepper spray is legal in all 50 states, so it’s a great self defense tool no matter where you live. However, some states do have restrictions on its purchase and use. For example, in California, pepper spray canisters must be smaller than 2.5 ounces. In New York, pepper spray can only be sold by pharmacies and firearm dealers instead of online retailers. Because of these restrictions, it’s best to research your state’s laws before buying pepper spray or mace.

Is it Safe Use of Pepper Spray?

Once you determine which type of sprays are legal in your area, it’s important to learn how to safely use pepper spray. Remember that you’ll likely need to grab pepper spray in a hurry, and there may not be time to fiddle with the cap. Practice grabbing your pepper spray and disarming it in just a few seconds. It can be helpful to practice finding and pointing your canister with your eyes closed. 

Check your canister to see how close you need to be for the chemical to be effective. Some models may reach up to 12 feet, while others require you to be within 8 feet of your target. Always aim for the face when you’re shooting pepper spray, and once you hit your target, use the time that they’re stunned to run away to safety. 

Which is better to carry mace or pepper spray?

If you carry pepper spray with you while running or walking, you will feel much safer and have a stronger sense of security. Pepper spray and mace are made from the same key ingredients these days, but mace remains a trusted brand. Not sure which canister is right for you?

Contact The Home Security Superstore and we’ll help you navigate the intricacies of self-defense products. We have pepper spray in a variety of sizes and models so you can feel safe carrying one you’re comfortable with. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Mace and Pepper Spray?

What is mace spray?

Mace spray is a type of pepper spray made using oil containing Capsaicin, the thing that gives chili peppers their heat, that is combined with other oils and chemicals to give it a consistency that allows it to be sprayed out as either a fog or stream and can even make it hotter than concentrated Capsaicin alone.

Is pepper spray legal?

Pepper spray laws are different depending on the formula used in your canister. If you’re using the new OC formula, then you can rely on your state’s pepper spray laws to guide your decisions. However, the old CN formula is considered tear gas, which is illegal in several states including Wisconsin, Hawaii, and Washington DC. Before buying pepper spray, you should check your local laws to see if it’s legal in your state.

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